You may have noticed this already, but hip hop is majorly wack these days. Along with Santa Claus, democracy and the NHS; this comforting ideology is just a front for a confused, corrupted practise. Turn your back on all that. And face Mohammed Yahya.
The Mozambican born, Portuguese drizzled, London bred rapper is well known for being part of hip hop magnifiques, Blind Alphabetz. While the Alphabetz are no more, Yahya carries strong their politically, socially and intellectually charged lyrical content even further forward. This combined with some surprisingly appropriate and affective beats makes ‘Beyond Conflict’ more than a collection of tracks. ‘Beyond Conflict’ is an edification memorandum, or for those who don’t have thesaurus to hand, it’s going to school you and touch you on both personal and infinite ways.
As a heavily active interfaith worker Mohammed works with Daniel Silverstein, forming the UK’s first Muslim and Jewish hip hop act. His ability to remain true to his principles, while working well with individuals from all walks of life is evident through his collaborations on this disc. ‘Hopeful’ boasts none other than M1 himself, from one of the greatest hip hop outfit of all time – Dead Prez; whose revolutionary track ‘Hip-Hop’ dug up the origins of this culture from the deepest dirt. (If you haven’t heard it… bow your head over google NOW!)
Then there is the track ‘Don’t Look Back’ with Spitz and Purple, produced by Faith SFX, Europe’s top beat boxer since Killa Kela. In this track, Faith once again makes Kela look juvenile. The collaboration with another hot talent, Masikah on ‘Half My Deen’ is among my top five hip hop love songs. Ever. Completely pure and real. And anyone who has met his wife, one half of Poetic Pilgrimage, will know what he’s talking about. ‘Deen’, in Arabic basically translates to religion or way of life. The very fact that he loves his wife for the sake of God is overpowering to hear.
Mohammed Yahya is also the president of the organisation ‘Speech For Peace’ “an organisation that aims to create a positive movement that will inspire all communities to work together towards constructive engagement between one another exemplifying understanding and compassion in the work for social justice and human dignity beyond the barriers of religion, ethnicity and nationality”. His righteous intentions and objective way of life are projected to any listener best in Concrete Lands (ft Kyza & Iron Braydz) and W.O.M.B. featuring Danny Silver.
Concrete Lands has this tender piano melody that does not get old. In addition to this are the distressing real life news clips documenting the unjust murder of Menezes. ‘They pushed him to the floor, and basically unloaded five shots into him… seriously. He’s dead’… And Yahya outdoes himself again, alongside too ripely pick talents; ‘The earth is infected by immoral genocide…’
I guarantee you will never have heard anything like W.O.M.B. before. A compelling appreciation to their parents is made increasingly potent by the additional Hebrew verses. ‘What’s closed must open / what’s open must close / the lungs start to work and the blood must flow / till the heart stops pumping… and an angel can make us forget what we know / and all of this happens in the fraction of a second / so yeh I give thanks to these manifest lessons’.
You don’t need a translator to feel those words. Yahya’s love is on another level yet again. ‘The pain can be a blessing, reflecting a self lesson, from the flesh to the spirit, in essence we’re all connected’.
And I’m out.