Negros Americanos is the bilingual hip-hop fusion of Bishop The Eastside Nappyhead and mc enigma, located in Plainfield, New Jersey, but formed in Panama after a year of living in the barrio. In the duo’s own words: “These two emcee/ songwriters are dedicated to raising the bar in music, experimenting with international blends and exploring topics often overlooked or taboo in hip hop. We aim to ENTERTAIN, EDUCATE and EMPOWER!”
The song’s production has an old school vibe. There are jazzy sounding horns swirled into the production, evoking 1990’s east coast vibes – the beat is buttery smooth, the flow is relaxed. The subject matter, however, is more provocative and edifying: the song takes place as a dialogue between the emcee and a crack addict on a park bench, preaching to the young man to avoid the pitfalls he has fallen into. The track reads like a solemn sermon – “Look at me, I am disgusting and a clown/Never live it down/You better have the armor/When karma comes around/Now the clock keeps ticking”. Though the production is fairly slow and relaxed, there is a sense of urgency in the lyricism and delivery.
It’s clear that the two emcees’ experiences in Panama profoundly effected their personhoods. The experience ignited an introspection in mc enigma (who also designed the cover). He delivers some seriously wise licks: “I’ve been thinking how sometimes you don’t even realize, the days they go by / and it turned into months, into years, and you never once confronted your fears”. “Clock Keeps Ticking” captures a message of valuing one’s life, growing up, and brotherhood. The duo’s slogan, emblemed proudly across their social media links is “Entertain Educate Empower”. Negros Americanos are simultaneously committed to preaching a positive, empowering message and unwilling to shy away from provocative subject matter. And that’s awesome.