The local Grand Rapids music scene is alive and flourishing with an exceptional, diverse share of creativity. Our ubiquitous passion for music flows through Grand Rapids’ rollicking streets, where anything from banjo twangs to heavy beats are heard streaming from bar windows or Eastown basements. We have our edgy punk rockers, our compelling singer-songwriters, and our unwieldy head bangers. However, to be frank, one genre is seriously under-represented: hip hop. I was given the opportunity to sit down with Patric Germay, well known by his stage name “Kabare,” to discuss his plans to reverse this under-representation and, perhaps, misrepresentation of hip hop.
Kabare embodies more than just your average local hip hop artist; he carries a specialized degree in music management, sound experience in the industry, and the fervency to carve out a refined hip hop niche in the West Michigan scene. Proof of this fervency is found in his development and execution of successful shows spanning the West and East side of Michigan in the last year. These concerts showcase a variety of genres with local artists but gives hip hop the spotlight, and for good reason.
“Living in Nashville gave me an appreciation of everything from blues to country to gospel… But the hip hop community is just not prevalent, and it became challenging for me to find my groove there,” says Kabare. “Hip hop as a whole is suffering right now. Sometimes you’re written off for being involved in the scene, and I want to see that changed.”
After returning to Michigan, “everything just vibes.” Music is respected here, and all genres are given support. By implementing these shows, Kabare hopes to satisfy the hunger for real, deep shows where art is the focus and surmount the negative stereotype that often follows his genre. For Kabare, hip hop should be soulful, driven by authentic feeling, and a deliberate art form.
“I like to keep it witty,” says Kabare on his creative process. “I find influence for content in pop culture, experience, and just being mindful. Clever, inspiring, thought provoking: That’s my objective. What’s going to make you think? I’m always observing and learning from my surroundings.”
Here’s a snippet of that genuine lyrical content – a quick freestyle taken off his Facebook page.
“Excuse my attitude,
lack of gratitude for the space that they left me,
the baggage kinda hefty, yelling “HELP PLEASE!”
What a tease. …
Spaced out n’ they all about the ice like Gretzky.
Man I’m a leftie…. in the sense I’m atypical.
Turn around, eyes open n’ SEE what’s really pivotal.”
Revolution is on the rise for Midwest music with Kabare establishing the need for a movement. With his single “Colours” releasing next month, we can expect to see a fresh spin on what we consider “hip hop.” By deviating from the classic “DJ and rapper” duo and returning to music focused on the dynamic, distinct relationship between guitarist and singer (or rapper, in this case), Kabare aims to manifest the earnest passion he has for the genre.
“I’m looking for focused artists. I’m looking for genuine lyrical content. I’m looking for those who stay true to the intellect, to the art. Because it’s about art, not Facebook likes.”