" ...Consciously contribute something as great and beautiful as our existence to the world and do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community and the world more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it."
Feel good music that is seamless, laced with an impenetrable flow, and mesmerizing lyrical rhythms is a gifted combination of genius few artists embody. This type of music is so much more than layered grooves when presented by an artist who puts their soul into every rhythm. The fusion of cultural influences, emotional vulnerability, frustration, and innovative vocal artistry is what elevates the music from average to transcendent.
KAMAU Mbonisi Kwame Agyeman (which translates to "Quiet Warrior) better known to the music industry as KAMAU is a new transcendent multifaceted artist shelling out raw, cool, innovative ancestral sounds satisfying way more than our eardrums. We first came across the lyrical mastermind at the African Health Now Annual Cocktail Benefit last year as a guest performer newly featured on the critically acclaimed Birth of a Nation soundtrack. The rapper, singer, producer, and visual artist hit the stage with his signature vocal percussion and lyrical mastery performing his popular single "The Icarus" We were completely blown away and mesmerized by his spirit moving performance. Reminiscent of the powerful Nina Simone's diverse musical body of work that has always run the gamut of human emotion with her music ranging from pain and sorrow to anger and tenderness, KAMAU also managed to blow out the speakers during his performance set for 10 minutes sending him into an acapella musical testimony of improv with audience participation that left our souls on fire. It was after that performance that we realized the experience of KAMAU's performance was an absolute reflection of creative fearlessness and frustration illuminating the ancestral spirits if civil rights pioneers Malcolm X, Fredrick Douglas, and Marcus Garvey.
With a voice that effortlessly belts out percussive explosions and unorthodox yet exhilarating melodies, to call KAMAU a rapper simply diminishes his eccentric edge and musical versatility. Shattering mainstream media's notorious carbon copies and manicured archetypes, KAMAU's musicality has no containment. It implodes on the stage spilling over onto it audience as this unpredictable therapy session of Black conscious realness.
The cornerstone of KAMAU's musical philosophy begins at the Agyeman family home. Born and raised in Upper Marlboro, MD, and Washington, D.C. KAMAU's cultural influences were heavily solidified and enforced outside of his family home within his first academic school The Ujamaa Schule. The Ujamaa Schule is an independent private school in Washington, DC founded on the philosophies and elements of the Nguzo Saba (7 principles of Kwanzaa). To be fair KAMAU's creative expression and mystical talent was always nurtured by his parents. That deceptive ease we experience throughout KAMAU's funky progressive sound are a direct reflection of the diverse musical palette celebrated within his home. With legendary favorites from Vieux Diop to Sam Cooke to Bob Marley to Andre 3000, KAMAU's framework of music spans from harmonious and layered spoken word infused with ancestral beat box percussion juxtaposed upon stacked ad-libs evocative of jazz staccato scatting rhythms. There is no denying his vocal fearlessness in experimenting with is instrument box. The satisfying experience of a KAMAU's performance that connects with so many are embedded in his influences obviously but more impressive is how his sound echoes the indigenous cadences of both the past and the present, Black and Aboriginal cultures and a futuristic yet multicultural synthesis of music.
KAMAU's intuitive sense of musical expression has recently graced the airwaves of the industry with his new EP, "A Gorgeous Fortune" released this past summer in July. The rapper-singer-songwriter released popular track "Justfayu" the first week of his EP release and Issa Rae saw fit to add KAMAU to her ridiculously epic and eclectic soundtrack list on her acclaimed HBO show "Insecure". KAMAU cranked out another fire hit with his unique style giving us the remix to "Justfayu Remix" with duo Lion Babe
We knew we were on to another multifaceted visionary once we began binge watching all of KAMAU's work after his great performance at African Health Now. The dopest part of his story as an artist is probably that KAMAU is a college graduate with a BA in film from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he currently resides. Conscious artist like J. Cole and KAMAU continue to debunk the myth between choosing a creative career and obtaining a college education. These artists have proved that they can not only obtain their degree and pursue their artistry but in fact, become internationally successful as well and reach the masses with authentic thought provoking and social changing content that can propel their career to places they have never imagined. The example of using music to show what you learned about your roots and who you are while motivating and inspiring the people is something we need so much more of. That manifestation of artistry that integrates various genres is a greatest way to show one's true appreciation for all art forms of art. And yes, the music can be reflective of nature, universal principles while being playful, sexy, and light-hearted to the ear. KAMAU hasn't compromised who he is for his music. He has unleased of beautiful complexity to some of the most thought provoking music we heard in awhile and, we love it. And we think you will love it too.