Written by Emily Smith
Most people have had a moment in their lives when they don’t know the direction they want to take or what to do with themselves or even how they’re going to achieve what they want. That period in life comes with a lot of exploration and hard work, and at the same time, frustration and desperation; Be it paying the bills and affording the basics. In his latest single “Moment of Clarity,” hip-hop artist Makhuli takes on this moment in life from the perspective of a musician who’s trying to make it big, while also trying to survive on his own.
“This song came to me in a moment of real struggle living (more like surviving) in LA, and wanting, needing, believing for more. It was a good hard look at what I was really chasing and where this chase would take me,” comments Makhuli.
From the beginning of the song, the listener is immediately immersed with eerie backing vocals and a cool, steady beat from the bass. The bass is the main instrument used prominently throughout the song, and has a deep groove and captivating sound that adds a gloomy atmosphere to the track.
Makhuli tells us, “The inspiration for the music itself was kind of mysterious for me, it just kind of became what it was and I sat back and watched it (well, kind of, if “sitting back” means leaning over my keys, beat machine, and laptop for hours). There were many influences pulled ranging from Icelandic musicians to K-Dot to the current trap scene. I didn’t go into it trying to be original but rather just letting the song be what it was.”
This gloom from the bass is further built up by the lyrics about a musician trying to find his way in life and have his music reach people – a feat that is made more difficult by the poor conditions he is living in. Makhuli describes trying to find the food to go on his plate and the frustration of driving with an expired registration and getting pulled over by the cops.
Dealing with this and trying to craft his music takes a toll on him. He raps, “Getting lost in the dreams and the candy/ Belly gonna ache and my mind gonna swell,” meaning that focusing too much on trying to make his dreams happen and trying to earn money is only going to make him feel stressed and perhaps unfulfilled.
“It was a “moment of clarity” in which I knew I couldn’t just chase these surface accomplishments of success, although there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. There had to be something deeper,” says Makhuli.
The conditions he’s dealing with often stunts him from realizing his true potential and the impact he could make on the world, though he wants to pull through. He sings, “I feel so lost/ I say I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine…” to show how he wants to stay positive despite his feelings. As he repeats, “I’m fine,” his words start to fade, which may represent how the significance of that statement wears down over time.
Makhuli laces some very vulnerable and dark lyrics throughout the song, in which he recognizes his flaws and worries when it comes to achieving his dreams. The lyrics “Take me to your leader/ Take me to your crown/ Bless a weight upon me/ And watch me as I drown,” expresses some hope to finally make it big, but ultimately sinking under the weight of it all.
“This song is not some kind of answer for anyone, but rather a realization that the path I was on internally was going to take me nowhere, even if I “got some places” on the outside,” comments Makhuli. “It’s a song of both hope and struggle, blindness and vision.”
The title “Moment of Clarity” suggests that during some point in the song, the musician’s purpose will become clear, and spark inspiration, but instead, this moment of clarity doesn’t come with anything: “This is my moment of clarity/ Scarily I can’t see anything/ what does that mean for me/ If when I see/ I can’t see anything?” The listener realizes that Makhuli has yet to find a real solution.
For those looking for a song that expresses the very real struggle of trying to achieve a dream and find purpose, “Moment of Clarity” certainly does not sugarcoat it. It’s an engaging song lyrically and has the potential for a large following.