Nostalgia, Art, and the Untapped Genius of Gannon Nwar
Evan Dale // May 6, 2018
With hip-hop's position as arguably the most popular and influential of stylings on the current music scene comes a tremendous amount of swift, experimental change. The entire hip-hop sphere has a tendency to redefine and realign itself at the drop of a hat. With every morning and with it every toe dipped into the SoundCloud sea comes an endless discovery of new artists chasing an endless waterfall of creative direction.
Yet through it all exists a permanent echo and nostalgia for the sounds of the past. No matter how experimentally drastic the sound of a new artist may be, it is in some way or another built on the foundation of what existed before. Whether an artist aims to build upon that past directly, completely dismantle and reassemble its makeup, or even attempt to aim in a direction opposite of what has already existed, the past's influence remains undeniable and supreme.
At the end of the day, every fan of hip-hop - every fan of music - has lived through enough stylistic eras to occasionally be nostalgic for those more heavily rooted in another time. A simpler time.
And from a simpler time - from a nostalgic point in some partially forgotten but eternally important place along hip-hop's timeline - speaks from his platform, Gannon Nwar. More than simply a lyricist or a producer, Nwar is a complete artist - a wholesome creator who owns his stylistic deja vu with more confidence, creativity, and continuity than most other artists today.
His most recent creative project, a video short in accompaniment of a track he's titling Instead of Watching the Super Bowl, I Ate Donuts, is perhaps the most accurate representation of modern hip-hop born from its purest roots.
For the creative endeavor, Nwar headed to the corner - the literal corner - every single one of our liquor store-laden street corners - to speak a bit of yesteryear's truth two times in honor of J Dilla. Coming with a flow and vocal delivery most reminiscent of a Clipse-era Pusha T, a modern take on a productive styling that begs for a 90's star to lend their sound, and a visual aesthetic that ties it all together, it's hard to believe while watching that this video was put out in 2018.
Until you notice one key piece of cinematographic genius by way of special effect that could only be so seamlessly done from home in the most modern of times. There are two figures playing their roles in the video - one casually pumping out vibrant 90's keys from a squat at a MIDI, and the other spitting lines. They are both Gannon Nwar.
But this little trick of perception isn't only creatively clever and technologically impressive, it's also a statement reflecting Gannon Nwar's position in the current music scene. The way he goes about everything - musically, lyrically, creatively, socially - is not on par with another single artist today. Or rather, not a single one we know of.
There are probably others with similarly impressive, wide-ranging skill sets. There are certainly others with a sound that echoes of the styles come and gone. But through and through, Gannon Nwar belongs to another era.
Maybe yet, it's not necessarily the past.
There is a clear underground movement away from the overdone socialite posturing of today's most eccentric stars - especially in hip-hop. There is even, in small circles, pushback against platforms like SoundCloud, citing the sites as particularly anti-art in their massive market output. And through it all there is an eternally expanding crowd of artistry further pursuing completely individualistic careers, and in the process, purely pursuing their creative passions.
Gannon Nwar is in that pursuit and succeeding undeniably. He may be relatively unknown, but he isn't pushing for reach. He may be increasingly rare amongst the backdrop of current musicians, but he's not falsely forcing a sound. He’s letting everything unfold naturally, and if his talent and unique approach have anything to say for it, the rest will take care of itself.
Gannon Nwar is who he is - an undeniably vibrant talent whose first and foremost goal is his art. And though most artists today get blinded by other things and have through their blurred vision, chased other, less timeless pursuits, they will end up on the wrong side of history when weighed against the likes of artists like Nwar.
Art has always rewarded those who create naturally and purely. One just has to look past society’s narrow views of success in order to see it.
But when one does, there they will see the true artists – Gannon Nwar among them bumping pure nostalgic hip-hop from the street corner.
They focused on click bait
I’m makin’ the things that stick to your rib cage.
Talkin’ bout longevity, holmes ,
That last-long legacy, holmes.
Gotta stay focused and locked in,
So they could never step to me, holmes.