I'm not sure what it is, but I have become enamored of MC Yogi and the brand he and his wife have crafted out of whole cloth.
Parts of this may sound a little shitty. I don't mean for them to. I'm going to try and work my head around this in a thoughtful way. The following may be a bit rambling. I'm gonna try to make this clear, but honest.
I really do find myself loving the whole MC Yogi thing. Do we call it a "brand?" I guess that's the best description. He and his wife have found an impressive and lovely way to harness their creative pursuits and direct them towards a single point of focus.
She's an artist. She paints. She, the lady behind @10000buddhas, makes - to my eye - beautiful and simple buddha themed art. She also creates murals. They're - to my mind - perfect. I'd love to see one of these in our neighborhood. She also teaches yoga. I'd like to make a trip to Point Reyes this year and take in a practice or two.
He does something amazing with pretty simple lyrics. I am not a super-fan. I'm not a super-fan for anybody, for that matter. But I have enjoyed the shit out of listening to his music. He also wrote a book. I picked it up on a lark while visiting my parents in Humboldt, TN. His book is a lovely and honest memoir of growing up, getting lost, finding a way, and finding a purpose. He also teaches yoga.
Here's the brilliance. MC Yogi, his wife, and their separate and joint ventures are all connected. They cross promote. They use their abiding love of yoga to sell his book and her paintings. They use his music and his book to promote their yoga studio. Every part of the brand is on point and every part of the brand is connected - not too tightly, but connected. I'm seriously impressed with the their brand and their marketing. The whole thing just works. It's not offensive. It's respectful. It's engaging.
I have several friends who write music for a living. I think some of them might not be so impressed with MC Yogi's lyrical structure or the composition of his music. There are always haters. But I like it. It makes me smile and it - somehow - calms me down --- and I think there is a tendency to condescend in certain areas of art and music.
My general rule has always been: If music makes me smile, I like it. I'm not all that concerned with dissecting Dylan or parsing Pepper. I just love some of their music. I play the songs that make me smile.
Here's where I'm gonna try and work my mind around some things:
I live in Nashville. There's an extensive "Christian music" scene here. The music is mostly - to my ear - bad. The lyrics tend to be patronizing/pandering. The composition tends to be derivative. The Christian music space seems to take parts of pop and indy and folk and wrap them around praise for Jesus. I got nothing against Jesus. Pretty much agree with everything he says. His followers, on the other hand ....
Maybe I just find it a bit disingenuous to be making a killing off of Jesus. But, that's been happening for a couple millennia now - so that complaint, while valid, is moot.
Some have argued that yoga music [which usually tends to be heavy with sounds of the sub-continent and eastern environs dolloped on top of western lyrics that try, for all they're worth, to sound "authentic," but mostly fail because - well, americans can't seem to wrap their mouths around sanskrit most of the time] is not all that different from christian music - derivative and patronizing/pandering with no real sense of originality.
That's where MC Yogi parts with the pandering/derivative crowd. He's found his place in that narrow window where art and love and originality meet. He takes his love of yoga, his talent for hip-hop and makes something new.
His wife, the muralist, does the same.
I like to see people with talent and a deep passion succeed. I especially love to see people approach something they love with a mind towards business and brand. Hat's off to MC Yogi and 10,000 buddhas. I like what you're doing. A lot.