Words by Jesse Serwer
Photo by DGainz
Journalist Cyrus Moussavi of Raw Music International recently visited Trinidad with Chicago-based music video director DGainz to produce a documentary on underground music in T&T. While in Port of Spain, the duo also took time out to shoot a video for a song, “Mus Eat Ah Food,” from one of the doc’s subjects, the rapper Make It Hapn.
A veteran of Trinidad’s small but active hip-hop scene, Make It Hapn is recognized locally for being one of the earliest Trini MCs to embrace his accent and use local dialect instead of an American-style delivery. Some have even gone so far as to call him the “Rakim of Trinidad,” for his role in bringing a distinctly Trini voice to hip-hop. From Nicki Minaj to Trinidad James, there’s ’nuff Trini-born rappers out there, but Make It Hapn is repping the island from the inside.
A conscious rap song minus the preaching, “Mus Eat Ah Food” is a statement of pure economics, underscoring just how difficult it is for working people to make ends meet at current salary levels: “If you have a car, you need gas/You have no car yuh need cash/ Round 20 dollars it cost you to move ’round in town/ Daiz 20 percent of your day’s pay down,” he raps in a typical verse from the soul-sampling track.
The video takes us to downtown Port-of-Spain, providing a raw, suitably documentary-style glimpse of T&T’s capital city. After watching, we’re curious to see more of what Moussavi came up with in his upcoming documentary, part of a series produced for NBC News that also includes similarly-themed spotlights on underground music in Iraq, Kenya and Burma. Acts featured in the Trinidad edition include metal band Supernormal, reggae group BuzzRock and calypsonians Myron B and Mistah Shak (who are featured in a brief clip we’ve pasted below).
Watch “Mus Eat Ah Food” below, and follow Raw Music Interntional’s journey in Trinidad here.