Sharrieff Muhammad ‘21 officially started making music when he was sixteen but he has been rapping at every opportunity for as long as he can remember.
“Music was something that was always there for me, it was something that I could always fall back on when I had a bad day,” said Muhammad.
He describes his music as being influenced by hip hop, jazz, and soul music, and the creative process as a state of constant self-editing. This, he says, pushes him to constantly be better and is his favorite part of making music.
He says for this project he was particularly inspired by Amy Winehouse and Saba because of their abilities to take pain and reproduce it in a beautiful way. Some of his all-time favorite artists include Kanye West, Childish Gambino, and Jay-Z, because of their versatility within and outside of hip hop music.
Two of the songs on his album,“Used to Be,” and “Southside Soliloquies,” take some of Muhammad’s challenging times and tell stories of self-evolution.
His album, “Hubris Insecurities,” dropped today, April 26th, on Spotify, SoundCloud, Tidal, and Apple Music: it’s about the ups and downs in life, and the necessary lessons that the downs bring.
Muhammad wrote “Used to Be” after a particularly challenging first semester. During Winter Break, he felt so discouraged that he considered taking the semester off and even contemplated abandoning his music.
He found clarity at home in the form of overwhelming gratitude for all that his mother had sacrificed for him to be able to go to Pitzer and pursue his dreams of music.
“Moment of sobriety every time my mother calls, we’re not the kids we used to be.”
Appreciating his mother’s sacrifices reinvigorated Muhammad with the courage to go back to school, keep making music, and continue challenging himself to give the kid he used to be a role model.
“This woman has given so much for me to be able to come to this school, for me to be able to follow my dreams and do music,” said Muhammad, “why would I take that for granted?”
Southside Soliloquies is a tribute to his community on the Southside of Dallas, and a reflection of the hardships that he and his peers experienced. His lyrics speak about lessons from his upbringing and the sound was heavily inspired by southern hip hop.
Muhammad explained that southern hip hop is heavily centered around the speaker and how the bass hits.
His song, “Speaker Knock,” especially exemplifies this emphasis on the bass. Ralph Zamora, a LYBL founder and artist, is featured in this song on Hubris Insecurities because Muhammad hoped to bring together the bass-heavy beats of the Dallas car culture with Zamora’s similarly bass-heavy LA sound.
He joined LYBL when they first started in Fall 2017, and has performed at a variety of their events, including most recently, Kohoutek. Muhammad joined the team because he wanted to be in a space with other creatives and because he was inspired by all the hard work that the LYBL presidents put in and wanted to help support their mission in any way possible.
“There’s just so many wonderful people in LYBL, they’re always pushing me and checking in.”
He described how the team consistently challenges him to incorporate new styles into his music and to try new things.
When asked about what some of the biggest obstacles that young artists face, Muhammad lamented about the difficulty of finding a good recording space and revealed that he most struggles most with self-marketing.
“It’s hard being authentic and being something that the social media community would like,” he said.
You can follow Sharrieff Muhammad on Instagram @sharrieff_muh and find him on Spotify and Apple Music under the name “Obsidian.” His latest album “Hubris & Insecurities,” is available now. You can find LYBL on Instagram @lyblrecords.
Emily Kuhn PZ’ 22 is an environmental activist, a word-nerd, and a foodie. She enjoys hearing people’s stories, getting outside, and hoop dancing.