An intimate night of DJ sets by:
Ali Shaheed Muhammad
(A Tribe Called Quest, Lucy Pearl)
(GOOD MUSIC, Ubiquity, Plug Research)
The Mighty SA-RA
— Along with —
J-Boogie (Om Records)
Xariusound (Reinforest Collective)
Hosted by 40Love.
More on Ali Shaheed Muhammad:
Ali Shaheed Muhammad was born and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. At an early age Ali became fascinated with music. His earliest memory of this fascination was toting around a yellow Mickey Mouse transistor radio he received as a gift. “I brought that with me everywhere; I was comforted by the sounds that came from that little box,” he says. Other memories lead to house parties his mother would throw where his Uncle Mike would deejay. It was at one of these parties that the then eight-year-old Ali took control of the mixer and turntables and began his life long musical journey. Ali went from local neighborhood deejay to a world-renowned producer and musician, forming not one but two popular bands.
The first group, A Tribe Called Quest, was where “Mr. Muhammad” partnered up with band mates Q-Tip and Phife. The hip-hop trio recorded five albums. The three stand incontestable as hip-hop classics. Their innovation changed the sound of hip-hop and R & B with jazzy, melodic beats. Tribe exited the world via the same stage as The Beatles and The Police, but their influence still lives with artists like D’Angelo, Common, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Roots and Musiq.
After Tribe, Ali co-founded a new super trio named Lucy Pearl. Here with band members Dawn Robinson and Raphael Saadiq, he was able to explore more of his music abilities. Lucy Pearl fused funk, rock, R & B and hip-hop bringing a new energy and sound which remains to be duplicated.
More on The Mighty SA-RA:
The SA-RA Creative Partners use their three minds to combine and make something that is always new, something twisted, a sound not heard before. Their music is soulful, but not limited by the neo soul tag. They make hip hop, but of the bugged-out and other-worldly kind. Tracks are instantly catchy, but edgy and not commercial. According to the list of high-profile artists requesting their production services their sound has an infectious global spread and appeal. Most recently SRCP have been making their mystical magical soulful productions for Erykah Badu. Serving as her associate producers, they wrote, appeared, and produced on seven of the tracks from her critically acclaimed 2008 New Amerykah album. She returns the favor with a guest appearance on “Dirty Beauty” on Nuclear Evolution. Other collaborators that SRCP have worked with include Pharoahe Monche (on the massive “Agent Orange” track), John Legend, Kanye West, Andre 3000, Black Eyed Peas, Talib Kweli, Dilla, Fonzworth Bentley, Heavy D, Common, Iggy Pop, Herbie Hancock, Dr. DRE, Jill Scott, and Jurassic 5.
Balancing the call to make music for other people with working as the SRCP unit (and working their solo projects,) has been quite a feat. “We find time because we love doing this,” explains Husayn. “We are drawn closer to Nirvana, with each release and creative statement. As for our own stuff, it is all an extension of our will to create things from out of the mind,” he adds.
Helping SRCP realize their potential on Nuclear Evolution is a crew of friends and co-conspirators that includes legends like soul chanteuse Erykah Badu, and saxophonist Gary Bartz with his quartet. The album also features up-and-coming talent like Debi Nova, Rozzie Daime, Noni Lamar, Erika Rose, Brook D’leau of J*Davey, Joseph Liemberg, Fenetta Lowe & Jimetta Rose. Easy to like, but difficult to pigeon hole, the album oozes equal parts jazz, soul, pop, funk, and hip-hop. The eclectic collection of productions bounces from the sticky and bubbly soul of “Gemini’s Rising”, to the string laden bump of “He Say She Say,” and the outer-worldly bossa nova of “Spacefruit.”
Sticking together through more than their fair share of highs and lows, the group channeled their collective energies to create what is arguably their best work to date. “There is something powerful about the Number 3. A triangle is architectures most structurally sound shape,” explains Keith. “And there is a sense of brotherhood among us, the strong sense of purpose we all share in our will to cleanse the proverbial palette of music!” he adds. Having won the BBC Radio 1s’ “John Peel Play More Jazz Award” at the end of 2004, the band embarked on a fruitful relationship with mega star Kanye West. They signed a major recording deal with his GOOD Music Label, then distributed by Sony. Their plan was to release their Black Fuzz album through Sony Urban and follow-up with the Ubiquity album. However, as with the best made plans (especially those involving major labels,) Black Fuzz has yet to be released. After much pressure from fans and executives at Babygrande records, SRCP opted to release a one-off project entitled The Hollywood Recordings, an album of new and previously released material. In 2006 rumors floated on the internet that the group had disbanded. An exclusive interview with Shafiq Husayn, on okayplayer.com, squashed that rumor. The band is alive and well, and they still maintain a strong relationship with West, recently appearing in a video with him, Andre 3000, and Fonzworth Bentley.
Outside of SRCP, the members are all working on multiple projects. Taz Arnold has a fashion company, called ti$a, working on collections/collaborations with Kanye West’s Pastelle Clothing line. Shafiq Husayn is working on a full-length album called Shafiq En’ A-Free-Ka, plus new albums for Erykah Badu, Bilal, and Sleepy Brown. Om’Mas Keith is currently executive producing and writing for P. Diddy’s upcoming album, and will co-star in a major network reality television show. He’s also been serving as MD for rapper Jim Jones, lecturing with the Red Bull Music Academy, managing fresh musical talent, and pursuing his acting/voice-over career. “As always, overseeing The SA-RA family