Monthly Archives: August 2009

Muhsinah: Music Should Always Sound This GOOD

I love music.  Various songs that i’ve encountered in my journey through life document specific memories, feelings, and events. Although i do not like every song i hear, every artist, or every form of music, i appreciate them all for what they’ve taught me about myself and the world around me.

There are certain songs and artists that occupy a special place in my being. The most recent artist to takeover that special place is the beautiful song genius, Muhsinah. I first remember learning about her in January 2009 when i listened to the Foreign Exchange’s “Day Keeper.” I was immediately enraptured by the way her beautiful voice danced effortlessly between each drum beat and musical note that helped make up the melody. That along with the uniqueness of the music and quality of the production, captured me instantly. Then i listened to Muhsinah’s “That Day” (produced by Oddisee — DMV stand up!), which confirmed for me that there are more talented, soulful musicians than i generally acknowledge.

“That Day” explores  the part of people which questions the prospects of finding love. Portraying love as an amorphous and unpredictable element of human being, Muhsinah doesn’t dwell for three verses on its physical manifestations.  Instead she discusses how life-changing it can be. She reminds us that We can find love in no one in particular while discovering it within the liberated territory of one’s self and the collective human spirit.  Simply put, it is complicated and involves more than just the characters whom We imagine will sweep us off our feet. What a powerful way to think about love.

So, as i listen to my favorite Hip Hop and R&B radio station, i wonder why Muhsinah, along with Vikter Duplaix, J-Live, Invincible, Mos Def, and a host of other incredible artists, aren’t in regular rotation. Why can’t i and my fellow music lovers hear “That Day” as much as We hear “Every Girl” and “LOL Smiley Face.” These aren’t necessarily bad songs. But they do portray certain ideas that are grossly overrepresented in U.S. popular culture and often run counter to the inspirational, healing messages in “That Day.”

Just imagine if your favorite Hip Hop and R&B radio station played Muhsinah’s songs as much as they do Lil Wayne’s. Wouldn’t it be great if more Anthony Hamiltons and Jazmine Sullivans got such exposure? They definitely help balance the scales between the aforementioned overrepresented ideas and thoughts that challenge us to think more holistically about life and love.

I personally like being provoked to think in new ways. I especially like recieving such challenges through music that is as beautifully composed as “That Day.” Muhsinah and other artists like her provide me with great milestones in my journey through time and physical terrain, and i wish that i could say that about every song i hear on my favorite Hip Hop and R&B radio station. For now i can’t. But maybe that day will soon come.

Secret Crush

i hv 2 use these few words carefully
so that they can convey to u what
i’m forbidden to verbalize directly
because i know that i will never get the chance 2
fully experience u

we can’t press palms together, fingers intertwined
there won’t b n e time
2 learn the distinct feel of each other’s lips
sense each other’s funk & fragrance
interests, joys, pains i am convinced
that this moment is fleeting
just like my feelings are supposed to b
since this is just a crush

& crushes don’t last, right?

of course not
they pass quicker than the words i let spill from my pen
in an attempt to purge my self of this brief thirst

they won’t last, these feelings
that’s what i tell my self when
ur smile invades my mind’s i
that and other lies like
i got so & so
i can’t let this crush compromise my commitment
& you hv him &
i prefer darker sistas n e way
w/ hair like – yeah

and like that crushes usually pass away

so 2 me ur too tall & skinny
too short too
big but so fine
i mean
i just won’t ever take the time to really dig deep into your mind
and get to know u

since crushes don’t last
they don’t

so i won’t even waste my breath
reciting to u this poem
even though ur hearing it now
seeing it as it peaks cautiously from behind my eyes
noticing its repressed agonizing moan in my otherwise
peace-filled, joyful tone
or viewing it scribbled messily in the corners of my smile
quickly
because

this crush can’t last I hope
that it will soon
fade away

Building (for Stacy)

sharing my soul with you is difficult
because the fabric fastened together
into the quilt called self
may be damaged
when in the possession of hands
too sharp too careless

but i overcome difficulty and share my soul with you
because our friendship builds
trust yields beauty
that mitigates the risk of trauma