KAMAUU is a once in a generation artist who has attained the golden ratio of talent and wisdom. He is simply indefinable. An artist, rapper, poet, thinker, and philosopher – the depths of his brain knows no limits and our interview is a testament to that. We believe he has hit an egoless state in which every artist seeks to attain. He is inseparable from his work, and vice versa. This ascension of his can be attributed to his belief that “There’s a certain level of bliss we give ourselves access to when we contribute to something bigger. My point is not necessarily to be a musician but to serve. However, I can do so through music.”
KAMAUU is indeed serving the world through his music. His two latest singles, “BOA” and “MANGO” completely differ in terms of meaning, but both contain high levels of artistry. “BOA” has a clear and concise message of preservation and cultivation of the black family and community. Lyrically and visually, “BOA” will sweep you off your feet, while simultaneously invoking your consciousness to comprehend the message being relayed. The track consists of an intro and outro from one of K Osei Agyeman’s speeches, which sets the tone for “BOA” from the get-go.
“MANGO” on the other hand is quite possibly the healthiest love song I have ever heard. The hit track features Adeline and is a testament to KAMAUU’s wisdom and emblematic of the spiritual heights he has reached. Displaying full maturity in his heart and soul – KAMAUU teaches us what the ultimate form of self-love is and serves as a guide to what we should all aspire to be. Simply put, “MANGO” is beautiful.
LADYGUNN had the privilege of chatting with KAMAUU about his new music and what he hopes for the future of Black America.
How has being born in Washington D.C. influenced your music, specifically in “BOA?”
You know…I’m not sure. I know that we are massively impacted by and ultimately made by our environments. I’m not sure, however, if, at this moment, I could spell the specific effects of being born in DC. I was a loner. Outside of my family, small community, and friend group, I didn’t really engage social environments as much as other children and teens did.
I was living in D.C. this past year and became familiar with the Ujamaa Shule, the oldest Afrikan independent school in the United States. As a former student, how has the Ujamaa Shule helped develop your sense of identity?
Identity is a joke without adequate self-awareness. Ujamaa Shule’s educational system is based on self-awareness. The lie of white supremacy is overridden by the truth that life is supreme and that life is without exclusive hue. Students learn about themselves first because yourself is the only tool you have to interact with this reality. Your history is part of yourself, it is the data and reasoning behind everything that makes you who you are. The reasoning and history behind a thing helps us to understand its function, which helps us better use and achieve higher levels of mastery with it. Effectiveness is tethered to the level of mastery achieved. One can not achieve self-mastery without self-study. One cannot study the self and omit self’s history. So students learn their history, (and other useful subjects; math, science, biology, literature, politics, etc.) as thoroughly as possible so that they understand who they are, where they are, why, and what to do now.
“Fathers and mothers together, formulate the basic structure of any viable society — it is the cornerstone of a resilient community!” – do you believe this is an issue in Black America today? If so, how can it be restored?
One of the first and most effective terrorisms enacted on African Americans, (not exclusively), during and after the transatlantic slave trade was the dismemberment of the family. It is terrorism that continues to this day. I’m not the creative mind of the Universe, so I don’t have absolute answers that are 100% guaranteed to work, no one does, and we shouldn’t trust anyone that masquerades as such. However, I firmly believe, that, since we all come from sexual reproduction and no other process, it is a basic necessity for the survival, health, and growth of any human community. We could all benefit from the harmony of the people that conjure us through that process (reproduction). Therefore I offer raising the importance of unity/harmony between reproductive parents, and protecting it, as a piece of the solution. Furthermore, I advocate cultivating communities in which families who don’t have the luxury of both parents are helped out by the rest of the community in order to fill those voids. How do we do that? Once again, I’m not a cosmic psychic, however, if our art promoted these unities and advocated their importance, that would help. Influence is a powerful thing. Restoration and beyond is a long road. It is up to us to put our heads together to figure out the best way and how to protect it physically, politically, socially, economically, geographically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc.
What message do you hope “BOA” sends?
Protect, Preserve, and Cultivate the Black Family! Protect, Preserve, and Cultivate healthy Black Reproduction! Protect, Preserve, and Cultivate Strong, Healthy & Intelligent Black Children. In the end, it’s all about the creation and protection of the children.
What was your inspiration for the visuals and lyrics of “BOA?”
The song actually started out as a song about dating for black folks, after watching the trailer for “Queen & Slim”. We’re forced to protect ourselves aggressively in every aspect of life, and, to be effective, even our romance must serve this purpose. Our romantic partners must be our bodyguards and we must be theirs. The work evolved when he started to create the visual for it. Around the time that I made the visual, I wanted to dedicate the visual to Betty Shabazz. I believe that she protected El-Hajj Malik El-Shabbazz (formerly known as Malcolm X) as much as he protected her. The song then evolved to be a song about protecting black women and black girls. Then I questioned, “Why aren’t black women protected”? In questioning the vulnerability of our women and girls I had to question the men. What is happening to the men and the boys that renders them unable to be an effective protective force for our women? Why am I thinking of men, women, girls, & boys, as isolated entities? What about family? Family to protect everyone in it. Has the black family become weakened? How do we strengthen it? What’s the fundamental element of a human family? A human. What’s the fundamental element of a human, (or any other living thing)? To be healthily born and, consequently, to be.
Thus-forth the visual became a piece about family, parents, birth, children, and the harmony of those elements to make a strong community that can protect all in it.
What did creating “BOA” mean to you?
What I want the most is to serve, and be as helpful and constructive as possible. That’s what BOA and all my other work means to me. I just want to grow healthily and contribute to healthy growth
Do you consider your art to be a form of activism? How do you hope to inspire? Do you think more artists will follow suit?
I’ve never thought of myself as an activist. I just want to be healthier and to have a healthy life. Humans are pack animals. How can one be healthy if, outside of one’s own sickness, the pack is sick as well? How can one have a healthy pack without a healthy environment in which they are able to secure adequate shelter that truly protects and food that truly nourishes? What if all the other packs competing for the same food and shelter are sick as well?
I realize that I cannot even honestly consent myself with health without concern for my environment because we are inseparable.
I seek not to be an activist but to be truly healthy.
What was your inspiration for “MANGO?”
“MANGO” was inspired by the realization that in relationships, many of us think we want what’s best for our partners, though we often, more accurately, want to be with our partners in the way that feels the best or most right to us. I found this to be dangerous for many reasons. One being that how things feel can be deceptive. When you have a fever, you feel cold even though your body may very well be a human torch (hot). It’s also dangerous because most of us have trouble figuring out what best for ourselves. To know what’s best for another, to me, especially in situations where I/we can be massively emotionally biased, seems unlikely.
This led me to build more relationships with people who thoroughly studied themselves. If I can trust that someone has really studied and worked on and with themselves, I can trust they have a good grasp on what’s best for them.
If what’s best is someone else, who am I to block a blessing.
Now I’m not saying go and cheat, but what I am saying is that, it’s better to be fully transparent about what we want from our partners, and what we can and cannot, and/or will and will not offer.
What was the creative process with Adeline like? How was it working together on this project?
It was amazing and, most definitely, the swiftest and most efficient session I’ve ever had. Haha.
I’ve known Adeline for a while. Though I had always admired her voice and musicianship, I had yet to work on any music with her. One day we just decided to get in studio. When I got to the studio, Adeline and Morgan Wiley, (together they make up the producer duo, Nightshade), literally cooked a beat up 5 seconds short of the blink of an eye. Before the instrumental was even done, Adeline and I were putting finishing touches on, and recording the lyrics. Then some guy who played brass just appears out of thin air, trumpet in hand, and layed down a bridge. Before I knew what happened, the song was done…in 0.021 seconds.
Basically, Adeline is a mystical being that has powers beyond the laws of this realm and should be protected at all costs and regarded as a national/international treasure.
How have you been spending time in quarantine?
Working! Praise the Creator. Work is a holy thing. Working on being healthier in as many ways as possible. Getting quiet time as usual…and a lil bit of romance baybeee.
What changes do you hope to see in America?
The change that it needs. Whatever it needs to create a healthier social environment that is more in harmony with the planet. I hope that it is a change that is highly contagious.
CONNECT WITH KAMAUU
photos / courtesy of artist
story / Ali Qutmiera