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New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Hip Hop




"Ahmen - Timeout review"

A non-profit leader by day and a hip-hop artist by night, Ahmen is New York City’s self-proclaimed ‘Batman of Social Impact’. A deft leader of the #Troublemaker movement, he’s an artist who has found his voice through messages of disrupting the system and rejecting the status quo. It’s a path that has been trodden by many MC’s in the past, but few have made the impact that Ahmen has. Already, the rising star has connected with audiences around the world, been identified as a ‘rising star’ by New York Nonprofit Media, who named Ahmen as one of their 2015 ’40 Under 40’, while the Human Services Council called him a ‘next generation leader’.

The spirit of his music is hinged upon the passion of his message, constantly pushing forward to advocate for much-needed change. His 2016 release ‘If Not Now, Then When’ was heralded by Indie Hip Hop magazine as “an inspirational message of hope that people, when united, can work together to solve the racial and social conflict in modern America”, and now with his new mixtape, ‘Timeout’, Ahmen is looking to further his reach.

A fifteen track collection of Ahmen’s work, ‘Timeout’ is audacious, passionate, and powerful, breaking into your consciousness with ‘Right Now’, a track that announces itself in grand form and piggybacks off Van Halen’s own track of the same name. Throughout ‘Timeout’ there is a somewhat subtle theme of Ahmen repurposing other artists’ work, with names like Sia also tagged in a remix towards the end. It’s an interesting gimmick, lining his messages with relatable sounds to make them more palatable and impactful, and it’s something you have to salute him for.

On the rest of the piece, Ahmen does move forward under his own steam, laying down passionate streams of brilliantly self-aware lyrics over some decent instrumentals and relentless percussion. It’s a hard job to seamlessly blend activism with entertainment, but with ‘Timeout’, Ahmen seems to have found a way. It’s anthems like ‘Countdown’ and ‘Left Wing’ (that incidentally features an opening passage from Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul) that really hammers the point home.

In his own words, Ahmen has said that ‘Timeout’ could be the ultimate catalyst for social change, and it’s very possible that if it got into the hands of the right person, he could be very, very right. - Broken 8 Records

"Exclusive Interview: Ahmen"

"I’m in a constant state of preparation. I pay attention to everything around me: the news headlines, the stories of success and struggles of the people around me, the random forms of inspiration that might come from everyday interactions. I pride myself in performing for and with people, not at them, which means that my performance needs to reflect the energy of myself, the people in the room, and the world as a whole." - ThisIs50


Hip Hop Artist and Activist Ahmen has used the world as his platform to evoke change and bring awareness to all of the ills present in today’s society. Ahmen’s new single “Our Time” talks to the listener about not only what’s going on, but the song also serves as an inspiration to the listener. “Our Time” means it our time to make a difference, make a change and do it with expectancy. The video makes the old cliche “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” visible to the viewer. - Eshe Magazine

"Be Somebody- Share this New Music Video “Our Time” From Positive Hip Hop Artist “Ahmen”"

They say it’s far harder to frown than it is to smile and we are dam convinced it’s a hell of a lot harder to write music and and poetry with a positive message than a negative one – especially in light of current events. That said, positive hip hop artist Ahmen must be one of the strongest men to come up on the music scene in quiet a while. The track and new music video “Our Time,” offers an inspirational message of hope that people, when united, can work together to solve racial and social conflict in modern America. - Coming Up Mag

"Ahmen Lets Us Know It’s “Our Time”"

With everything that is happening in society Ahmen is looking past it to the positive. The message I am getting from this is don’t let the few make us slid backwards. All of us need to overcome and bring the love back for each and everyone of us…because it is “Our Time”! - Comic Pop Library


Rather than glorify the typical rap subjects of money, fame and women, New York rapper Ahmen is breaking the themes of today’s mainstream hip hop. An artist and nonprofit activist, the rapper obviously hopes that his music will combat the socio-economic disparities that is so prevalent in the minds of Americans today. His new music video “Our Time” continues to spread the same message that has built his fledgling career. With the flow of later years Eminem, his delivery illustrates inspiration, motivation, and strength needed to overcome obstacles that most of us face every day. - True Too

"Ahmen – Our Time f. Jos J (Video)"

Ahmen released a music video for his inspirational song, “Our Time,” featuring intense vocals from Jos J. The song was written by Ahmen and Jos J and it has a powerful message of bringing people together to fix the social conflicts in America such as racism. - The College Dropouts


An inspirational message of hope that people, when united, can work together to solve the racial and social conflict in modern America. Shout out to Ahmen for delivering such a powerful video for all of indie Hip Hop! - Indie Hip Hop

"Ahmen – “Our Time” Ft. Jos J (Video)"

It’s a inspirational video that gives hope to people, encouraging them to unite and work together to solve racial and social conflict in modern America. Much respect the MC Ahmen for spreading some real positive underground Hip Hop! - Underground Hip Hop Blog

"Positive Rapper Ahmen Debuts New Single, Calls For Empowerment"

Hip-Hop Activist Ahmen Finds Hope in Unity as America Struggles Against Racism, Inequality - Illuminati2G

"NEW MUSIC SwurvRadio Featured Artist Ahmen Releases “Our Time”"

SwurvRadio featured artist Ahmen recently released a song titled “Our Time”. Ahmen offers passionate and inspiring lyricism with a confident flow throughout the 3 verses of the track. - SwurvRadio

"Is It Enough To Win A Championship? by Ahmen"

Amidst a constellation of transcendent athletes who set records and collect championships, Muhammad Ali was the brightest of stars. In a moment where we pay respect to Ali’s legacy, we have to realize the greatest truth of the light he shed on us: Ali’s impact outside of the ring was even greater than his impact inside the ring. - SwurvRadio

"The Big Idea For 2016: Service by Ahmen"

In evaluating the 2016 presidential candidates – recognizing that one of them will be tasked with the same challenge that confronted our group – we realized that a major idea was notably absent from their rhetoric and campaign promises. It’s an idea that inspires, connects and lifts all of us. It’s the idea that propels our greatest movements and established America as the world’s greatest beacon of hope. - Triple Pundit

"Ahmen speaking and performing at Frank 2016"

Ahmen’s role as the Batman of Social Impact was in full force at frank, one of the nation’s premiere conferences for social change. Check out his renowned talk, “The Troublemaker Imperative” - Frank

"Ahmen speaking at INBOUND 2015 in Boston"

Ahmen will be delivering a Bold Talk at INBOUND 2015 in Boston this September! INBOUND fuels the passion that drives the most innovative and successful business leaders of our time.

INBOUND's purpose is to provide the inspiration, education, and connections you need to transform your business. This September, we will host thousands of marketing and sales professionals from almost every industry imaginable and from all corners of the globe at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. In 2014, we had 10,000+ attendees from all around the world and we're excited to be bigger than ever this year.

Through inspiring keynotes, innovative talks, educational breakouts, hands-on lessons, and tons of networking, you will learn how the INBOUND experience, and especially our content, is truly remarkable. Past keynote speakers included Arianna Huffington, Seth Godin, Nate Silver, and Scott Harrison. - INBOUND 2015

"Ahmen speaking at MCON 2015 in Chicago"

Ahmen is speaking at MCON 2015 in Chicago on June 24th! Year after year, MCON proves to be an unforgettable experience for every online and in-person attendee. Participants come from across the country to discover how the next generation is influencing their world and the way they operate within in. In that spirit, MCON 2015 will focus on the concept of influence. Specifically, we will explore the power of influence through art, media business and place. - MCON 2015

"Interview with HipHopOnDeck.com"

New Jersey-based rapper Ahmen presents “Headphones”, the Hollywood Legend-produced single from Hero Ball, his debut album featuring production from Taliband, Hollywood Legend, Diamond Style, Trill, Scarecrow and Ear 2 Tha Beat. The son of Sri Lankan immigrants, Ahmen was born in Minneapolis and raised in Queens, Alaska, Atlanta, Washington, and India. Raplyzer.com, a site centered around an algorithmic program that gauges the average length of a rap or hip-hop star’s multi-syllable rhymes (the key to the “dopest flows,” Flocabulary says) has ranked Ahmen #3 in the world, just behind the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck in the top slot. Independent A&R company Taxi featured “Headphones” as a song of the month in January 2015. Regarding Hero Ball, Ahmen says “Music is best when the listener hears their life reflected in it. Today, there’s far too much of the status quo, and not enough of someone stepping up to take a shot with the game on the line. That’s what Hero Ball is about: being daring enough to connect with everyday people in ways that are exciting and maybe even hated. That’s what being a leader in the 4th quarter is all about.” Of the “Headphones” single Ahmen says “Far too often, our potential is limited by society’s pressures: generational poverty, homophobia, racism, conflict, and more. We have the ability to achieve the unthinkable and defy odds, and sometimes it requires escape. ‘Headphones’ represents more than a fashion piece – it’s a method of escape so we can fly away to greater heights.” Hero Ball is out now, and Ahmen is working on a new mixtape set to drop in May.

How do you feel about the direction hiphop is going in?

The beauty of hip-hop is that it doesn't have a single direction. (Don't worry, I'm not going to digress into a Jaden Smith-style explanation of the complex universe.) Hip-hop has always been a voice of the people, and we have countless voices. That's why you have guys like Drake, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar at the top of the charts, yet they have three completely different styles. That said, some voices haven't been represented enough, and that's a real problem. I'm hearing a lot of "I have money and you don't" and "I hustle blah blah blah", but what about the real everyday people and their struggles? Those are the voices I try to represent - the regular kid trying to get out of the projects, the average office worker who is miserable at his job, the girl who knows a brighter future is out there. There's a struggle and pursuit of greater happiness that's happening everyday - it's time for hip-hop to reflect that reality.

What song of yours do you recommend people listen to first and why?

“Troublemaker”. Taking a cue from the last question, I want to say "it depends on where you're coming from". With this song - which is equally powerful when bumping in a club, in your car, or during your commute on the subway - you realize you have the power to be a troublemaker for the systems that surround us. This is a song for the people who know things aren't quite right, but they have the potential to do something groundbreaking and amazing, no matter what other people say. We're looking at the status quo in the face and laughing right back at it. This is a song for the rebels and the people who aren't rebels yet, but with a nudge or even a punch in the gut, will get there and achieve something memorable.

What’s your process for writing songs?

Every Ahmen song is a project. Sometimes I'll have a concept in my mind for weeks, and during that time, I'll collect ideas, stories, and other forms of inspiration. Those concepts come from a lot of places, but they all have to stand up to two tests: are they true to me, and are they true to the everyday person I'm connecting with. By the time I sit down to write, I have a pretty good sense of where that song is going to go and how it's going to connect with the listener. At that point, I'm incredibly meticulous. I'm intentional with everything I do, to the point where I might scrutinize a bar for what seems like an eternity. When I'm done, I go back to my original questions - have I represented myself properly, in terms of skill, sound, and impact, and have I represented the concept/audience properly? When the answers are yes, it's time to rock the world!

What have been some of the reactions to your “Headphones” single?

I'm blown away by the positive response to “Headphones”. It works because the content connects with you and the sound moves you. I've heard from people across the country, from white collar workers to students to kids, that Headphones reflects how they feel when they're driving toward a goal and need to block out the noise and naysayers. “Headphones” doesn't sound like your average "conscious" or "storytelling" track. Both hip-hop and rock ‘n roll heads have told me they love the song, and that's what my music is all about - going across barriers to engage and inspire real people of all backgrounds.

What are your plans for the next year?

It's time for some new music! Last year was huge - I performed in a dozen shows across NYC and my music was featured in countless blogs. I have more stories to tell, I've met more people who are joining me on the journey, and there are several cynics who need to be put in their place. I'm planning to release a new project this spring and I'm excited to see where we can go. I'm also going to continue building the #Troublemaker brand. It's a mindset that is shared by millions, and together, we're going to revolutionize the world. If you want to collaborate, hit me up! - HipHopOnDeck.com

""How Trouble Becomes Legend" -Ahmen's article in Medium"

"You’re not supposed to do that.

Is there a more powerful statement in our society?

From classrooms to boardrooms, it’s a statement sung by choirs that are comprised of defenders of “the system”. Far too often, they drown out the voices of the visionaries: the people who are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs and take steps to achieve a better future.

If you want to endure and achieve greatness, you can’t just be better than the next guy/girl. In a time where our senses are bombarded by advertising, technology, and our own personal struggles (insert movie trailer voice here), we’re in need of Trouble. That’s what shakes us out of the status quo and catalyzes true change. And even though it’s an uncertain path, it is still a journey that we need to embark on when there is so much in this world that needs to be fixed." - Medium

"Interview with Def!nition of Fresh"

New Jersey-based rapper Ahmen presents “Headphones”, the Hollywood Legend-produced single from Hero Ball, his debut album featuring production from Taliband, Hollywood Legend, Diamond Style, Trill, Scarecrow and Ear 2 Tha Beat. The son of Sri Lankan immigrants, Ahmen was born in Minneapolis and raised in Queens, Alaska, Atlanta, Washington, and India. Raplyzer.com, a site centered around an algorithmic program that gauges the average length of a rap or hip-hop star’s multi-syllable rhymes (the key to the “dopest flows,” Flocabulary says) has ranked Ahmen #3 in the world, just behind the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck in the top slot. Independent A&R company Taxi featured “Headphones” as a song of the month in January 2015. Regarding Hero Ball, Ahmen says “Music is best when the listener hears their life reflected in it. Today, there’s far too much of the status quo, and not enough of someone stepping up to take a shot with the game on the line. That’s what Hero Ball is about: being daring enough to connect with everyday people in ways that are exciting and maybe even hated. That’s what being a leader in the 4th quarter is all about.” Of the “Headphones” single Ahmen says “Far too often, our potential is limited by society’s pressures: generational poverty, homophobia, racism, conflict, and more. We have the ability to achieve the unthinkable and defy odds, and sometimes it requires escape. ‘Headphones’ represents more than a fashion piece – it’s a method of escape so we can fly away to greater heights.” Hero Ball is out now, and Ahmen is working on a new mixtape set to drop in May.

What made you decide to become a rapper?

Hip-hop has always been a constant voice in my life, from helping me through tough times to giving me the power to express my emotions and beliefs. It's ingrained in my life, and it doesn't just show up when I'm on the stage or in the booth. Even in my day job as a nonprofit leader, my swagger and perspective comes from hip-hop in many ways. Several years ago, I came the point where I realized that, if I put in the work, I could become truly great as an MC. That's where I grasped control of my voice and the sound, and now we're on an amazing journey.

What’s the view of the Sri Lankan community towards you being a rapper? Pros and cons?

Sri Lankan men aren't supposed to be rappers! We're supposed to be engineers, doctors, etc. and simply support our families, that's it. I've been a #Troublemaker my entire life - I refused to follow the predefined path. I could've been in the corporate world and made a lot of money, but that's not the way to shake up the system. My parents came to the country with virtually nothing in their pockets, and that's an experience I try to convey through my music. In addition, I realize I need to create opportunity, because through opportunity, you can maximize your potential. The experience of my parents as poor immigrants from Sri Lanka guided me to introduce trouble into the system, and that's why I'm a rapper/Sri Lankan/(insert arbitrary label) unlike any other.

How has Raplyzer’s #3 ranking of you affected your career? Do you think it’s accurate?

It fuels me. As I said, several years ago, I decided to become great. It's taken a lot of work - countless songs and efforts to perfect my craft. Today, I'm a truly unique and groundbreaking MC... but I'm still getting better. In terms of Raplyzer's accuracy, most rappers don't put forth my level of effort and attention to detail. I don't waste words. I don't waste flows. Everything is on purpose...and that's why I've been recognized at a level among some of the greats in hip-hop.

What’s your favorite non-rap album of all time and why?

Thriller by Michael Jackson. How do you start describing that album? It is innovative, eclectic, mesmerizing, inspiring...perhaps the best word to describe Thriller is perfect. If we're going to talk about mastering a craft, look no further than Michael Jackson. People get caught up with applauding natural abilities far too often. Nobody worked as hard as Michael Jackson. He shaped what was arguably the greatest singing voice of his generation, practically invented a dance style, and meticulously planned every aspect of his shows. He created music that you can feel, and I'm proud to follow in his footsteps as an artist and performer.

What’s your next album going to be like?

I call myself the #Troublemaker in Chief, and the reality is we need more trouble in this world. The systems dictating education, finance, health, relationships, and more are not helping us to maximize ourselves, so it's time to shake them up. I don't believe in speaking at people or about people. I'm speaking with people, and doing it with a sound that is fresh and captures minds. My next album is going to capture the emotions of our times - the pursuit of reaching greatness in the face of the status quo, discovering our voices, fighting back against oppression of all forms, and finding our way in this world. We're going on this ride together! - Def!inition of Fresh

"Interview at BRBRCK.com"

I met Ahmen at a set at Ella Lounge a while back, and there was an immediate mutual respect between the two of us. Since that time, my man A's been on a TEAR promoting his most excellent Hero Ball LP by rocking venues all over New York and New Jersey, and I've had the honor to step in and perform our debut collaboration track, Kaiju on a number of occasions. The big homey sits down to get deep on songwriting, and sends up a call-to-action for all you musical souls out there...

1. Do you have a songwriting method, or is it different every time?

All of my songs are driven by purpose. I need to have a clear sense of the message I want to convey and what I want to achieve. To get to that point, I'll think about a song for a week (or multiple weeks) before I even sit down to write it. I'll contemplate the story, the structure, the metaphors, and more. That doesn't mean it all just flies by when I finally put pen to paper. As a matter of fact, I might even be a slower writer now than when I first started. I'm more meticulous now and don't want to waste a single word. Every flow and every lyric is on purpose, and that's what creates my unique Ahmen sound.

2. Any advice for aspiring songwriters?

First off, no shortcuts. Think about how many cadences, metaphors, words, etc. suffer from Repetitive Stress Syndrome in hip hop (or any other style of music, for that matter). That's why music has gone stale. If you want to create something memorable, you have to deviate from the easy route. Second, find yourself. Outside of hip-hop, my day job involves working with youth in the Bronx, Queens, Harlem, and Brooklyn. I frequently run into aspiring songwriters, yet I'm saddened to hear so many of them create the same ol' stuff. Their stories are diverse and have the potential to be powerful, but their music succumbs to the pressures of conformity. Share your true story with the world!

3. What are your feelings on collaborations?

I LOVE collaborations. It pushes me as an artist to up my game, creates access to new audiences, and most importantly, it opens the door to magical synergy like the worldshaking "Kaiju". There's greater power in collaborations than thousands-to-millions of MCs just trying to go at it solo.

4. What’s your favorite song? Favorite Album? Why?

Well that's easy...Troublemaker (song) and Hero Ball (album) by me. OK enough of the shameless self promotion. My favorite song and album depend on my mood. The song could be anywhere from Sam Cooke "A Change Is Gonna Come" to Nas "One Mic". For the favorite album, if I had to choose one, gotta go with the Greatest Artist Ever: Michael Jackson "Thriller".

5. What’s your latest project/wanna shill anything?

On the note of collaboration, that's my current focus. I'm trying to work with as many artists as possible right now, and will pivot to a new project this year. If you're up for making some memorable music together, holla at me!

You can reach Ahmen via Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and http://www.ahmen.us - BRBRCK.com

"When I Was Up"

Fresh Chops from New Jersey-based rapper Ahmen today as he streams "When I Was Up", the Tellingbeatz-produced single taken from Hero Ball, his debut album out now.

The son of Sri Lankan immigrants, Ahmen was born in Minneapolis and raised in Queens, Alaska, Atlanta, Washington, and India - all of which can be found in subtle influences on this belting debut with it's prominent vocal and soul influenced beats.

"Music is best when the listener hears their life reflected in it" explains Ahmen of the album "Today, there's far too much of the status quo, and not enough of someone stepping up to take a shot with the game on the line. That's what Hero Ball is about: being daring enough to connect with people in ways that are exciting and maybe even hated."

Seemingly criminally unknown at the moment, we'd be surprised if he didn't make some waves with this super-chill summer evening number. - Glasswerk

"When You Hear Truth"

Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
I’ve lived across the U.S., from west coast to east coast. With those moves comes a variety of influences and exposures. I’ve seen lower class and upper class. I’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes fight against adversity to achieve their dreams, and I’ve gone through the same experience. Along the way, I learned that the best music represents who we are as people, and what we’re thinking about on a day-to-day basis. And when I say “we”, I’m not just talking about rappers – I’m talking about blue collar workers, college students, people in the corporate world, and everyone in between.

That’s the MC side, the other side is performing. I love being on the stage, and taken notes from so many amazing performers through my life, from U2 to Jay-Z to the Jabbawockeez (yup, I dance) to Diddy.

Tell us more about the current song you are promoting to everyone.
I’ve been making music for nearly a decade with two aims in mind: honestly represent myself and the people in our country, and satisfy my love for music and connecting with people through performing. “When You Hear Truth” is my letter of intent, my mantra, and my statement of purpose. It’s about fighting back against the status quo, and I looked to my own life story and to others who have been equally ambitious & stubborn along their paths (like Malcolm X, Batman, and Kobe Bryant). My goal? Whenever you hear something that’s real, something that is truth, all you’ve gotta say is Ahmen.

What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see?
I’m hoping to reach as many people as possible through shows and the web. I’m proud of the work that I have to showcase, and now, it’s a matter of finding more people who might find a piece of themselves in my music. From there, let’s build a relationship and see what happens.

Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
I’m making music for the people and because I love it. The problem is so many hip-hop stages are reserved for people who want to shell out hundreds of dollars for “showcases” with an opportunity to get signed. Let’s be honest – those showcase promoters collect a ridiculous amount of money and it’s very rare that anyone gets a deal out of those events. And to make it worse, it creates a competitive atmosphere that takes away from the feel that we all want in a venue. When I’m on the mic and look out to the crowd, I’m trying to get people to raise their hands with me, not trying to cut their throat for some A&R. But hey – if I can partner with a label and maintain my integrity (and wallet), I’m not arguing.

What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
My first album just wasn’t true enough to who I am, and that was partially because I wasn’t good enough. Hip-hop is an art and a science, and too many people either think that it comes naturally or you’re just good enough to never improve. I don’t agree with that – I can always be better as an MC and performer (and even as a marketer of my music), and my first album helped me to realize that I’ve got a way to go. The current album on my site (www.ahmen.us) is a much better representation of who I am and my skill level.

What are some things artists need to be careful of?
“Be yourself” is cliche, and true. What I’d say is don’t be afraid to take risks. When I make music, I don’t necessarily say, “hmmm, I’m so sick that I can get away with a falsetto hook that sounds like Justin Timberlake”. I say, “I’m going to write a song that critiques mainstream hip-hop, and a lot of people might not like that, but that’s what I believe and I’ll do it anyway”. We, as hip-hop artists, have to be willing to challenge the norm. That will create the golden age of hip-hop that we’ve been waiting for.

What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
In addition to what I just said, let’s stay connected. Let’s network. Let’s perform together at shows and collab on tracks. Trust me, we’ll all be better off if we can bring our talents and bases together to create a new wave of hip-hop music. Reach out to me.

What are the best ways to sell your products as an artist?
Haha I have no idea. Here’s some evidence to how much I love music – I’m deep in debt on the artist side. Hopefully I’ll break even eventually.

What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
Doing shows. I love performing, and I’ve been fortunate to get some people moving and vibing at my shows. Going forward, I’m definitely going to leverage my website and social media to keep people in the loop. - WWS Magazine

"DXclusive: Ahmen & Janani Saara Stay Positive In "We Choose Love""

Ahmen is calling for our world to unite in order to fix the broken system. He explains, “The pressure to succumb to fear and division has never been greater – but that pressure won’t prevail. From coast to coast, country to country, people are rising up and overcoming our personal and societal challenges through love. This song is about the moments where we choose love over hate, and the collective power we are generating.” - HipHopDX

"DXclusive: Ahmen & Janani Saara Stay Positive In "We Choose Love""

HipHopDX Exclusive Premiere: Positive Hip Hop artist Ahmen delivers his new single and lyric video titled “We Choose Love,” featuring Janani Saara. The track serves as the second single off his forthcoming album If not now then when, available August 16.

Ahmen is calling for our world to unite in order to fix the broken system. He explains, “The pressure to succumb to fear and division has never been greater – but that pressure won’t prevail. From coast to coast, country to country, people are rising up and overcoming our personal and societal challenges through love. This song is about the moments where we choose love over hate, and the collective power we are generating.”

Ahmen’s previous track “Our Time” is in heavy rotation at ESPN, providing the backbeat to SportsCenter’s NFL Training Camp coverage throughout the month of August. - HipHopDX

"Ahmen interviewed by Mr. Throwback Thursday"

When you get to meet someone and interview them…..and they make such an impression that you name the entire episode after them? That’s saying something. When that person is a “new school” artist…that’s even a bigger deal. This Throwback Thursday, we introduce you to Ahmen. You’re welcome. - Mr. Throwback Thursday

"Interview with Ahmen, The Troublemaker In Chief"

Ahmen is a New York-based MC who uses his platform to inspire, impact and engage. He’s been identified as a rising star by New York Nonprofit Media, being named one of their 2015 40 Under 40. If you attended the frank gathering in Gainesville in 2016, you’ll surely remember his talk The Troublemaker Imperative: vimeo.com/156776521. - Changeville

"We Need to Send More Leaders to Prison"

Check out Ahmen's first column in the Huffington Post - Huffington Post

"Ahmen – Timeout – Album Review"

I’m just gonna go ahead and say it…cause that’s what I do – starting any record with a Van Halen sample is definitely taking a risk. Chances are, if anyone out there still remembers them, consequently they get to also remember how old they’ve become and how “Right Now” was actually ‘a long damn time ago, as of now.’ Still…if they were someone we were all looking forward to coming back…well…hmm…no…my mind can’t actually accept that as even a theoretical possibility; half of the time when they DO mount a reunion, even half of the band of present or past members hate the idea of Van Halen being back at all.

That being said…when you follow-up your sample from an eighties band trying to hack it in the nineties, you better bring your A-game – and thankfully, rapper Ahmen does. With every hair on my neck standing straight-up on guard after the VH sample of “Right Now” begins the opening track of the same name on Ahmen’s new record, he pulled me onside quickly through insightful messages in his lyricism. In fact…even though I’d consider Van Halen to be one of the worst possible atrocities ever to occur in music personally…this emcee was still able to catch my attention quickly through the power of his words…and it was through this wordsmith’s courage and ability to step up to the plate of leadership that I found myself able to entirely forgive Ahmen for bringing back my childhood fear of Crystal Pepsi.

Sorry kids…you’ll literally have to Google that reference as to why it ties in here.

All hard-times aside, Ahmen displays immediate skill on “Right Now” and more importantly, shines a bright light on the fact that this emcee truly has something to SAY. Those of you that regularly read these pages know that’s what we’re all about here at sleepingbagstudios…I’ve long considered that to be a guiding principle that can decipher and reveal which artists/bands/projects will last…and which ones won’t. Ahmen lands on the right side of that fence immediately, showing he’s not afraid to speak his mind, speak up on behalf of others, and even get downright political. I got much respect for that. “Right Now” shows that as an entertainer, Ahmen understands where to pivot and shift his words on the bars & beats to get the most impact out of his movement and lyrics…as much as I might bag on Van Halen, no, I still wouldn’t deny the fact that “Right Now” was a powerfully moving song and he uses it smartly in this mix to help punctuate the overall point & themes of much of this record’s content. Timeout is almost the opposite word to describe this album’s spirit in many ways…Ahmen’s clearly not one that’s will to sit on the sidelines when the time for action is “Right Now” – this is a call to arms and a wake-up for the people out there to stand up for what they believe and the world they want to live in. Ahmen genuinely uses this sample to his advantage…I’ve given him a hard time about Van Halen, but the truth is, his makes an instant impact with a wise selection that grabs our attention through a familiar sample and then drops knowledge-bomb after knowledge-bomb on us thereafter. The energy is intense, the movements on the mic are precise, confident & powerful – “Right Now” will get you hyped.

Things are about to get even better. “They Don’t Care About Us” has Ahmen going a-cappella with the hook from the Michael Jackson song of the same name in a minimalist atmosphere that demands the emcee steps-up his game big time if it’s going to work. This is where Ahmen comes in. This is where he draws an audible line in the sand quickly on his new record as he displays a sick amount of skill line-after-line as he rhymes through empowering, rhythmic & vivid lyrics that explain in incredible detail how Ahmen views the world today. He gets right into the most important social-issues happening in the world right now from police violence to climate change, personal rights and freedoms…and the immediate threat posed by the direction of the current administration. Ahmen puts it best ‘it’s time to be a trouble maker’ – let the record show, the man is correct. I love the fact that he’s left himself right out there in the mix of this cut…there really is precious little happening in the music aside from a crisp percussion-beat…basically at all times, the star of this track are the words and the message on “They Don’t Care About Us.” When you put this much effort into their flow and that much emphasis on the importance of what’s being said…well…those words SHOULD be the star, shouldn’t they? No joke…you could go into “They Don’t Care About Us” completely ignorant and come out with a genuine education.

“Countdown” – how do I express my love for thee in words? This is an absolute highlight early on in the record that opens-up the accessibility factor a couple degrees wider. Ahmen dials back a bit of the pointedness in the lyricism and creates something a lot more universal here with “Countdown.” For those out there that grew up on real hip-hop from artists like Maestro Fresh Wes or crews like Arrested Development & A Tribe Called Quest – there’s absolutely zero possibility of you not loving this song every bit as much as I did. Ahmen hints of the storm to come in the opening seconds of “Countdown” and proceeds to unleash a category-5 force of verbal gymnastics that would land him a gold medal and a trip to the podium against the rest of the emcees out there. He speeds-up his flow here insanely well – but most importantly, EVERY word is still as clear as it can possibly be – and even though the lyricism here lightens-up somewhat, the knowledge, imagery and imagination he puts into them never does. Taking it to a seriously clever, aggressive style of real Hip-Hop…technically this emcee is showing just how flawless he can be in the thick of the atmosphere and flow, delivering maximum entertainment through every syllable. Ahmen is a SMART rapper – he understands it’s just as important to inject character and personality into the mic as it is to put in cohesive words that make a statement overall. “Countdown” is only a couple record scratches short of being a completely old-school style Hip-Hop jam – bottom line is there’s a widespread appeal to this particular cut that everyone is likely to dig on.

Like…okay…by this point on the record I’ve already been sold on the skills and talent of Ahmen – this cat clearly knows what he’s here on earth to accomplish…and he’s dominating this record with confidence. Humble confidence mind you – he’s not over the top like so many other rappers out there, he’s passing on the knowledge to the people like a good leader should – but also not afraid to remind you that he’s here to be number one in the process. “Want It” speaks to that completely. Not only does it give you what’s likely the best insight into the mindset and mentality of the emcee in question, but somehow Ahmen finds a way to continually raise the standards for this record track-after-track, with “Want It” surpassing expectations yet again. MASSIVELY entertaining track here, the music is hitting just as hard through an electrifying beat smartly laced with wicked electro-sounds and backing vocals that satisfy like a Snickers bar. You can hear the hunger in Ahmen as he attacks the mic here; “Want It” is a highlight example of what I’m constantly whining about when I’m desperately seeking out vocalists to CONNECT with their words…you can HEAR that Ahmen eats, breathes, sleeps and LIVES these words he’s spittin’ on “Want It.” He puts it into a whole new gear on “Want It” with a seriously vibrant beat that gives him all the room to pivot and shift off the wild energy in the music, leaving him wide-open to slam dunk his words, intentions and ambitions all over the defending emcees out there that think they can lyrically-ball like Ahmen does. They can’t. This guy shows what it’s like to be at top of your game on Timeout and he’s done it right from the drop of track ONE, never letting off the gas for a moment from there on.

“In Any Way” is a really well constructed and interesting cut…likely one on the record that will hold up longer than some of the others over time, but likely one that will also make its impact over time rather than immediately as the energy that’s been boiling on this record simmers for a moment. Featuring Devin Gatsby James – they trade bars on the mic here in a verbal debate that sounds just as much like a conversation between a person and their own conscience. Rad right? You’ll hear the smart way this track is put together lyrically…and you’ll also hear the themes of Ahmen’s real mission come back into the spotlight here. An emcee determined to make change “In Any Way” – these two detail the struggle of the grind and how easy the flipside of life could potentially be…and why it’s so important to travel upon the path of which they’ve chosen instead. Dig the haunting atmosphere in the music and the eerie amount of space that it leaves for these emcees to do their thang; together they nail this one tightly. I think coming after “Want It,” it’s likely that it’s going to have to fight harder for attention from the people out there…but when it comes to performance, execution and entertainment, really “In Any Way” is every bit as powerful. You can hear the genuine substance and communication in the lyricism…and ultimately, there’s so much being said here that’s worth going back to listen to again and again that it will continually lead people back to this cut to absorb it more & more.

Like many a great emcee, many a great mixtape out there, Ahmen begins to insert interludes into Timeout to further the messages and ambitions of this album. Going spoken-word style on “Lit I” he discusses the importance of culture, food and family and the relationship that exists between them, also between each other. In terms of flow for the record…I might have actually switched this first interlude with “In Any Way” from just before…I think that might have allowed “In Any Way” to make a stronger first impression, if that makes sense. An interlude is naturally going to dial back the energy on a record to communicate its message in 99.9% of cases out there…so if your choice is between doing that or doing it through the music, I think the interlude might actually be more effective, then bring the music back slowly through a cut like “In Any Way” and let it all progress from there once again. Don’t get me wrong Ahmen, that’s definitely a trivial & arguable point to make about the album flow that is almost hardly worth mentioning brother…but let’s face it, you haven’t really left me with much to complain about. Anyhow – when it comes to the interlude itself, “Lit I” is honestly a rad inclusion…I like the way it sounds, I like that you can hear it’s LIVE, I like the way Ahmen communicates his stories and experiences. All very sincere, very real and very well intentioned – the ‘Lit’ series continues on in parts II & III later on in Timeout, providing many more details to this three-part story.

“Left Wing” is damn brilliant. I really dig the contrast between the music, message and lyrics here. Ahmen’s much more progressive than the “Left Wing” currently is or SHOULD be – and a lot of this track speaks to that, especially in the hook that says clearly ‘I ain’t no left wing – I’m the last one left.’ Set against a haunting beat, mood and atmosphere…you can take that all at face-value here I believe…I’m pretty sure that Ahmen is taking what you’d almost expect to be supportive of the “Left Wing” and boldly pointing out the flaws in the system of their school of thought and current direction. Change takes action – Ahmen understands that; a lot of his ideals would certainly line-up with the “Left Wing” – don’t get it twisted…the difference between him and most is that he’s willing to fight for what he believes in. He don’t need guns or bombs to accomplish that – the pen is still mightier than the sword. While there might be criticisms of the system in here…ultimately “Left Wing” is meant to stoke the fires inside people to get us all on the same page. He’s unafraid to take a leadership role and challenge that system to become better than it currently is on every level…to me that’s what “Left Wing” was really all about.

One of the record’s biggest highlights comes through one of its most subtle beats on “Illuminate (When I Was Up).” This moment almost sneaks up on you through its sly placement on the record right around when many album’s start to show those signs of cracking – Ahmen raises the stakes here with a brilliant performance of his own on “Illuminate (When I Was Up)” and an incredible guest-appearance from vocal gun-for-hire Breana Marin. In a world that has already completely accepted Beyonce and Rihanna as the ultimate queens of our musical-universe…how in the world Breana Marin doesn’t already have the number-one spot on the charts or a track sitting right beside those titans is like, completely beyond me. She sounds absolutely amazing and completely stunning in her part throughout the hooks of “Illuminate (When I Was Up)” and delivers an entirely memorable moment on Timeout. Ahmen gets super-real with us all here, letting us all take a glimpse of what drives the man behind the music and the experiences that have helped shape him into the man he’s become today. Again, have a listen to the amount of his own character and personality he puts into the way he raps – because it’s that ability to communicate through the flow that speaks just as loud as the words do themselves. Ahmen has an incredible grip on how to make his words establish the impact they deserve…his pacing is brilliant on “Illuminate (When I Was Up)” and the sincerity in his tone really puts the emotion and power into this cut. Combined with that incredible assistance from Breana in the hook…this collaboration scores big and checks every box in the win-column together.

EVERYTHING about “Super 8” is rad AF and anyone that would tell you otherwise is just plain wrong. Mentally, I barely even know where to start with this one…the wicked bass-line and beat combination? The poetic/spoken word/free-flowing thoughts of Ahmen pouring into the mic so smoothly & so effortlessly? Or how about the INSANELY cool, simplified chorus of “Super 8” that has his vocal-hooks sounding damn near exactly like a record scratching? How about the absolutely amazing multiple potential meanings behind the title itself? The commitment and confidence in Ahmen’s work dives straight into its more artistic shape and structure here. While the beat in the music has a hypnotic and repetitive quality to it, it’s all highly effective with the piano bouncing in & out of the spotlight along the way. Adding in the supremely unique flow that Ahmen twists into “Super 8” and you’ve got yourself one of the most diverse & versatile tracks on the entire record. Giving Timeout depth through a departure in sound and a continuous vocal-flow that rips between rap, rhythm, beat-poetry and a freestyle feeling, everything seems like it’s coming frantically and intensely straight off the top of Ahmen’s dome and into the mic…like he’s gotta get the entire contents of his thoughts out onto this track before it’s over. He doesn’t seem to shy away from the challenge so much as rise to it, speed up and really deliver something that’s bound to captivate the minds & ears out there listening. “Super 8” is seriously cool and real respect for the roots of Hip-Hop shining through here.

“Lit II (Interlude)” continues on with showing just how effective Ahmen is in delivering his message through the power of communication and spoken word. Paying tribute to the lessons taught to him by his mother once again, relating the importance of the impact just one person can make to this world – he tells the tale of a young 12 year-old philanthropist and the difference that Ahmen’s mom had made in his life. Ultimately, this cut really gets to the heart of the matter and explains the point extremely well – “Lit II (Interlude)” shows that we never really know the impact we might make on another person, but that if we’re doing what we can to pass on the positivity…there’s a blissful butterfly effect that continues on a chain of connection that can affect so many others by proxy long after those wings of inspiration are flapped for the very first time. Inspiring story and passionately delivered. I’m a huge spoken word fan…so personally this works for me…I can definitely hear an argument that maybe these interludes break up the flow a bit too definitively – but I think that in the end, anyone listening would understand how important these cuts are to what Ahmen is truly trying to communicate & express.

Timeout immediately resumes its energetic electro-groove through the collaboration on “Come At Me” featuring BRBRCK and AK Crystal. Lyrically, on a record like this that hasn’t been afraid to comment on societal issues the entire way through, “Come At Me” still stands-out as one of the best and most direct. These lines are more than just rap – they’re important insight into the heart of the people in America and what that undefeatable spirit really sounds like. “Come At Me” is definitely a statement in itself and a direct challenge from the people to the establishment…that being said, they HAVE been bringing it…it’s my one true hope that words encouraging the unity and strengths between us could find the ears that need to hear the message most…and potentially change some minds with the powerful points that Ahmen and BRBRCK make along the way. AK Crystal does a great job of adding that additional bright-spark with the lightness in her tone…it’s an empowering anthem and a serious reminder that the people will always be the strength of the country, not the other way around.

As the record heads into its 4th quarter – Ahmen continues to get more direct on “Politicians Lie.”

But before we get into that…the award for most brilliant line in a hook and unexpected lyric out of left-field that works way better than you’d ever imagine…goes to…’Double-up on the hugs bitch’ from rapper/Hip-Hop artist Ahmen on “Politicians Lie!” (Crowd goes wild with deserved applause)

For real – that’s an absolutely wicked moment in “Politicians Lie” – but this whole jam is a powerful one overall. Busting out with added edge to his tone on the most lyrically-ferocious track on the record, Ahmen exposes the failings in the political universe and certainly that of the current administration. The unfortunate reality of much of what he’s rapping about…is that these problems have existed for years; they’re all way more in the spotlight now because there’s a president in the White House whose ineptitude is creating more turbulence in America than ever before – but the even the lyrics themselves, as much as they apply to #45 and how they’re currently deconstructing the country, they’re also highly universal in how they point out the way politicians typically & predictably react & respond to social situations of all kinds. Or the way they typically & predictably FAIL to react & respond properly. The string of words and imagery from Ahmen is flawlessly energetic and amped-up…the chorus comes out sounding absolutely MASSIVE…beat is tight and the message is clearly at the forefront – I felt like “Politicians Lie” was another huge win for Ahmen’s music…and also another solid representation of the leadership he possesses. You can hear him stomping and storming on the mic all-over politicians here and ready to lead the battle for truth to prevail over all the careless mistruths cast around in this world.

Man. “Vertigo” is probably the toughest song on the record lyrically and thematically. Featuring The Real DMT ripping up the mic…from the hooks to the verse, this track comments on the unfortunate reality that we’ve still got a hell of a long way to go before we’re all as ‘woke’ as we like to think we are. Nothing I can say to dispute that without lying to you all…I completely agree with this cut’s sentiment. “Vertigo” makes sure to reinforce the fact that those people, those leaders, those that are unafraid to speak-up on behalf of the rest ARE out there…but it certainly also reminds us just how many of us out there are potentially shrinking away from the responsibility we have to join in the battle. The Real DMT lays out the indisputable facts right from the drop on “Vertigo” with a wickedly quick flow that says pretty much everything that needs to be said to understand where they’re coming from. Ahmen steps in mid-track to confirm what The Real DMT was explaining to us, adding more examples of the issues that need to be addressed as a society…and the fact that we need to rally, as a people, to bring about that change. That’s the key…they know it…and deep down inside, we all know it too. I say “Vertigo” is a tough track to take on as a listener because it completely forces you to stare right into the darkness, or even worse, the potential darkness to come, and examine your own role and whether or not you’ve done what you can to stand up for what you believe in & prevent the oncoming disaster of division.

‘Sometimes when you don’t even realize it, you change someone’s life…and then that person goes on to change the world. And changing the world is simpler than you think.’

Absorb those words and think about them for a moment. If there’s ultimately one message on this particular record that I truly believe Ahmen is trying to communicate to us all – I’d have to say that’d be it. Through the powerful summation of the story that began with “Lit I” on the final chapter of “Lit III” – this inspiring tale comes to its conclusion by reminding us that we can, as a people, inspire each other. Busting into a freestyle flow to rip through the final minute of “Lit III” – you can hear from both the spoken word and rap just how fired-up, passionate and committed to spreading positivity and unity that Ahmen truly is. After listening to the entirety of Timeout, I have no doubt whatsoever that this is indeed, a champion that the people need; his music & lyrics make an impact – his cadence and belief in what he says reveal the heart of a lion who’s ready to take on the responsibility of protecting the pride. The best way that Ahmen can do that, is by passing on the knowledge, attitude and enthusiasm right onto us as listeners through his art, words and music – the entire ‘Lit’ series of interludes proves that, finding its most powerful moments through the final chapter, “Lit III (Interlude).”

Much the same could be said for the final track, “Our Time” featuring hooks from Sia on an “Unstoppable Remix” being the perfect conclusion to Timeout from Ahmen. I might have given him a hard time for including Van Halen in the mix early on – but make no mistake, I’ve loved every track along the way, including that one. I don’t think that Ahmen has just made another typical record here – he’s really achieved a perfection in the balance between message and music…and in multiple scenarios along the way, he’s been able to point of the direness of the situation without ever giving up on the people, or on the hope for that better tomorrow. “Our Time” becomes that powerful anthem…if you’re not energized to get out there and make change, unify and take a stand for what’s right in our world from listening to this final cut…well…then they probably just took you off life support & I forgive you…as for the rest of us out there with a pulse and a heartbeat – this last track SHOULD make an impact on you.

I’m impressed by the skills, the thoughtfulness, the sentiment and the intentions just as much as I am the innovative sounds and approach he’s applied to Timeout – I maintain, in my own humble estimation, Ahmen is that champion music so sorely needs right now…a confident voice, powerful inspiration and serious light of hope in what threatens to be an ever-darkening planet. Our world needs heroes like this, more now than it ever has before…I’m definitely stoked to hear Ahmen embracing the power of his words and passing the energy right on to the people – he’s created an insightfully brilliant, highly-relevant and important record with Timeout that advocates strongly for change and demonstrates the unity and strengths that exist between us all at every possible moment.

Find out more from Ahmen’s official website at: http://www.ahmen.us/ - Sleeping Bag Studios

"Ahmen - Timeout review"

As someone who grew up alongside “classic hip hop”, it is not easy to find a modern-day artist to capture my interest. Ahmen is not only one who captured my interest, but one who made me pay attention. From the first time I heard the Troublemaker, I wanted to hear more. It’s refreshing to hear someone who is talking about the world and how to make it better, instead of mumbling about “things”. It is not often that a “new-school” artist gives you that “old-school” feel, but Ahmen IS that artist.

“Timeout” is Ahmen’s arrival. With the flow of a socially conscious Eminem, and the speaking ability of Common, Ahmen makes this album is a must listen. From the opening of the Van Halen featured “Right Now” to the closing of “Our Time”, you will be captivated. Between songs, he mixes in inspirational stories about everything from his mother and peppers, to a 12-year- old philanthropist. “They Don’t Really Care About Us”, an obvious nod to the Michael Jackson track of the same name, is the stand out track on the album. At the end of the album, if you are not asking yourself “Whose fire are you going to light?”, you need to go back and not only LISTEN to the album, but HEAR the album.

At the end of every episode, I tell the world “new school stale, old school fresh”. Ahmen has given me reason to rethink my catchphrase, because this is the freshest thing out there right now. This album is 100% Mr. Throwback Thursday approved. - Mr. TBT

"The Eleven EP review"

Sounds like Ahmen is ready to shake things up here in 2018! It was pretty obvious to me that it wouldn’t take long for this inspired emcee to return after listening to his last record Timeout from 2017…I mean, you just can’t sit around and let talent like this go to waste, you know what I’m saying? If I had half the skills Ahmen had I’d be making a lot more music as opposed to just writing about it, dude’s one of the most confident & professional entertainers you’ll find in the independent Hip-Hop scene.

And believe me when I say…he’s back & sounding bolder than ever on the five new cuts on The Eleven EP. - Sleeping Bag Studios


2008: "Ahmen" (self-titled)
2013: "Hero Ball"



Impactful. Intriguing. Innovative. Inspiring. Few musicians are defined by such a wide variety of positive adjectives. As a nonprofit leader by day and hip-hop MC by night, Ahmen has earned such high accolades for his work within the worlds of entertainment and social activism. Ahmen’s #Troublemaker message of disrupting the system is connecting with audiences from around the world, as evidenced by appearances at conferences such as Embark 2015, INBOUND 2015, and Frank 2016. As a result, Ahmen has been identified as a “Rising Star” by New York Nonprofit Media, who named Ahmen one of their 2015 40 Under 40.

In the spirit of conscious MCs of years past, Ahmen is an avid opponent of the status quo. He has traveled throughout the United States as a performer, activist, and speaker for the sole purpose of stirring things up while advocating for much-needed change. He is astutely aware that “racism lives on through subtle and institutional means. Income inequality is worse than ever. Politicians still fail to respond to the will of the people.” Yet, Ahmen insists that this reality can spark us to take action, unite with those around us, and eventually shake up the system.

In his recent tribute to the now departed Muhammed Ali, Ahmen’s description of the boxer’s legacy sounds very much like a blueprint for how he hopes to address these issues: “Ali fought against racism with the same force that he would deliver a crippling uppercut. He spoke out against the Vietnam War. He influenced the music of the time, giving a newfound sense of purpose to artists of all genres. Perhaps most importantly, he gave a voice and pride to millions of people who felt like helpless and disenfranchised victims of inequality.”

According to an interview with music blog Definition of Fresh, Ahmen’s Sri Lankan roots have greatly impacted both his music and his message: “Sri Lankan men are supposed to be engineers and doctors. I could've been in the corporate world and made a lot of money, but that's definitely not the way to shake up the system. My parents came to the country with nothing in their pockets, and that's an experience I try to convey through my music. The experience of my parents as poor immigrants from Sri Lanka inspired my attempt to sabotage the system.”

Not the typical antagonist, Ahmen’s insights come from a genuinely likeable place. People are drawn to his thoughts and the beats which accompany them. Proof positive is Ahmen’s “Our Time,” a song that represents his ability to tackle the difficult issues of racial and social conflict  in modern America while also providing a renewed sense of hope, conviction, and purpose - all done in a listenable manner. “Our Time” is the first release from Ahmen’s forthcoming album, due out this summer.

More information on Ahmen is available at www.ahmen.us.

Band Members