emay

As “Bakkah…” opens with a light twitch to it, the structure lends itself to an open expanse. A plunging bass falls in when needed, but there’s a folky, ambient world within the gritty, spacious hip-hop mold. Emay, whose real name is Mubarik Adams, initially conceived the track as a poem about humanity. In almost five minutes, he gets the brief history of humanity out there as succinctly as one can.

The first lines say that humanity has “manufactured our tower of cards in the midst of a jet engine.” Imagery is evoked to describe the instability of what humans have built, and the decision-making behind this construction, in a way that couldn't be any more perfect. He addresses the irony of using “kind” at the end of “human” to describe the earth’s inhabitants with such clarity that you just have to wonder how more people haven’t addressed that very issue.

And with the video of the song, a video that spins in a circle, sporadically zooming in and out, you’re greeted with two very different perspectives: a police officer in riot gear moves in a manner that mashes fluidity with glitches. Offering the counterpoint is Adams in casual clothes as the camera pans back and forth between the two.

You feel the beat float above, observational and diving down only when asked to. It’s acknowledged that we, as a species, have failed to achieve something bigger, so we have a tendency to hold others back in order to build ourselves up. Human progression is natural, yet he knows it seems reductive way too often. Considering global events, he’s pretty aware, and like so many others, he just has to wonder where we go from here. Joey Smith