SHAHEED and DJ SUPREME
This is the sound of a city awakening from a long slumber. A low end theory come to life deep in the heart of Dixie. And the music of a new era in underground hip-hop in the Magic City.
After a long period of quiet gestation that has seen the development of a well informed local audience along with some of the most innovative MC’s and DJ’s to ever come from Alabama, Birmingham has slowly but surely given birth to a small but potent enclave of local hip-hop artists who can proudly stand toe-to-toe with some of the best in the country. Bolstered in no small part by the dynamic local music scene that has blossomed around the city’s world renowned rock club the Bottletree- who’s open-ended booking policies for the best in 21st Century Sounds has provided for a wealth of healthy competition and inspiration among local musicians- there seems to be a new air of confidence when it comes to battling for wider recognition (both literally AND figuratively) outside of the city limits.
And there is no better example of what Birmingham has to offer- in terms of both style and substance- than the dope beats and dexterous rhymes of Shaheed and DJ Supreme. As the minds behind some of the most cerebral lines and breakbeats this side of the Mason-Dixon, the duo’s third eye lockstep flow has gained them notoriety well outside of the Magic City echo chamber and has seen them share the stage with the likes of Raekwon the Chef, Akil the MC from Jurassic 5, J-Ro from the Alkoholiks, and other breakout artists from across Alabama such as G-Side and local labelmates the Green Seed. As an integral part of the ever-expanding musical family at Communicating Vessels, the group has helped fulfill the label’s wide-eyed vision for recording and promoting the most cutting edge artists both here at home and across the nation, and have helped put the label at the forefront of Birmingham’s rebirth on the national music scene.
As the lead off single to their upcoming debut lp Knowledge Rhythm and Understanding, “Right Now” stands as a declaration of independence from Birmingham’s musical past, as well as a proclamation of its musical future. Which is saying something. Demanding to be heard, hoping to be respected, and dreaming of a wider audience, it is here…it is right…and it is now.
As Sun Ra might say, “See the future. And be it.”
Which is exactly what they’ve done.
Lee Shook “The Audiovore”
Photo by Tig Knight