Boston rap duo, Blak Madeen chases 2016’s incredibly potent Supreme Aftermath LP with a brand new EP that brilliantly balances their hopes and frustrations with some help from underground legends, such as Edo. G, Divine Styler, and Grand Daddy I.U.
Across the seven tracks One Second to Pray, proud Muslim rappers Al-J and Yusuf Abdul-Mateen dream better days for their people while venting on the ongoing treatment that has left so many them in pain. It’s this multifaceted approach that keeps the music and lyricism fresh; it’s something you can nod along to if you like, but you can also sit with it and come away with potentially life-changing insights.
This is particularly true on the EP’s stand out “Men Peace,” which features a fired-up Edo. G, as well as the previously released single “Industry Doors,” which features Cali stalwart West Coast Kam. On the latter, you hear as Al, Yusuf, and Kam drop knowledge about the realities underground Hip-Hop (not all comic books and cartoons). “We don’t fit in any particular clique, and we don’t try to,” Yusuf explains. “We just enjoy making the music, and putting it ourselves. Whatever happens, happens.”
That pragmatic, yet positive, outlook is what keeps One Second to Pray so endearing even in its harder moments, such as on the two Arcitype-produced tracks “On the Edge” and “The Sum Up.” The latter may have a darker Boom bap feel to it, but it’s all delivered through a hopeful lens. “Praying for the better, me and my alliance,” Yusuf raps, while on the hook, Al-J notes their refusal to dumb down their lyrics.
Their refusal to make “easier” music is important not just for Blak Madeen, but for their listeners, too. Everyone benefits when they push themselves to find knowledge and, ultimately, the truth. “A wise man once said ‘feel your pulse, and once you feel your pulse, stay on it,’” Al-J says his group’s placement in the hip-hop world. “I never looked back. In the case Blak Madeen, it was written before we were even a thought.”
In promotion One Second to Pray, the duo is pleased to share the Myster DL ( ILL Mannered Films) directed visuals for, “Men Peace” featuring Roxbury’s own, Edo G., with production supplied by Billy Loman (Slaine, Termanology, CRIMEAPPLE, REKS). One Second to Pray is now available through all digital retailers and streaming platforms, Rhyme Dawah.