Philadelphia based hip hop artist, Kameelah Waheed, grew up with music all around, with world beats, island and tribal vibes coming from inside her Islamic home. MTV meshed with rap blasting from every Philly radio station, while house parties were playing four to the floor and electronica. Her musical denial was the catalyst for her explosion into sound and later her versatility as an artist. This producer, writer and performer has worked within a myriad of styles from neo soul to hip hop, to house, releasing previously on BBE, Rapster Records, and Philly Through My Ear. In 2020 she dropped her highly respectable, ‘Holding On’ on Ramrock Records.
On ‘America the Beautiful’ Kameelah delivers powerful spoken word lyrics, pledging allegiance to the people of America. To the dreamers, the lovers, the thinkers, and the risk takers, at the same time she is questioning how many rights can America change? How many souls must it break? Kameelah skilfully delivers her conscious narrative alongside a rolling hip house beat. Reminiscent of Harlem’s Last Poets who spat lyrics about the 1960s African American civil rights movement, and Gil Scott Herons’ concern on social issues, conveying his message through a fusion of funk, soul, blues and fly lyrical content. This ‘Avant-funk’ is a nod to 80s New York and the Defunkt, Talking Heads, Ze Records sounds coming out of the city at that time. Loaded with talent, the poetry is written by the hand and from the heart of Kameelah Waheed, it is also produced by Kameelah alongside Kelly Murray, with cast of musicians that have worked with the likes of Lauren Hill and the legendary Diana Ross.
Reworks come courtesy of two of the UKs most prolific underground production squads. Black Science Orchestra’s Ashley Beedle heads up North Street West with Jo Wallace and Daren Morris, laying their signature moves and grooves down on the title track with a vocal, instrumental and dub. It’s a homage to composers of vintage US cop show themes – Lalo Schifrin and Quincy Jones, with an undercurrent of ‘street sounds’ and tough, inner city funk, you can almost see the steam coming up through the manhole covers. Production collective of the moment, Bruise, have been enjoying the limelight and quite rightly so, with their ‘Grand Hi’ earmarked by the Guardian, and sync’d by Grand Theft Auto. Christian Campbell works his magic again on both vocal and instrumental, taking the title track to a whole other level of euphoric and joyous orchestral house. It’s both dark and uplifting with those shades of D town techno with soul we’ve all come to love from Bruise.