When I was a teenager, I used to wonder whether there were people who made music with real meaning and depth. I was very much deprived of this during my teenage years but my answer has now been answered by the likes of Baraka Blue, a hip hop artist. Hip hop or rap music was one of the things I grew up listening to but the nature of the it was not fitting then or today unfortunately.
So, to find a gem like Baraka Blue is a true blessing. I was first introduced to him when he made a short visit to Malaysia. I attended a meet and greet session at Third Space, organized by Crescent Collective and the US Embassy. Since then, I’ve familiarized myself with more of his work.
Ahmad James or his stage name, Baraka Blue is a highly acclaimed rapper and poet hailing from Seattle and is based in Oakland, California. Baraka’s original synthesis of spoken word poetry with a traditional mix of mystical poets such as Rumi and Hafiz, is highly decorated within the global artist community.
‘Reedbed Diaspora’ is his most recent book of poetry and he has also led creative writing workshops and taught classes internationally in addition to performing. His sophomore album, ‘Majunun’s Lost Memoirs’ can be heard in cafes and concert halls all around the globe. He is currently continuing his pursuit of knowledge by undertaking a Masters Degree with a focus on Sufism and Psychology.
To me, Baraka Blue has managed to mix the traditional and contemporary to make a unique sound that is beautiful internally and externally.
Take a listen to these 5 tracks that I’d recommend to those who wish to get a taste of his art.
This track that features Mos Def, Anas Canon & Nassirah speaks about how the sweetest fruit is often the most difficult one for us to taste.
We are living at a time where holding on to the Sunnah has become one of the most difficult things to do, where everything around us seems to just stir us away from the path.
This song captures this fight to hold on to the Sunnah with lines like: “The proof of your labor is you bearing fruits…. Only struggle can produce the strength.”
For those of you in need of an uplifting beat in practising the Sunnah, this song is for you.
There is an abundance of modern communication available today and yet, we are so disconnected today with each other.
Baraka’s line “I don’t want to see your Facebook. I want to know exactly how your face looks in the morning when you wake up with no kind of make up.”
This captures the need of many Millennials today to have true humanly connections with another.
Love and Light
Love and Light is a song that reminds us of the importance of making Dua. It is something that we tend to overlook, especially making Dua for others.
“May you learn from every mistake”
“May you rise above all of the hate”
“May your friends be real and never be fake”
“May he make all your enemies friends”
Baraka Blue takes us to a Sunnah that we must practice with a more conscious effort – to always wish well upon others.
Have You No Heart
Have You No Heart is my favorite piece by Baraka Blue so far. I love just how reflective this song is for one to look inside themselves.
“Have you no way to get a hold of yourself?”
“Good God, have you no control of yourself”
“Have you no pen to make a note to yourself?”
“Have you tried to guard your tongue like you guard your wealth?”
It is easy for us to find faults in others, this tune reminds us that we must first focus on our own shortcomings.
This poem will make us miss the prophet so much. It reminds me of just how amazing it is that we’ve never even met him before and yet, we all long to meet him at Heaven’s Door.
“We long to see his face smiling and telling us that he is happy to see us.”
“We pray to meet you at heaven’s door and smell perfume straight from your pores. Nothing more nothing more.”
“There is nothing that we ask for. Nothing more nothing more.”
“But to see your face smiling at heaven’s door. Nothing more nothing more”
To know more about Baraka Blue visit his site at: http://barakablue.com/
What do you think about some of the tracks by Baraka Blue? Have they inspired you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.