White Flag Remix Competition
Not long ago, we were lamenting the dearth of hip-hop in South Asia here on the pages of Border Movement. Almost as if on cue, Mode Silver pops up in our Soundcloud feed: a Bangladeshi emcee. Mode Silver is a new name to us, but from the looks of his soundcloud page, he’s been recording rhymes for at least four years. But his latest, White Flag, seems to have succeeded in garnering some merited attention.
Coming with the best flow we’ve ever heard out of Dhaka, Mode Silver is in a thoroughly contemplative mode on White Flag. Although love songs make up no more than a tiny fraction of the hip-hop universe, they also constitute some of the genres finest. Method Man cut through all the gangster bullshit on the Mary J. Blige featuring (and Marvin Gaye jacking) All I Need and Jay-Z rarely spoke more directly to his audience than he did on Song Cry But perhaps the most compelling tracks from this sub-genre are those that are tinged with fear, longing, and regret; the chronicle of a troubled relationship or the post-mortem of one that’s slipping away. The Roots famously accomplished this on their highest charting single, You Got Me but Aceyalone may have done it best with his mournful Everything Changes .
It is in this challenging vein of emotionally charged raw hip-hop that Mode Silver brings us White Flag. The track’s stripped down beat – nothing but a simple keyboard line, some gently strummed guitar, and eventually a heavily filtered vocal sample – places the emphasis firmly on Mode Silver’s vocals. Indeed, it’s rare to find a hip-hop track so entirely devoid of percussion; K-Os’ Heaven Only Knows comes to mind.
The emphasis on the lyricism is not entirely misguided. Mode Silver narrates the recognition that a troubled relationship can only be saved by being a better version of himself. The song is a call to action, a love letter, and a sober acknowledgement of fault. And it’s good. While Mode Silver occasionally strays into the over-earnest white rapper territory currently occupied by Macklemore, he largely manages to touch the right notes of poignancy without straying into overwrought sentiment.
All the same, we wish the beat had a little more oomph to it; the tinkling keys and guitar are fine, but lack the kind of boom-bap that we love. The good news is, the boys over at Dhaka Electronic Scene are running a remix competition for the track. The winner will be featured on the next DES compilation release. We’re eager to hear how Mode Silvers words are cut, chopped, and dropped.
The deadline to submit the remixes is on 30th November. Submissions can be made via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the accapella here
written by Kerry Harwin