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More than a salute to life and the acknowledgement of the struggle

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The middle of December is the time of year when the atmosphere can be quite brumous at times. Traditionally we make concerted efforts to puncture this sort of environment with joy while reflecting on events from the year that’s about to pass and pay tribute to those who left the planet. At times we hope the psithurism blows away any and all negativity as we search for stocking stuffers for loved ones.

One such item that may brighten the mood of any music listener is the latest effort from the veteran hip hop duo Smif-N-Wessun.

“For us it’s a tribute to everything we’ve been through. It’s a lifelong thing for us”, divulged Tek with regard their most recent release. “We have been born and raised through the things we’ve done. It’s a salute to life and the acknowledgement of the struggle.”

The EP titled “Born and Raised” (produced by Beatnick and K-Salaam) is a hip hop and reggae fused gem featuring appearances by Jahdan and dancehall legends Junior Reid and Jr. Kelly respectively. It’s clear from listening to the EP that Smif-N-Wesson has accomplished the mission that they had for it from the onset. That is to pay homage to their legion of fans – which’ve stood loyal to them for close to twenty years – plus acknowledge the success of others that continue to work alongside them. “From the beginning Jahdan was down with Boot Camp. It was only right that we work with him. Our success is for us to see someone else succeed”, added Tek.

Smif-N-Wessun are not just creating music for them to feel good but to share that joy for their following. The duo truly leans on a sense of community when it comes to the creative process. They also are unabashed believers in music being a healing force. It also helps their cause when the “word of mouth generation” – as Steele puts it – influences the much younger “internet generation” while turning them on to the Smif-N-Wessun catalog.

“We share our experiences”, explained Steele when it comes to advising the younger generation aspiring to enter the music business. “Don’t ever give up on yourself. They’re people who’ve been killed for this. Reach one. Teach one. We want people to learn and have that richness in themselves.”

When it comes to 2014 and creative efforts in the foreseeable future Smif-N-Wesson have maintained that there are plenty of acts they haven’t worked with and would relish the opportunity to do so. They firmly believe collaborative work and compare them to a boxing match of sorts. Whereas certain styles create better matches and get the best out of the pair. But of the possibilities when it comes to another joint project they did hint at the delight of one day working with a Motown legend.

“We did it our way”, Tek sang emphatically with regard to Smif-N-Wessun’s ongoing journey through the music business. “Our legacy will speak for itself. No regrets. You have to learn to live with things. I just want people to feel comfortable in their own skin. Music is music. (Just) feel comfortable with who you are. You have to have the confidence to believe in your own body of work. Once you get that motivation it goes worldwide.”

In essence the rap legends share are echoing for listeners to make the best out of the odds dealt against one in life. One cannot live life through a video. Instant replay and excessive Monday morning quarterbacking won’t fix what has passed. Building for the future is always paramount.


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