The San Diego MTS (short for Metropolitan Transit System, to those of you blessed enough to never have taken public transportation in your life) continues its A Trolley Show video series but this time with a hip-hop twist. In the latest installment, rapper/poet Aaron Evans performs a song entitled "We All Work" with the accompaniment of Generik on the beatbox.
Evans is a recent transplant from Cleveland, having only moved to San Diego within the last few years. But in that short time, he's already managed to make an impact locally. He's become affiliated with the 2012 Dynasty crew, which includes acts like Orko Eloheim and Anti-Citizens (both of whom are playing at this month's SoundDiego LIVE). He's also become apart of the Train of Thought spoken-word collective hovering around Queen Bee's in North Park. His advocacy and activism for medicinal marijuana legalization in 2010 led him to start writing for NUG Magazine. He continues to advocate for alternative medicines and health practices by writing for NUG as well as upstart magazine Ecotistic.
Evans's Trolley Show performance is immediately remarkable just because, um, he doesn't have an acoustic guitar, an instrument which has thus far dominated the video series. But the song choice itself is a good fit. I used to take the city bus to school when I was in college. The thing about taking public transport on the daily is that you come face-to-face with the wear and fatigue of the grind. Most everyone on the bus or trolley with you is either coming from or going to a job that beats them down five days a week (or more.) Either way, they're beyond tired.
"We All Work" empathizes with those in the midst of the daily grind. It recognizes it as a struggle but also urges us to keep pushing. The "we" is important because Evans implicates himself in that same struggle -- he's walking the path along with us. More than that though, "we" connects everyone on that trolley to each other like an unspoken support group. I could imagine how much this would mean if I were coming home by trolley from a particularly crap day at work. This performance wins because it's not just an anomalous distraction from routine. It gets at the sacred connectedness of this daily experience.
Quan Vu Quan Vu is the founder and editor of local music blog SD Raps.com. He has also written about local and national hip-hop acts for San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Reader. You can nerd out on rap trivia by becoming BFF's on Facebook or e-mailing him directly.