In 2008, hip-hop has Fallen Awake. As artists trade integrity for fabricated characters, Shaya has watched his wounds of a troubled youth heal into the wisdom of a grown man with plenty to offer any listener within an earshot of his words. His debut album Fallen Awake is a dreamy dose of reality for those who miss personal rap.
Prior to signing with Interdependent Media, Shaya spent nearly ten years hitting the pavement in his native Bay Area slanging handmade CD's and mixtapes at shows and on street corners. Shaya's lyricism, determination, and charismatic personality caught the attention of many industry leaders, but personal obstacles often prevented him from taking his craft to the next level.
Shaya is currently under the mentorship of iD, the same A&R guru who introduced the world to Little Brother and his label Interdependent Media is also the home to home to Canibus and K'naan.
Industry Life is the first single from the album. The track deals with his long-standing relationship with the music industry and the sacrifices that he has had to make as a largely self-reliant hip-hop artist. "This industry will play with your life" repeats the chorus, showing that Shaya is all too familiar with the troubles that musicians confront in the unforgiving business of music. Shaya has seen the music industry at its worst, as represented by lines like, "Any hustlas with a notepad / where's the ambition / speak for you, niggas that listen are locked in prison". The production on Industry Life reflects the track's well thought out lyrical content: to the point, well written and no gimmicks. The track's chorus recalls hip-hop's Golden Age with a repeating vocal line that the DJ chops and twists apart to create an interesting rhythmic counterpoint.
Other tracks on the LP include Proud which is a gentler track with production including incessant, but mixed low bongos which push the track forward and blend with the acoustic guitar. As opposed to Fall Back, a powerful brag rap over electronic keys. Take A Ride gives us an 80’s soul feel in which Shaya raps about his sexual prowess and how he spends the night with his girl. Thinking Cap starts off playing the break the song is based on for a couple of bars before the reversion kicks in. Again it points to Shaya’s soulful leanings and has a feel of old Heiroglyphics stuff, a crew with whom Shaya has done shows with in the past.
The album features production from Jake One (50 Cent, Freeway) and The ARE (Lords of the Underground, K-Otix). Under the manifesto of resurrecting “thinking man’s music”, Shaya considers Fallen Awake to be not only an open-palm to his listeners, but a chance to lay to rest the pains of his own life.
Shaya summarises, “The story of my life has been ‘nothing finished.’ I firmly believe with this music, I’m gonna get to that ending, and it’s going to be something I can be proud of”.
Fallen Awake will be released by Interdependent Media on July 29th, 2008.