May 30, 2009
What isn’t there to say about the talented D.C. native, Muhsinah? Muhsinah Abdul-Karim aka Muhsinah has risen from all things including direction in career to weight loss. Muhsinah started out singing background for Bilal Salaam and is pinned with crews such as Low Budget (Dj Roddy Rod, Kev Brown, and Peter Rosenberg) to name a few.For those who didn’t know, Muhsinah is a very skilled piano player and studied classical music. Nowadays, you will find Muhsinah playing keys for Chicago bred rapper Common (Common Sense). Muhsinah has also been featured on projects such as Stacy Epps‘s “The Awakening” and Foreign Exchange‘s “Leave it All Behind”. Whether she is in a band or producing for others, Muhsinah still has a sound of her own that can’t be simply put into one category. She fuses modern day sounds such as hip-hop and electronic with classical,jazz,and R&B. Whether the lyrics may seem unclear and non-existent at times, Muhsinah still manages to draw you in with her uncanny and subtle voice. In 2008, Muhsinah released her album Oscillations:Sine which is the first of 2 parts. Oscillations:Triangle,which features all new music and production from producers Slimkat78, Mike Slott, Exile,and herself, has been pushed back until further notice. If you rewind back to 2005, Muhsinah released the Oscillations EP which featured songs such as “Millions” which you would find on her Daybreak and Daybreak 2.0 release. The Oscillations: Sine is Muhsinah‘s album that combines Daybreak,Daybreak 2.0, and Prelude. All which can be bought separately. Daybreak was released first as download music and then she released Daybreak 2.0 which added bonus tracks. It was also sold physically and digitally. Prelude was a Japanese release and had a few tracks on it that wasn’t on Daybreak or Daybreak 2.0. You have to love the genius behind her team (Rxlngr pronounced Rock Slinger).
What I enjoyed about Oscillations is that it was very diverse in sound yet it was so Muhsinah. Drums are hip-hop and sometimes unorthodox. Melodies are flowing and mysterious. Energy is incredible. You can’t turn your ipod,stereo,or computer off when hearing Muhsinah‘s sound.
“A.M” starts the journey off with a obvious tribute to Alice Coltrane with a synthetic harp sound and piano riffs. In a away, it represents an awakening of some sort.
Slowly creeping in after is “Construction” her hit song, in my opinion, which I feel is very universal. The beginning of Oscillations are all favorites.
“Discovery” is a very non-defying song that I can not place. It just has a feel good sound about it and her voice haunts it superbly.
“Once Again“, another favorite of mine, is so beautiful and pacy. Muhsinah‘s vocals easily shined in this piece. Her harmonies that sat in the back of this track help to bring this song to life. The music is very simple and I was told uses a sample from John Coltrane‘s “Love Supreme“.
“Gogh” is one of those songs that I would say has limited lyrics but the music intrigues you. It’s very different. It has a electronic feel with off rhythms. It also features that dark and slowed down vocal along with the reversed vocal she puts in just about all her tracks. This is when it starts to get repetitive. That would be the most annoying thing I get out of her music,but other than that….
“Outsource” has a rock feel with some,again,off rhythms.Yet, Muhsinah pulls it off with her vocal arrangements.
Same can also be said about “Yiy” which features Muhsinah‘s piano talent. It is very reminiscent of Radiohead and is executed beautifully.
“Mine” is a song that I can honestly tell you, I had no idea what was going on at first. It seemed all over the place and would probably be my least favorite; however, she manages to again make you pay attention with her vocals even though we could do without the not-so-good rap verse.
“Billieclub” which features soul singer Wayna, is easily a favorite and is named after a wooden club used by police in the UK during the Victorian Era. The song talks of police brutality and the words are very strong.
Muhsinah is a very talented individual and I must say, she has come a very long way. She has much more to give and a lot more growing that is in process.
Head Nod Scale
2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.
3=Well, there was the single.
4=If it were a hand in spades there’s “two and a possible”.
5=It’s a “good” album. Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.
6=Really Good Project. Has the “Rewind Factor” more than once.
7=The number of completion. Great Album. Instant Classic.