NEW YORK – Producers K-Salaam & Beatnick will release their forthcoming album, Whose World Is This?, with VP Records on July 29th, 2008. K-Salaam and Beatnick pose this thought-provoking question “Whose World Is This?” to an A-list selection of some of the world’s most prominent hip hop, reggae and spoken word artists.
Using K-Salaam & Beatnick’s music as the vehicle, Trey Songz, Young Buck, Sizzla, Buju Banton, Dead Prez and Talib Kweli among others, rose to the challenge and used their music and message to formulate their answer. The album forms a cohesive musical dialog across cultures, genres and life experiences. As told by K-Salaam: “This is an album created to inspire change for the global community. Its message is one of revolution.”
Addressing politics, poetics and peace, the musical forum explores a variety of solutions and topics to Whose World Is This?. On “To the Rescue,” Papoose and Busy Signal propose to take militant action immediately as Papoose fervently delivers in the first verse: “Protect our own world and we can be ok, cause every time one of our leaders gets blown away, we lose faith and all our people go astray. We got to take it!” On the other hand, reggae luminary Sizzla offers a very poetic reply searching for religious truth and escape on “Sail On,” while Trey Songz and Buju Banton call for peace on “Street Life” insisting “Gangster, you don’t have to bust your guns tonight. Those days are over. You don’t have to run into the street life.”
Finding his voice at an early age through the language of cuts and blends, Iranian born K-Salaam describes the birth of this project: “I went into this thinking that I wanted to make a great album with some of my favorite artists, so I wrote down the names of 15 artists I wanted to work with and 13 ended up on the album!” The producer embarked on a quest- literally going door-to-door, studio-to-studio-to convince each artist to record for him. He even traveled to Jamaica to find some his favorite reggae stars Capleton, Sizzla and Luciano. Recalling their first encounter, reggae legend Buju Banton jokes, “K-Salaam came as close as a mustard seed to getting killed.” K-Salaam boldly cold-called Buju Banton while he was in New York and despite the possible imposition Buju invited him to record the same day. K-Salaam’s search for Sizzla was just as colorful. K recalls, “I went to Jamaica to just seek him out. When I landed, it turned out he wasn’t even on the island but luckily I had my boombox with me, so I played a few tracks for his people and left a beat CD. Eventually he heard my tracks, reached out to me and that was that!”
Like Buju Banton and Sizzla, nearly all of the artists he approached agreed to participate immediately after listening to the music. Stic Man from Dead Prez states: “It was a no brainer for me…It is good music, good vibe, for a good reason. K-Salaam and Beatnick are very talented and they stand for something substantive. We believe in the solidarity of oppressed people, black, brown, all the way around.” Despite no industry connections prior to starting, the music and concept swayed the who’s-who of artists. As Scratch Magazine notes, “for a no-name producer to have won over so many high-profile artists, his skills must have really stood out.” K adds, “revolution is started by individuals but can only be won by armies, that’s why I felt the need to ally myself with like-minded artists.”
“Our new album is incredibly varied, but our music is the glue that keeps it all together. Whether reggae, hip-hop or spoken word, everyone sounds like they belong on it. Hip-hop and reggae are like distant cousins. They all speak the same language, they just have different accents,” concludes K-Salaam.