Thursday, November 25, 2010

Painting Lyrics in the Air with His Hands

I've made my feelings known about hip-hop and rap before - I'm highly selective and skeptical of newcomers. You have no idea how excited I was to find this video newscast about Signmark, the deaf man who paints lyrics in the air by waving his hands.

Though he expresses himself through an art form rooted in the spoken word, Signmark doesn't make a sound. Instead, he signs his way through songs as fellow rapper Brandon gives voice to his lyrics. Together, the artists bridge the gap between the deaf world and the hearing world.

For the curious, though Signmark can't hear the music, he can feel the beat. "You can go to a concert with earplugs and you'll feel it, you'll then notice that you feel it in your body," said Signmark. As the music plays, he signs and Brandon raps in unison. The combination is a whole new kind of performance art.

"Those two words, music and deaf, they've never gone together," signed Signmark. Maybe not, but they do now: In 2009, Signmark became the first deaf rapper ever to land a recording contract.

And the music is infectious. I found three videos of his online. My personal favorite is "Smells Like Victory" but honestly they're all good. I highly recommend taking a look and a listen!

Signmark - Smells Like Victory

Signmark - Against the Wall

Signmark - Speakerbox

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