Photo Credit: Xavier Lopez
Very rarely can you come across a unique piece like “The Vulnerables”. The Rapper who goes by Lafu Maton brought us to a new level of a dark, soul-crunching experience, which truly showcases the level of beauty and capability of musical expression. A special take on poetry and hip-hop, “The Vulnerables” is a song that explores on music format, pushes boundaries with lyrical content and expresses creativity in production.
Lafu Maton, a rapper originally from China, started the concept of this song by being inspired by a poem written by NiuMao. “I found her poem very attractive as it talks about violence, abuse and devils. Not that I like these topics, it’s just I find it mind blowing.” Said Lafu Maton. The song then got developed from a piece of poetry to a rap song after discussing with the producer, DJ Guuk Shaman, who remixed, remastered Lafu Maton’s original composition “Perfect pink pussy”, to construct the beat we are hearing in “The Vulnerables” today.
“The Vulnerables” portrays a vulnerable teenager, digging into the most fragile and unspeakable part of him. Staring at memories he would not like to see, dealing with a reality that he would not like to face.
“I’ve been having nightmares,
Dreams of demons walking, talking, whispering,
In the center of the lake…” 2
Starting with a dream, and then delving deeper to the boy’s pain on the present. Gradually, we see the boy’s self-destruction, and in the end, we see his gruesome past. The lyrics are constructed with an intricate plot-developing format, but also cruelly and aesthetically presenting the ugliness deriving from the boy’s vulnerability. Though it seems the way of expression is too direct, and some may argue using taboo phrases and creating a gruesome visual might degrade the quality of the music. Nonetheless, “The Vulnerables” successfully represents the teenager’s heart and pain, and how teens react and feel when dealing with trauma. The song tells the story from within and without any filters. It presents us the honest voice of a wounded boy. Listening to the development of the song is like unraveling a yet to be bloomed flower. Layers behind layers, words after words, are a young boy’s doubt. Doubting how to become a person, doubting the idea of existence, and doubting the meaning of living.
“I have the Vulnerability,
No one seek to feed my tread my areality”3Lafu Maton’s performance, with a hint of innocence and a full load of despair, hits listeners with an end game punch. The story would not have been told without the passion and dedication of the storyteller. Lafu Maton’s voice and skill connects the listener to the suicidal, confused, and fearful boy. The delicate performance completed the dramatic illustration of the boy’s voice, and made the angry and confused teenager come alive.
The beat goes against traditional rhythmic expectations, and wraps itself around the story and the performance, shows structure, color, and thought. Every hit of the bass drum fits with the development of the story, and every time the piano lick comes in, it resonates. The producer, DJ Guuk Shaman, mixed Lafu Maton’s voice with primary focus on the high-end frequency, and made his voice slightly lower in the mix. Also he added a low-end double for the voice, which in combination with the deconstructed piano melody, enhanced Lafu Maton’s performance and helped the listeners engage with vulnerability, and sink in to the story.
“I am the Vulnerable,
I am the honor of blunders
I have the hunger for dollars,
But I am vulnerable,
Behind my patience relations
And all that cadence complacence”4
A beautiful piece of art, “The Vulnerables” is a wonderful song that is the result of collaboration. The author is truly amazed and wishes to hear more from these talented individuals. “The Vulnerables” is now streaming on Sound Cloud.
1. Tong, Julia G. (JT), The Shape of Vulnerability. 4.7.2018- Created with Pencil and Digital painting, inspired by the song “The Vulnerables”
2. 3. 4. Lafu Maton feat. DJ Shaman Guuk, Lyrics to “The Vulnerables”, 2018