The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org..
A few weeks ago, we received a link to a video on Youtube called "Feet Don't Fail Me Now." It was made by Chane, a pinch-voiced MC just now beginning to build up a bit of buzz in the Houston rap community. We'd heard music from Chane before, so we knew what we were getting: Generally fun and clever songs; the song we'd heard of his prior to that one was a redub of Queen's "We Will Rock You."
But then the video played. And then the universe stopped moving.
Watch the video. It's above. But be warned: It starts with an absolutely brutal clip Chane filmed while he was sitting in the hospital next to his dying father. It was filmed shortly before Chane decided to "pull the plug" on what had become, essentially, a shell of his beloved dad.
In it, you hear an unseen Chane sobbing, reiterating over and over again his love for his father, trying to convince him (and maybe himself) that everything will be okay. The song, about the aftereffects of his father's death, ends with an audio clip of a healthy and vibrant Papa Chane bestowing upon him the responsibility of their family's musical legacy.
The whole thing - the situation, the song, that it was all put together and released - is beyond words, and really one of the very best examples of why (and how) music is so important culturally, mentally and sometimes physiologically.
The answers Chane gave to some interview questions are below. Those alone ended up being over 1,200 words, so we broke them down into two pieces. This is the first half. The second half will be run as the Artist of the Week column tomorrow.
This Week's Rapper: Chane
This Week's Subject: Death
Ask A Rapper: So we figured since that "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" video was so brutal, we'd talk about that. First question, and we guess this sort of has to be the starting point, but what happened to your father?
Chane: One week he was great, the next... he called me in a really low tone voice saying "Im in a lot of pain, I can't walk, I feel I'm about to check out." I took him to the hospital and the doctor told us it felt like sciatica in his leg.
After leaving, we shared our last meal at Sonic; two number 2's and a Route 44 watermelon slush. He started telling me that he's proud of the man I've become, he loves me and that he's happy he got a chance to see me graduate, get married and have two kids.
Then he said, "But I feel like I'm about to go now son." I thought that was just the pain talking, but I guess it's true what they say, you can feel when it's your time. The next day I got a call from his girlfriend telling me that something was really wrong with him. I rushed over to his house and couldn't get him to open the door.
I called 911 and they had to tear his door down. He was non-responsive. We rushed him to the hospital where he would see his last days.
The doctors said his kidneys had failed him and his urine looked dark as coca-cola. I was traumatized. At that time, he was talking somewhat so I spoke to him. Squeezing my hand he said "I love you too son, I'ma go now, do something with that music, no one does it better than us."
After that he went into a coma and over the next several days in ICU, he had six strokes, brain damage, his heart was pumping out toxins and his brain was hemorrhaging. They told me he was basically a vegetable and that I had to make a decision. Sept 20, 2010, I went and said my goodbye (I filmed a brief moment of it in which you see at the beginning of the video) and told the doctors to pull the plug.
They pulled it at 1 p.m. and he died at 4:20 p.m. I never got an autopsy to find the actual cause. He was basically here today and gone the next. I would suggest giving your loved ones their roses while they can still smell them.
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AAR: When you were putting this together, were you hesitant of releasing that footage? It's pretty personal stuff.
C: No. I didn't care, honestly. It's what I was going through. I've never been the type of artist that's afraid to open up and bring people into my world. Music is a reflection of self, it's expression, real life in stereo so, as long as I'm living, it's really no telling where I'll go artistically.
I wanted people to feel somewhat of what I felt, and still feel, really, and to hear me out when I say "Feet Don't Fail Me Now." The pictures and video clips on Kanye West's "Through the Wire" video really made me feel Kanye when he said through the wire. That's the same emotions on my video.
Be here tomorrow for the second half of the interview, including whether or not this should be seen as exploitative, what's next for the rapper and more. Follow Chane on Twitter at @hitupchane.