by Thomas Bedward October 04, 2017
A non-profit leader by day and a hip-hop artist by night, Ahmen is New York City’s self-proclaimed ‘Batman of Social Impact’. A deft leader of the #Troublemaker movement, he’s an artist who has found his voice through messages of disrupting the system and rejecting the status quo. It’s a path that has been trodden by many MC’s in the past, but few have made the impact that Ahmen has. Already, the rising star has connected with audiences around the world, been identified as a ‘rising star’ by New York Nonprofit Media, who named Ahmen as one of their 2015 ’40 Under 40’, while the Human Services Council called him a ‘next-generation leader’.
The spirit of his music is hinged upon the passion of his message, constantly pushing forward to advocate for much-needed change. His 2016 release ‘If Not Now, Then When’ was heralded by Indie Hip Hop magazine as “an inspirational message of hope that people, when united, can work together to solve the racial and social conflict in modern America”, and now with his new mixtape, ‘Timeout’, Ahmen is looking to further his reach.
A fifteen track collection of Ahmen’s work, ‘Timeout’ is audacious, passionate, and powerful, breaking into your consciousness with ‘Right Now’, a track that announces itself in grand form and piggybacks off Van Halen’s own track of the same name. Throughout ‘Timeout’ there is a somewhat subtle theme of Ahmen repurposing other artists’ work, with names like Sia also tagged in a remix towards the end. It’s an interesting gimmick, lining his messages with relatable sounds to make them more palatable and impactful, and it’s something you have to salute him for.
On the rest of the piece, Ahmen does move forward under his own steam, laying down passionate streams of brilliantly self-aware lyrics over some decent instrumentals and relentless percussion. It’s a hard job to seamlessly blend activism with entertainment, but with ‘Timeout’, Ahmen seems to have found a way. It’s anthems like ‘Countdown’ and ‘Left Wing’ (that incidentally features an opening passage from Liam Neeson as Ra's al Ghul) that really hammers the point home.
In his own words, Ahmen has said that ‘Timeout’ could be the ultimate catalyst for social change, and it’s very possible that if it got into the hands of the right person, he could be very, very right.
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