This week in an article featured on The Fader, photographer Matt Sukkar showcased his photos of Detroit rappers. Detroit is the hometown of big-game rappers including Eminem, Big Sean, Danny Brown, and Dej Loaf. But uniquely, Sukkar doesn’t include a single photo of these rappers actually rapping. Instead, he focuses on the more humanistic side of the story. Rappers, just like anyone else, are people with lives. And as Fader writer Liz Raiss says, they are “reshaping a neighborhood.”
Over the past two years, I worked as a barista assistant to a man trying to make it big in the Detroit rap scene. Though I learned a lot about the local music industry and have seen him perform, I know him first and foremost through the coffee shop— a venue that screams quiet hipster louder than city hip-hop. Do rappers lead two separate lives or are coffee shop demeanor and stage attitude not as mutually exclusive? The obvious answer is the latter, but it seems as though we as a society forget this. In too many mainstream hip-hop songs, rappers give the impression that life is easy when you have money and fame. We cannot be mistaken. Projects like Sukkar’s remind us of the complexity of a rapper’s come up.