DJ SAYEED / “DJ Sayeed Mixtape”
Here’s some music from a movement—sort of a renaissance of the old school: seventies soul filtered through eighties hip hop. Drum beats on a consciousness tip. Mental flow about more than nothing.
Coming out of the Virginia formation. Celebrating Happily Natural Day, a major gathering of conscious black folk, DJ Sayeed put together two mixtapes: Black Freedom Mixtape, Volumes 1 & 2. Except for Dead Prez, BDP and X-Clan there are no major names on the mixtape’s 29 tracks but if you’re into any of the aforementioned rappers, then this mixtape is definitely for you.
DJ Sayeed produced the mixtape and did all the scratching and arranging. I’ve chosen to excerpt a little less than half of the mixtape. I’ve also rearranged the cuts so that the selected tracks achieve some of the flow that DJ Sayeed achieves.
DJ Sayeed Mixtape Playlist
DJ Sayeed’s Black Freedom Day Volume 2 Mixtape is available as a free download on The Happily Natural website.
01 “Can't Get Right/Take 1” - Bro Dex
02 “More Music” - John Robinson (Lil Sci of Scienz of Life)
03 “Calm Yourself” - Omni ft Layla & Porsha Lane
04 “Freedom Walk” ft Dead Prez - Lifesavas
05 “Remind My Soul” - Afrobatik
06 “They Don't Know” - Amir Sulaiman ft Goapele
07 “Can't Get Right / Take 2” - Bro Dex
08 “I Am Love” - Pro Mic ft Mr. White
09 “Cris Columbus Remix” - Head Roc
10 “Outro” - Brother Manifest / “You Remind Me” - Pete Rock
Hip Hop has an interesting pedigree. Birthed in New York City in the midst of urban poverty and oppression, Hip Hop started among the black and poor residents but even from its inception it included international elements and other ethnicities and races. Jamaica and Puerto Rico were present at birth and before long Japanese were supporting the movement, and then a veritable avalanche of fellow travelers worldwide were DJ-ing, Emcee-ing, Break Dancing, Tagging (Graffiti writing), and adopting the fashion and style consciousness that was initially associated with the ghettoes of the Big Apple.
It should not be surprising when anyone in the world emerges as a proficient Hip Hop artist. It shouldn’t surprise but invariably one does a double take when someone like Ebrahim Lakhani brings the noise.
Ebrahim was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. The interview excerpt below fills in the general background. I’ve chosen four cuts from his debut album, Gold Rush. But the real feature is the three acapella covers that Ebrahim spits—Ebrahim and his sampler.
He beatboxes with the best and has a charming “soulful” vocal style. Best of all he has posted videos of himself producing the tracks. As they say: seeing is believing.
Go here to see Ebrahim get down—it’s sort of amazing.
He is an engaging performer. Indeed, he strong all around. Ironically, he is strongest when he is covering others. His own composing skills are the least developed of his talents. In any case, once again we witness not only the reach of black music but the enrichment of black music as the cultural form is produced by people from all over the world.
All around the world, the same song.
Juicy: What was your first performance like?
EL: I was about 21 and it was for a “friend of a friend’s” 18th birthday party. She’s Filipino, so traditionally the 18th birthday is kind of a big deal in their culture. I knew five out of the 150 people in attendance. Anyways, the 1st couple songs went over fine, but after claps and cheers cleared, I could hear mumbling. Only to later find out the question of the evening was “What is he?” implying that people were trying to decipher my ethnicity [laughs].
Juicy: What is your ethnic background?
EL: My mom is from Afghanistan, while my pops is from Pakistan.
Juicy: You’re pretty known in Canada.
EL: I wouldn’t really say I’m known in Canada. I’ve had the opportunity of sharing the stage with some accomplished artists such as Lyfe Jennings and Musiq Soulchild, but I would still consider myself a struggling independent artist.
Juicy: Tell me about your company EMS?
EL:EMS is short for Extra Medium Sound. The name itself is an inside joke, so I’ll spare you the pity laugh. The company consists of myself, Ryan Barbaza, Evan Chan and Francis Garcia. We established the company two and half years ago with the intent of writing and producing songs, in hopes of gaining writing credits on major records. We found out early on that this was a pretty difficult task to achieve, being that the age of the “ghostwriter” was slowly beginning to fade. We quickly shifted our attention to working with local and national artists, which then led to T.V. and Radio jingle success.
Juicy: How would you describe EMS’s sound and vibe?
EL: We’ve kind of come up with our own little brand of music called “conscious soul”. Not trying to come across like a public service announcement, but just making music that people can relate to. From love relationships, to family and social issues, to religious indifference, we try and vary our song topics.
Juicy: So who is Ebrahim? Musically…personally…
EL: I wouldn’t call myself a musician. I’m more of a fan if anything. At the same time, I didn’t spend three years making this record for nothing. Like anybody else though, I’m just trying to learn more things about myself through life experiences. I just so happen to express my life’s experiences through songs. Religiously and spiritually? I’m growing. Being Muslim, there are those who don’t agree with what I’m doing.
Juicy: Does your faith play a part in your music?
EL: It's funny that you ask me this question right now, as religion and music is something that I've been struggling with as of late. Most recently, I've been learning to embrace my religion a lot more, only learning that music is actually frowned upon within the religion. I guess my intentions can only be judged by myself and God. I'm sure there will be those who will be quick to say "you can't call yourself a Muslim when you are doing music." Like I said, I'll leave it in the hands of God, and rest assure that I was raised to know better than to take part in any stereotypical musician lifestyle choices or to write about "fat booties" or intoxicated nights at the Holiday Inn.
Juicy: Your sound is pretty soulful…do people ever think you’re a black guy sight unseen?
EL: [Laughs] I think if you asked me this question five years ago, it probably would’ve been relevant. I think people have become a lot more accepting of the less traditional non-black artist, performing soulful music. More recently, guys like Jon B, Robin Thicke or Justin Timberlake have opened people’s ears.
From black roots, a rainbow of fruit. Will wonders never cease?
—Kalamu ya Salaam
Ebrahim Lakhani Playlist
04 “E To The” - Gold Rush
05 “Britney Spears Oops Cover” - video
06 “Piece Of Heaven” - Gold Rush
07 “D'Angelo / Lupe / Joni Mitchell Cover” - video
08 “In The Water” - Gold Rush
09 “Bob Marley-Fugees-The Roots cover" – video
10 “Goldrush” - Gold Rush
This entry was posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 11:17 am and is filed under Cover. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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