Hard rhyme: there’s no substitute for it. Hard rhyme is the backbone of all the hip-hop classics, and it’s the one element of the genre that can never be faked or obscured. Either you’ve got what it takes to ride the beat and deliver lyrics with skill and conviction, or you don’t – and a real rap fan can tell the difference between a master and a pretender in a few bars. Shaheed and DJ Supreme make music that’s as kinetic and intoxicating as anybody’s, but they’ll never try to get over on sound alone. They know that to take their place among the legends, they’ve got to bring the verses. And they always do.
They call it The Art Of Throwing Darts, and that’s an apt metaphor for their talents, and maybe their identities, too. They’re sharp, pointed, incisive, and maybe a little dangerous, and they travel toward their targets with unswerving velocity. Shaheed pens the words and crafts the hooks, and Supreme supplies the beats, and together, they’ve made themselves cornerstones of Birmingham, Alabama’s underrated and multifaceted hip-hop scene. Multiple tours supporting the like-minded Jurassic 5 have introduced the duo’s music to thousands; irresistible songs like “Appreciate Life” are bound to impress thousands more.
Shaheed and DJ Supreme are joined on “Appreciate Life” by another top-flight lyricist with a traditionalist aesthetic – Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli founding member Chali 2na, whose relaxed baritone delivery provides a perfect counterpoint to the pair’s urgent verses. And just in case the chemistry between the three artists isn’t immediately apparent from the song itself (it is), it’s on brilliant display in Jordan Sullivan’s delightful video. The three artists make the most of their screen time, radiating respect for each other, enthusiasm for Supreme’s beat, and pure love for hip-hop.