Shafiq Husayn and the A Free Ka Ensemble
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Shafiq Husayn and the A Free Ka Ensemble

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"Video Blog--Shafiq Husayn KLMU Interview"

http://www.beatsncrates.com/2009/12/exclusive-shafiq-rehearsal-kxlu-interview/ - Beats N. Crates


"Shafiq En A Free Ka"

Shafiq Husayn has made various statements about his art which on the surface are self-contradictory. On the one hand he urges his listeners always to be forward-thinking; on the other he summons a long train of ancestry. While the uninitiated might see plays on the words 'Free', 'Africa' or 'Freak' in the title, the Kemetic term 'A-Free-Ka' actually means infinity, and boundlessness. But his solo debut is also grounded right here on earth.

"Sa ra" is another Kemetic term, meaning son of the sun or child of the cosmos. As a member of Sa-Ra Creative Partners and a musical collaborator in his own right, Shafiq has musical connections direct and indirect with the likes of J Dilla, Kurupt, Questlove, Platinum Pied Pipers, N*E*R*D, James Poyser, Jill Scott, Talib Qweli, Jay Electronica, and not least Erykah Badu, who has said he is the only person she will allow to write lyrics for her. And then of course you could say he makes other kinds of musical connections, direct and indirect, with a diaspora of artists from Duke Ellington through Herbie Hancock and Fela Kuti right up to relative newcomers like Fatima, Jimetta Rose and Noni Limar, all of whom feature here.

Where Sa-Ra's past two albums have been slick, often slurry bass-weighted hip hop affairs filled with tales of drugs, clubs, freaky sex, dirty cops and sometimes even love, there's a tendency on En A-Free-Ka toward double-time rhythms and more ethereal content. It's a difference of nuance rather than overall ethos. It's as if the Sa-Ra universe was expanding.

This is the album's weakness as well as its strength. It belongs very much to the hip hop world that spawned it — there will be people who don't find 'In A-Free-Ka' new enough. But a throwaway world's increasing demand for newness shouldn't (and doesn't) really matter. More interesting is the way Shafiq confronts and articulates the space-time contradictions between his forebears and the future, ancestry and the new breed, timelessness and moving on, and just how well he achieves his espoused goals of transcendence, love, peace and justice. - The Quietus


"En A free Ka review"

Producer Shafiq Husayn has a hip hop discography that stretches all the way back to his work on Ice T’s 1991 classic O.G. Original Gangsta.

Recently he has collaborated with his Sa Ra Creative Partners crew to write songs in a more mellow vein for the Erykah Badu’s contemporary classic New Amerykah Part One.

His first full length, En’A Free Ka features American soul hero Bilal and UK newcomer Fatima, who makes a telling vocal contribution to the yearning Lil Girl.

Husayn’s downbeat, rhythmically complex tunes have an off-kilter soulfulness which means they are sure to appeal to fans of the late, great J Dilla or new school heroes like Paul White.
- The Telegraph (UK)


"Shafiq En A Free Ka Music Review"

Most hip-hop artists shout out major U.S. cities on their albums, but Shafiq Husayn covers far more extensive territory. "Senegal, Portugal, let's go! Mexico and Japan, Kosovo and Sudan, U.S. and Pakistan!," he sings on the song "U.N. Plan." As one-third of the progressive hip-hop outfit Sa-Ra and a collaborator on Erykah Badu's album "New Amerykah: Part One," Husayn has long cultivated an ear for the bold and experimental. On his latest release, "Shafiq En' A-Free-Ka," he continues the sonic innovation, culling from influences as diverse as Afrobeat and drum'n'bass and bearing traces of Timbaland (the reggae-tinged track "Nirvana") and André 3000 (the psychedelic "Major Heavy"). When French lyrics and an accordion appear on the smooth "Le' Star" and then dissolve into a cacophony of synths, it's not jarring at all—it's just another trip into Husayn's wonderfully open musical mind.
- The Hollywood Reporter


"Top Album List for 2009"

Shafiq En A Free Ka voted by AllMusic.com as one of the top albums for 2009. - AllMusic.com


"Billboard Magazine Album Review"

Most hip-hop artists shout out major U.S. cities on their albums, but Shafiq Husayn convers far more extensive territory. "Senegal, Portugal, let's go! Mexico and Japan, Kosovo and Sudan, U.S. and Pakistan!," he sings on the song "U.N. Plan." As one-third of the progressive hip-hop outfit Sa-Ra and a collaborator on Erykah Badu's album "New Amerykah: Part One," Husayn has long cultivated an ear for the bold and experimental. On his latest release, "Shafiq En' A-Free-Ka," he continues the sonic innovation, culling from influences as diverse as Afrobeat and drum'n'bass and bearing traces of Timbaland (the reggae-tinged track "Nirvana") and Andre 3000 (the psycadelic "Major Heavy"). When French lyrics and an accordion appear on the smooth "Le' Star" and then dissolve into a cacophony of synths, it's not jarring at all-it's just another trip into Husayn's wonderfully open musical mind. - Billboard.com


Discography

Shafiq En A Free Ka (LP, released 10/09)
Lil' Girl (Released Single, 8/09)
Nirvana (EP, released 10/09)
Several songs from the LP have been released on radio in both Europe and US and are streaming online.

For more information and videos please see the below links:

Lil Girl Music Video:
http://www.vimeo.com/7779696

Music Downloads:
www.myspace.com/leossun

Album Purchase:
www.itunes.apple.com/us/album/en-a-free-ka-ep/id333134764

Photos

Bio

Shafiq Husayn has been one of the most innovative musical architects in Los Angeles in recent years. His personal discography spans decades, from Ice T to King Tee to recent additions like Bilal and Erykah Badu. A true Master Teacher, Shafiq often expounds on larger themes through his music. Whether he is drawing inspiration from his Moorish ancestry, contemplations on nationalism and sovereignty or a record he's sampling, Shafiq Husayn's art is layered and meaningful. His long awaited solo debut, Shafiq En' A Free-Ka was released on Plug Research this past October.