Shaheed & DJ Supreme
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Shaheed & DJ Supreme

Birmingham, Alabama, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Birmingham, Alabama, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
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“Champions of Truth” is the new single from Birmingham, Ala. boom-bap purveyors Shaheed and DJ Supreme. The rapper-producer duo harks back to the good ol’ days of hip-hop when sharp bars and soulful, breaks-driven loops were what’s hot. This might make you think these cats are on some throwback tip, and you’d be right to assume that. But “Champions of Truth” is that timeless, unapologetic brand of hip-hop with nods to the past (peep the Chronic and Doggystyle references). There’s also a slick guest appearance by Jurassic 5‘s Akil the MC. - Potholes In My Blog


Shaheed & DJ Supreme hail from Birmingham, Alabama and go proving that you can't pre-judge or pigeonhole what Southern Rap is or sounds like. Hip-Hop is Hip-Hop regardless of region. This duo has been making thought provoking Hip-Hop music since 2007's Health, Wealth & Knowledge Of Self and all is a listen to their 3rd effort Knowledge, Rhythm & Understanding to realize that they haven't lost a step and their music is as fresh as ever. Guest appearances come courtesy of Akil The MC (Jurassic 5), Adib (Unseen Ummah), R-Tist (The Green Seed) and Angela King. You can acquire Shaheed & DJ Supreme excellent effort Knowledge, Rhythm & Understanding from iTunes, Amazon, UGHH or purchase it directly from Communicating Vessels. Yet another album I'd recommend that they won't... - hiphopwired.com


Communicating Vessels album, Knowledge, Rhythm, and Understanding; Shaheed and Supreme keep the wisdom old school with a new and expanding consciousness, found on their previous works, Health Wealth & Knowledge of Self, and the remix disc, Scholar Warrior. "Champions" pays tribute and toasts the good people and pride of Birmingham, with a unique glimpse into the Magic City that many are just now discovering.

Shaheed gives his blessing, and welcomes Jurassic 5's Akil the MC to elevate their meeting with sincere meaning and purpose. Akil gives it his all, knuckled-up rhymes of humility and thanks that dovetail with Shaheed's meditations of prayer, verse, and PMA. DJ Supreme flexes his encyclopedic production skills featured on the reg via his programming and selections on Birmingham's Hot 107.7, WUHT-FM. Supreme exalts and upholds the salute to enlightenment and heroes on "Champions of Truth" with classic backpacked beats and samples. Packing the backbeat with fixings from 90s Bay Area hip hop, 80s New York states of mind and a sweet Southern sensibility; Shaheed keeps the vibe and rhyme upbeat with the microphone love affair alive. "My friendship with my mic is more than just platonic, display this on your iPod, Sony, Panasonic…now you can play this in your car, truck, or your jeep, I have dreams about the mic and I don't even sleep". The 2ThreeFive video celebrates the jovial and lively culture of Birmingham, AL in a love note to the city that brings DJs, emcees, locals, and fans all together.

We had the pleasure of taking a tour of the Birmingham, Alabama scene circuits with Shaheed and DJ Supreme (Malone) in the following exclusive interview.

Birmingham, AL often gets looked over, but what is the truth of the city's scenes and heart that you all champion?

Supreme: The truth is Birmingham gets looked over because it’s not looked at as a place where music is the culture. However, Birmingham has a deep musical background on record dating back to Erskine Hawkins and Sun Ra. As far as hip hop, Birmingham has had a problem breaking through to the world but that’s all changed now. Thanks to social media, the grassroots word-of-mouth style of promotion has been turned way up. Another testament to how going the independent route can be a benefit.

Shaheed: The truth of the city’s scene is that it is constantly growing and growing and there are a lot of talented groups and musicians here and it has always been that way.

"Champions of Truth" is like a testament to your talents, and the video feels like a love note to B-ham. What are some of the aspects of wisdom and understanding that you all would like your listeners and viewers to walk away with?

Supreme: The credit belongs to Made in the Magic City. The video was directed by this talented group of visionaries and they did an awesome job. Our intention is to leave a legacy that far surpasses our generation and the only way we know to do that is through music and dawah. That’s where the understanding comes in. Shaheed and DJ Supreme just didn’t come about by happenstance. This is a well oiled machine and we’ve put in work for a lot of years.

Shaheed: The song represents how we try to go about life and our art. "Champions of Truth" is a title from a Book I studied with my teachers so it has a special meaning. The song is how we are champions of this hip hop art and we are trying our best to preserve what the goodness of this culture, and the video [from] Made In The Magic City just put their whole being into it and we are so thankful for that.

Tell us about the shared visions of your LP, Knowledge, Rhythm, and Understanding.

Supreme: We understood that this project had to be slightly different than our previous works. We combed through cases of beats before settling on the ones considered for this album. If it wasn’t in the cases then I’d make something on the spot and send it right to Shaheed. Nine out of ten he’ll already have some rhymes for it. If not then by the next day he’ll already have a song for it.

Shaheed: On this album we wanted to pay respects to the legends of hip hop who inspired us. DJ Supreme's beat making on this album compliments a time in hip hop when it was at it’s highest. Lyrically I just tried to come with an aggressive approach that still represented what we do and also pay respect to the leaders of the art.

What else is happening within the Communicating Vessels family?

Supreme: As far as Shaheed and DJ Supreme, we’re working on the next album with an EP to drop in between time. We’re also excited about the new album by The Green Seed.

Shaheed: We are already gearing up to do another album so that is where we are up to…

What are Green Seed up to these days?

Supreme: They’re about to drop a new album called Drapetomania. I assure you it’s amazing!

Shaheed: The Green Seed are getting ready to drop their masterpiece on the world…..

What else has been poppin' lately at The Bottletree? Any good shows there as of late worth noting?

Supreme: We recently did a show there January 11 with Great American Breakdown, Agent Cooper, Bands with Managers and Dirty Lungs. There was a packed crowd but as the night progressed we noticed the crowd started to thin out. We were headlining so immediately I’m thinking man the crowd will be tired or gone by the time we hit. Surprisingly there was a great number of people who stayed and we still had a big crowd.

Between the two of you(Shaheed & Supreme), how do you guys make the most between your synergy of production, beat and rhyme?

Supreme: Our work ethic is awesome and turnaround time on the music is impeccable. We treat every live performance like a rehearsal. For the record, Shaheed and I don’t have planned rehearsals. What you see at the show is what you get. Each show we do is like a rehearsal, real talk. I thank Allah everyday for putting us together. We read each other and give hand signals as musicians often do.

Shaheed: DJ Supreme makes the beat I write the rhymes and we understand that what we both do is important and we make sure we give our best and our brotherhood has grown as a result of that and I am very happy to have a brother and a master beat maker on this journey with me.

Having played together before with J5's Akil the MC, how did you all make the collab of 'Champions' happen?

Shaheed: Akil and I have been brothers and friends for a long time he has always supported us and helped us in any way he could. I just let him know I needed him for the album and he got right on it.

Parting thoughts on the future of the Alabama underground's rise to the top?

Supreme: Alabama underground’s problem is the same as Detroit, Philly, and even New York. Local radio used to be the pulse of the street. Now with the closing of the doors to most local programming and the opening of more syndicated programming, the prospect of local exposure becomes dissonant. As a result, local scenes don’t get to cultivate and grow. There are some exceptions to the rule. I happen to work in terrestrial radio for many years and I enjoy it to the fullest. I host the Classic Hip Hop Show on Hot 107.7, WUHT-FM.

Shaheed: The underground scene is where the hungriest artists are. We are very fortunate that a local internet radio station called Vulcanite Radio that play our music regularly as well as play other local artists as well, and we appreciate that. Locally, nationally and internationally we have been getting a lot of love since the album came out and we are going to continue to stay consistent and hard working… - IMPOSE


Listed among the 17 singles ughh.com staff are listening to right now. Added 8/31/13. - UGHH.com


Ghettoblaster caught up with DJ Supreme before a run of late summer dates to celebrate the albums August 20 release. This is what he said about it.

When did you begin writing the material for your most recent album?

Writing and production took about two years.

What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?

Actually the songs were not troublesome at all. We did all the preproduction at my house, plus Shaheed is so brilliant. He has notebooks of rhymes and hooks. So we generally know how a song will be arranged before each session.

Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?

There’s a song called “Keep Climbing” on the album that I initially produced for a remix for another artist. So I synced up their singing with the music, mixed it and sent it back to them. I thought the song fit perfectly, but they didn’t like it. So I just used that beat for our album and Shaheed always liked the beat so when I told him it was up for grabs he already had a song for it.

Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?

Yes. We have Akil The MC from Jurassic 5 on “Champions of Truth”, Adib from Unseen Ummah and our label mate R-Tist from The Green Seed on “Boom It In Ya Jeep”, and we have Angie King singing on “Keep Climbing”.

Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

I produced the album in its entirety.

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

This album is more aggressive than our previous releases. The emphasis is put on skills and word play. The beats are the icing on the cake. I think we’ve put together a well oiled machine with this album.

Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?


We’ve actually been performing “Right Now” for about year before we released it as a single. We just recently added “Champions of Truth”, “Saliva”, and “Like This” to our arsenal because they get a very positive response. - GHETTOBLASTER


Discography

Health Wealth & Knowledge of Self

Scholar Warrior (The Remix Album)

Photos

Bio

Communicating Vessels recording artists Shaheed and DJ Supreme are one of hip hops most consistent groups. They hail from Birmingham, Alabama, but you wont find them categorized among the typical dirty south artists. They are, in fact, seen as practitioners of traditional boom-bap hip hop.

The duo has an impressive track record to authenticate their expertise. Theyve released two critically acclaimed LPs, have shared stages with Raekwon, Atmoshpere, and Brother Ali, and their albums feature the guest appearances from artists such as Akil the MC (of Jurassic 5).

2013 boasted the release of their much anticipated third LP, Knowledge, Rhythm, and Understanding. In this album, Shaheeds skillful lyrical agility and DJ Supremes soulful production will leave listeners perfectly inspired. In, Champions Of Truth, featuring Akil the MC, its understood that to Shaheed, DJ Supreme, and many in their cohort, if its not Knowledge, Rhythm, and Understanding, it might not be as important as perceived.
In tracks like, Right Now, listeners become enlightened by the groups lifestyle and current plans to leave a lasting impression.

The group toured regionally since their 2013 release and travelled twice to the UK in the past year to tour with Jurassic 5 and late night with Akil The MC. Look for them in a town near you!

Band Members