The Timeless Truths of Mælginn's „Hvernig fer“
I don't believe in good and evil any longer. All there is, I'm convinced, is freedom and constraint.
And once you see it, you see it everywhere.
Penetrate the veneer of social standing, of class, and of race—those misleading labels that serve to obscure the universality of the struggle—and you will find that every one of us is engaged in the same ineffable conflict: struggling against the forces that compel or constrain us—fighting for a meaningful sense of self-determination.
Such a thing was true of the American who I met on the flight home last night, that sanguine 30-year old from Titusville, Florida, who desired, I could tell, to transcend the trammels of his own country ("I want to travel, to see the world"), and it is equally as true of my five-month-old son, who every day mounts an impressive charge against the shackles of his infancy.
Some struggles, however, are more touching than others, if only because the person doing the struggling has the ability to articulate—to confess to—the daunting and Sisyphean nature of the task.
Faulkner said that it is the "problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat," and of all the songs that I've listened to lately, those words have applied most truly to Mælginn's Hvernig fer (see below).
His lyrics, intertwined with the predictably masterful beat-making of BNGRBOY (if only all confessionals had such music), speak to a person—who in the words of another Nobel laureate—sat down at the typewriter and bled.
I'm always judging myself /
But if anyone has the right—it's me /
And that's where every struggle starts, with the intuition that one can do better.
Hvernig fer is about the rapper's struggle against the circumstances of his existence: against his addictive personality, his perceived ignorance, and against the people whom he has surrounded himself with. The song's most memorable line speaks to a kind of humility that is rare among that class of writers which is, more than any other, guilty of being overly proud (the emcees).
What am I doing here?
The mood is absurd /
I should probably be spending more time with people
Who are a little smarter than me /
Such personal revelations make the song, and despite the melancholy, which must by the force of some universal law intrude upon all of our lives, there is also the counterbalancing force of hope, that greatest of human qualities.
Whatever your opinion of rap music, I encourage you, nonetheless, to listen to the song. To savor it. To recognize that its narrative is as old as time.
The human heart in conflict with itself.
Now if only we could replace the antiquated symbolism of demons and angels on a scale with something more nuanced ...