by Stephanie Casino
It’s 2013. Music aficionados of the 80’s and 90’s would have thought that rap and hip-hop would have transcended time and space to become something like a beautiful creature birthed from meaningful lyrics of sorrow, of love and heartache, and stories of lessons learned the hard way. Unfortunately for most of us in the music scene today, we, embarrassingly, associate rap and hip-hop with bitches, hoes and making money off said bitches and hoes. How did this once highly respected music genre take such a turn toward the dark world that is just simply “sex, drugs and money”?
Calgary born artist Pat Clifton is something of an oddball in the rap game. His voice is gravelly and entrancing, and the timing and purposeful use of his lyrics reminds us of rap artists of yore (when lyrics actually told a story), but his young age (21) and his straight-up aim at making rap what it once was is somewhat of a nouveau school of thought. Most young rap artists nowadays aim to rap the fastest, spit the meanest lyrics, and convince others that they’re the richest, the baddest and the biggest in the game. Again, Mr. Clifton isn’t aiming to prove any of the above. He’s just a young man with a strong belief in lyrics, poetry, and the beauty that can be shared with his music.
Citing Tupac as his biggest influence (he began rapping at the age of 12, after seeing Tupac: Resurrection), Clifton often emphasizes his respect for the artist, and the art of poetry – not necessarily just rap and hip-hop – but the real use of poetry within such music genres. According to Pat, hip-hop is in a dire state. “Dire” meaning that “too many artists don’t seem to care about uplifting our community.” Read that sentence again folks – this young one cares about his community, who he is preaching to, who he reaches, touches, and changes with his music. Unlike most “artists” who are in the game for means of big coin and an abundance of women, Mr. Clifton strives to send a message to his audience by injecting hope into his community.
Not only does he preach of the need for purpose in music these days, he wants to stimulate today’s youth with the need and respect for education, and how it can be used as a means to “work toward a lifelong dream”. Clifton is currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Digital Audio Arts and he is classically trained in piano; both major factors in influencing his need to spread the respect for music. In fact, he began taking piano classes at 14 in order to better his understanding of music for his rap game. This young man is serious about his training in the classical music arts and translating his education into meaningful hip-hop for today’s youth.
By this time next year, Clifton hopes to have grown and developed as an artist. His goal is to expand his fan base, tour Canada and the U.S, and keep making the music that he wants to make. It is his passion, his love, and his goal. To share the real purpose of music by way of the hip-hop realm is a massive challenge, but Pat Clifton is making it his goal as a musician and as a man with a belief in humanity. Pat, we cheer you on. The world needs more rap artists that know what music is really meant for.