“Sakpase” is the first thing in a dialogue between two Haitians. Although in Miami people often speak Haitian Creole, little do we understand of the heritage behind this dialect. For those who don’t know, “sakpase” stands for “what’s up.” It’s also the name of Wyclef Jean’s new record label.
After proving himself as a hip-hop artist, Jean has devoted his career to increasing Haiti’s meaning in U.S. culture, paving the way for emerging artists to do the same. One of Miami’s hottest entertainers, Mecca, a.k.a Grimo, has followed Jean’s footsteps with The Creole Hip-Hop Movement. “It’s about time we are respected in whatever it is that we do,” Mecca says. “Haiti’s history is so relevant to this world but the media only lets you see the negative aspect of life in Haiti.”
This light-skinned, multi-talented artist, who has been emceeing since the age of eight, performed at Planet Kreyol’s Mr. and Ms. Planet Kreyol pageant last week. Pursuing his passion in both poetry and rap, he has found a medium to deliver diverse material to the market. The versatility that Mecca brings to the hip-hop world is a breath of fresh air. Although his focus is to cater to the Haitian and French-speaking Caribbean audience, he blends popular rap hooks to his Creole lyrics that attract any audience.
“Nobody will listen to a new artist who brings material in a totally different form,” he says. “By mixing the top 10 hits to my lyrics, the American audience is more receptive to the track, and before you know it, they lean back and two-step.”
His first LP, Kreyol Konneksyon Mix CD Vol. 1, has hooks from 50 Cent, Lil’ Jon and Fat Joe-with a Caribbean flavor. The album also features Wayne Wonder, Pitbull and Wyclef-creating a blend of West-Indian and Latin vibes which have become popular in Miami.
Mecca displays his spoken-word talents in Mecca: Pharaoh to Thug, where he reveals his political consciousness and hopeful spirit on Haiti’s unstable situation: “We as a people need to encourage awareness and some type of solution to help build Haiti forward to the great country it once was,” he says.
More information on The Creole Hip-Hop Movement can be found at www.meccaakagrimo.com.
Nathalie Guillaume can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.