Over the course of the five year history of this site, Brooklyn-based emcee Shabaam Sahdeeq has been a mainstay artist, as I’ve written about him a number of times over the years. What you may not know is that Sahdeeq has had a 20 year career in hip-hop — and considering that hip-hop has long been such a fickle genre, lasting more than 5 years is considered something quite an accomplishment; so 20 years would likely be akin to a lifetime and a half.
Naturally, lasting more than two decades in a fickle business and an increasingly unstable music industry says something about your longevity and about the passion you’d likely have for music; however, it shouldn’t be surprising that there would be some within hip-hop that would think that once an artist reaches their late 30s and early 40s that they’d likely be starting to slow down — and enter a period of irrelevance, followed by slow and painful senescence. As some of the genre’s beloved and influential artists have started to age, they’ve been actively refusing to go quietly into the good night, and Shadeeq has added himself to that list with the release of Modern Artillery, which was released last month through Dutch/Swedish label, Elite Fleet Records.
“Get It,” the EP’s first single was produced by Dutch producer Big Ape and features Sahdeeq spitting fiery verses full of braggadocio and pertinent advice for future artists while priming folks for what to expect on this EP and future projects — pure hip-hop comprised of emcees spitting bars and lyrics over dope beats. Speaking of production, Big Ape’s production consists of bright, brassy bells paired with a chopped up guitar sample backed by tweeter and wooter rattling, boom-bap beats and some incredible scratching throughout. The track channels hip-hop’s golden age, complete with a street banging grittiness.
The recently released official video, directed by Ed Jansen features men, recognizing that life is fraught with difficult and complex conflict — the most common being: do you continue slaving away at a 9-to-5 to barely make ends meet? Or do you do whatever you have to, even if it’s illegal to get rich — and get rich, right now. And perhaps most important, are you willing to accept the consequences of your decisions and actions, including being taken away from your family and loved ones? Although many of us wouldn’t risk the long arm of the law to survive, it brings up a feeling that should be familiar, especially if you’re desperately trying to survive with your dignity and sense of self intact.