Olympia, WA–When Kareem Hargett looks out his window, he sees a world in need of guidance. He sees a society choosing the wrong leaders; leaders misleading the people; And people misleading their children. He sees schools, churches and family and community role models influencing children less and less, while radio, television, movies and video games influence them more and more. He also sees the power of music to shape the minds of those who listen. So, in his musical alter-ego of Kareem Da Pharaoh (KDP), he speaks to these as well as other more common concerns. In his debut album, “Sumtin’ Wrong”, KDP takes a deeper look at exactly what’s wrong and what it means to those who listen.
“I don’t think today’s rappers really admit the power that they have over their listeners’ minds”, Kareem says. There really are consequences to the things they rap about. If you talk about guns, if you talk about violence, and materialism, then people become followers of that way of thinking. I want people to be leaders, not followers.
But, what qualifies this 28 year-old, Columbia, South Carolina-born, Northwest wordsmith to offer guidance to others? “Everything I write about I’ve experienced,” he says, “So I can say from personal experience that there is a better way. Life is a continuous learning process. If we learn from it and are able to teach others who look up to us, then we’re really creating someting of value.”
Case in point: On one of the albums most unique tracks, entitled “What dat mean?” KDP tells a story through the eyes of a young boy who’s doing the wrong things. As KDP offers his guidance to the boy to “lead, don’t just follow”, the youth’s reply, which speaks to the absence of any real positive influence in his life, says simply, “What dat mean?” Other tracks on the album include “Motivate Me”, about the decision to stay or leave a troubled relationship; “Nobody Really Knows” –which says that though I might be smiling, nobody really knows what I’m really going through except me..And “Welcome to Claymore”, a verbal reprimand against those who rap about nonsense. Nevertheless..KDP’s club bangers that are receiving great response in the Northwest clubs are:”Do Your Damn Thang”, “Give Me My Money”, and “On the Front Line”!!!
But don’t think that this is an album just for thinking. KDP’s distinctive, sample free sound is making heads nod right out the box! He describes it as “flavor with an East Coast style, and a Southern twang all mixed together. It’s got some club, and a lot of strings trumpets, violins….it’s a little different from what else is out there, but it gets ’em in a dancing mood.”
KDP has been touring the Northwest area since 1996. As the opening act for many well-known artists, such as Missy Elliot, Timberland, and Wyclef, KDP, along with partners in time Cory Ayers (aka Moreno C) and The Fed Clic, has established a growing base of fans from Florida to New York, and they all listen and dance to what he’s got to offer. On March 27, KDP will be performing at Club Mei Wei in Olympia and at the Hi-Five in Fife on April 10, 2003. Also, on the following night he will be opening up for Raekwon and Wu-Tang Clan Members at the Northgate Theatre in Seattle.
“I’m not trying to be the hardest or the most thuggish, but just trying to be me, and offer the world the benefit of my experience from a humanistic perspective..along with the fruits of my talent from a musical perspective. I deal with life experiences, day to day things, relationships, you know, life in general, getting up going to work, dealing with all the obstacles. So, everyone can relate in some form or fashion no matter what age. Everyone from high school kids to parents in their fifties; no matter what their cultural or ethnic background, there’s something we all have in common. I’ve found my voice. And it’s human.”
KDP’s Sumtin’ Wrong, an independently released and distributed album will be released in stores early May, but is available on his website at www.HitEmRawRecords.com. KDP will undergo a down south tour beginning in his hometown, Columbia, SC that will branch out to North Carolina, and Georgia. Also, KDP will undergo a west coast tour that extends from California to Canada beginning this Summer, with priority and focus in the Northwest areas.