Washington, DC [examiner.com] – Globetrotting, Hip Hop/Soul emcee and vocalist, Khalil Ismail, prepares for the release of his latest project, Freedom Fighters, while proving that perception can be reality, even in the make-believe world of entertainment.
Khalil Ismail is a rare breed. Audiences of Hip Hop music often find themselves victims of publicity campaigns by artists who have aligned with a trending topic or who have constructed a personality in order to sell or gain something, but they will find that KI tells a different story—in fact, a true story.
As a man, a husband, a father, a Muslim and an American in real life, his latest 14-track exhibition project, Freedom Fighters (with producer Ambush), explores a diversity of subject matter true to the heart of any Generation Y derivative: chasing dreams (“Knocking”), manhood (“Man Up”), family (cover/reboot of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You”), domestic violence (“Live Again”), and even life as a man in the music business (“Temptation”).
While most music never goes further than the ears of an artist’s Facebook friends, KI has literally taken his music around the world. Traveling the globe, he tries to evoke a different perception of Blacks, Americans and their Hip Hop music. So, instead of just selling songs, he speaks to audiences—mostly young people—about integrity in art and business. Opportunities on this scale bare a responsibility to oneself, one’s family and one’s country—a burden the DC-born, Baltimore-raised Hip Hop musician takes very seriously.
“As a father, I know my kids want to hear my music, and they want to sing my music… Your kids might want to sing my music too. I listen to everything, but when I go into the booth [to create], I have my audience in mind, and I know I have an obligation to them.”
Philanthropy, too, is usually just an act of showmanship for entertainers, but for KI, it’s his job—his actual day job. He not only works for, but he’s also the co-founder of a Baltimore shelter for homeless women, many of who are victims of domestic violence. The song, “Live Again,” tells many their stories and offers words of encouragement: “After the rain, comes the sunshine…”
Khalil himself could have used those words of encouragement in September 2011 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He shares a bit of that experience on the track, “Keep On Going,” where he describes:
“waking up on the floor, barely aware of my time right before / but so aware of my time now / no right for me to complain, my breath means I’m so blessed.”
Much of Freedom Fighters was written after the diagnosis, but prior to the prognosis of a full recovery. The idea that his wisdom, his knowledge, his opinions and his talents may not ever see its full potential has been that extra push, because it’s clear now that his music is not just an expression of his mind; it will be his legacy.
As fans look to fill a position in their iPods’ Hip Hop department left by, perhaps, the likes of the late Tupac Shakur or Lauren Hill, they will find that KI’s credentials make him a viable candidate for the job.
Original article at: http://www.examiner.com/article/khalil-ismail-to-give-us-freedom-fighters