Part of my morning routine involves getting up, flipping on some kind of screen and accessing the world in a way that will undoubtedly rot my brain by and large. So it came as a bit of a surprise to me to hear that 1200, one of the most friendly people that I’ve met lately, was reported as throwing darts on stage immediately after rocking a vibraphone. I love everything about this statement. It’s not the dramatic bits that inspire me, because I have no real patience for any sort of pointless feuding between artists; despite the venue which inspired this conversation to begin with, I refuse to see art as a competition. I love this because I love the idea of anyone going so hard from classical vibraphone playing to spitting fire raps about your enemies, like some kind of righteous blend of Rambo, Philip Glass, and Kanye West. The sheer ridiculousness of that statement alone should underscore exactly how why this is conceptually flawless.
Accompanied here by Rachel Grimes, they make for an odd if remarkably compatible duo of the sort that you didn’t know that you wanted until you heard it. Most importantly, 1200 used his time at the LMAs here to make a point not at any one specific hater, at least not one that I could ascertain, but about the atmosphere that that engenders. I saw this less as a send off to anyone in particular that may have given him the blues and more a triumph that none of that stuff matters and there is much bigger and better to get on to. It’s glorious and the duo make a good team on stage, balancing a compositional sensibility with hip-hop flair. It’s well worth watching.
And just as an aside here, I’ve read some negative criticisms lobbed 1200’s way regarding any similarities he might have to Kanye, and I’ve really struggled to come up with a more apt comparison because of that. The problem -and this is a good one for 1200- is that he is relatively peerless in his delivery, a remarkable feat considering how wonderfully diverse and talented our local hip-hop community is and continues to be; I can’t think of really anyone else that has that kind of vibe and cadence, and Kanye is the closest I can think of. Of course, you mention Kanye West and there are all sorts of negative connotations given his astronomical ego, which is often somehow used as evidence that he should be shunned or hated, as if rock stars from all genres haven’t been party to that for years, and as if having an ego simultaneously means that you can’t back that up with quality output. To a large extent though, isn’t having an ego required to create art anyways? Why bother if you don’t think that what you do is amazing? If you were truly ego-less, then you wouldn’t make your work public, so sharing is in and of itself an act of pride.
But I digress.
You can check out their performance and his battle-rap style verse below. It’s pretty great and a punctuates exactly why he commands the acclaim that he so often does.