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The Immersion: How Hip-Hop & Hasan Salamm Delivered My SoulPosted by Dharmic X on 10/18/12 | Filed under Opinion, The Immersion
Strangely enough, it wasn’t frequent collaborator and my favorite MC Immortal Technique who put me onto New Jersey-based rapper Hasan Salaam. Instead, I found Hasan’s music while I was browsing through AllHipHop one day. The song on the website’s music section featured Maya Azucena, whose powerful voice left me mesmerized on “Crimes of the Heart.”
“Deliver My Soul” was motivational. It allowed me to look back at the way I had been living for those last six months and identify the pitfalls that surrounded that lifestyle with a clairvoyance that I should have had as things were transpiring. It was as if Hasan was offering personal advice to me through his own mistakes, saying, “Most of time spent living in sin, hard to look past the present when the future is grim.” The featured rapper, another MC from Jersey named Majesty, delivered a brooding and grim second verse, the imagery crystal clear in my mind. Perhaps it was the cold and raw Boston wind of November and December that augmented the effect.
And yet the message of the song isn’t to simply wallow in hopeless sorrow. On the last verse, Hasan and Majesty go back-and-forth, suggesting the way out of life’s complex maze littered with turbulence. They collectively sum it up well: “Finally through the search see the nature of the beast now, script life like 16s but live it like a freestyle.” And of course, nothing is more lifting than Azucena’s voice, especially as she comes through to end the record on an appropriate note. By the end of the song, I was left understanding that while “Shaitan will come for us all,” I had the opportunity to make the most out of my future to redeem my past transgressions.
I took the lessons of “Delivery My Soul” very seriously, refusing to turn back towards the temptation for “quick cash” and focusing instead on those long-term building blocks that would eventually lead to the opportunities that I get presented with these days. While I became focused on my education (albeit, I never did fully apply myself to the school system at any level), it was hip-hop that served as my guiding beacon through the trenches.
(DJ Dharmic X is the host of This Culture Never Dies, 11PM-1AM Saturday on wnyu.org. Fans and haters, can follow him on Twitter and check him out on Facebook.)
See Also: The Immersion: Remembering When Ludacris Was Rap’s “MVP”