“Welcome to Grc Lnd 2030” is set in a quasi-dystopian future, where yellow fever is ravaging the black community in Grc Lnd (a city modeled on Memphis). With these life and death stakes as the backdrop, a new kind of civil rights movement emerges. A trio of actors/singers/rappers — including Pavé’, Shawnette Sulker and Stephen Len White — each play dual roles, backed by a musical group that includes violin, cello, saxophone and a DJ, conducted by Sam Shoup.
A line in Pavé’s piece — “Why they want to treat us like we nothing?” — has a particular resonance in light of this week’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remembrances. “Given MLK50 and where we are right now, the connection between 1968’s ‘I Am a Man,’ and that line in [‘Grc Lnd 2030’] is pretty profound,” says Canty. “It’s the same sentiment and idea and thought process.”
Canty hopes that “Grc Lnd 2030,” and other works like it, can help affect some broader change. “The important thing is to make that transition from activist hip-hop to activist theater. It’s part of a classic tradition that goes back to the Depression and the Federal Theatre Project and the idea of theater that’s meant to challenge people’s perceptions and change their minds and to cause action.”
Debut Album: Welcome to Grc Lnd
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Marco Pavé is a rapper concerned with history. I am here in Memphis to witness a project that, for him, has been months in the making: the city’s first rap opera. Pavé is playing tonight with a select group from the Memphis Orchestra, bringing to life songs from his full-length debut, Welcome to Grc Lnd, a concept album that revolves around the revival of large-scale protest in Memphis.
MTV NEWS FEATURE:
MC MARCO PAVÉ WRESTLES WITH THE HISTORY OF MEMPHIS IN NEW RAP OPERA
"Herein lies the strength of Marco Pavé — the thing that makes him different. He has figured out how to merge raps about the specific lifestyle of his environment with the anger and struggle that also lives there. He is, as he says, creating a soundtrack for a moment, so that it can’t be shaped by anyone else."- MTV NEWS