One of my absolute favorite artists in music today is none other than New York City’s Mamadou.. In just the last few month’s the Artist/Poet/Rapper/Singer-Songwriter has seen a huge spike in popularity. However, this rise has been entirely on his terms. For instance, there is his TikTok alone.. which has accumulated over 100,000 followers.. as a byproduct of Mamadou. reciting beautiful poems recorded over stunning visual content. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of connecting with Mamadou. to gain a little more introspection. Below is our conversation..
JS) It’s been almost one month since “Tread Slowly.” How has the reception been?
M) Alhamdulillah, I think that my biggest inspiration is to connect with as many souls as possible. The short film….and to see how that visual and sonic component interacted symbiotically to build with the world. The song was originally based on a dream in relation to my grandmother (this angel) taking me away from the material world, into a more transcendent and divine state. This is what keeps me going.
JS) What was this dream that came from your Grandmother?
M) She was speaking in Bambara (Mali native tongue).. prayer rugs, bringing me closer to the ocean. Themes and hues related to nature. I’m scared, because I don’t know where this takes me. We come together in unison in prayer to get closer to the divine.
JS) We are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan. What are your thoughts on this?
M) I grew up you know just kind of immersed in Islam (both parents grew up in Islam), it’s like going to our Quran school, reciting (x4), that was my entry point into the religion. Everyone has their own singular spiritual journey. As I navigate becoming a mature adult, I’m trying to memorize more, read more, the words of the prophet.
JS) What was your upbringing like?
M) Hmm.. So I guess it starts with both of my parents. Y’know? Coming from Mali to Harlem. Raising me and my two siblings. Claiming the American dream. 1st Generation, I think intersectionality and a multitude of different identities. Balancing my native tongue with the vernacular that can be displayed all of Harlem. Jotting down the stories that I get in the household. Just juggling different identities. I was a pretty quiet kid growing up, I didn’t talk too much. I had a lot of energy. But it was a quiet energy. Poetry was my foundation. I started writing poetry in the 7th grade. My 7th grade English teacher Mr. Raysor was pivotal in inspiring me to write.
JS) Musical Influences?
M) Yessir, Pac for sure. Pac was huge growing up. A lot of Malian artists as well – Salif Keita, Sekouba Bambino. Lauryn Hill. Mixtape J Cole, The Days of “Pro Era” Joey Badass (1999) – he’s a kid but he’s doing the same thing all of these older rappers are doing….rhyming at a high level.
JS) Future Plans
Generally I just want to continue, y’know, impact as many people that need my message. Whatever that number may be. In my poetry. In my filmmaking. In my music. And be at peace with that. And specifically, I’m working on the next short film for my single. May-June(ish) tentatively. I know I need to continue to perfect my message. Continue to work on being a student of life. With that, authenticity will continue to come.