"Beats and Balance" is a vibrant journey through Hip Hop, Afro-Futurism, and African culture, marking my fifth artistic endeavor. This collection is a personal narrative, intertwining the resilience of Hip Hop with futuristic visions and cultural richness. Each illustration reflects my journey and inspiration, from favorite songs and artists to profound cultural symbols. This is a celebration of identity, community, and the dynamic balance between tradition and innovation within the world of Hip Hop. This collection invites you on a journey to experience the rhythm and depth of a culture that inspires and transforms.
"In "Dreamville Deity", a woman adorned with a Nigerian Gele symbolizes cultural beauty and strength. Her vibrant magenta attire and braids, combined with delicate baby hairs, create a graceful yet ethereal appearance. She wears a coral jacket with African floral prints and a Dreamville logo, blending traditional aesthetics with modern hip-hop influences. Standing powerfully in magenta boots, she is set against a backdrop of an old school boombox and levitating rocks, adding a mystical quality to the scene. This ambiguity, whether she is the source of this power or it's the music's influence, invites wonder. More than just a figure, she embodies the essence of a modern-day Orisha, a deity resonating with the power of music. This artwork is a tribute to the strength of music, symbolizing resilience, empowerment, and the mystical beauty of the human spirit."
In "Stolen Tomorrows," I've envisioned Trayvon Martin as he might have been, a young man wearing a hoodie adorned with my portrayal of Tupac as a samurai, symbolizing strength and resilience. He stands in a celestial hall, a space that feels both heavenly and solemn, dressed in a blue hoodie and olive pants, the colors creating a serene yet poignant atmosphere. The image of Tupac in vibrant magenta and yellow represents a bridge between past icons and potential futures never realized. Beside Trayvon, dice emblazoned with "Take the Risk" roll, a message to viewers to embrace courage in the face of fear and uncertainty. This piece is a personal reflection on what Trayvon Martin might have shared with the world, a poignant musing on lost potential and the importance of taking risks for change and justice.
In "Reclamation" my artwork tells the story of a woman, born to a Senegalese immigrant father and an African American mother, profoundly impacted by her father's deportation when she was only three. Her connection to her distant father evolved from costly phone calls to effortless Facebook Messenger chats, symbolizing the changing ways we bridge distances. She's depicted in a TDE sweatshirt, a nod to a music label that resonates with modern struggles, adorned with a hibiscus flower symbolizing my first memorable encounter with Senegalese culture. The artwork's background, featuring waves and a boat, represents Senegal's coastal heritage and the metaphorical journey to rediscover one's roots. The moon phases behind her reflect the relentless passage of time and its effects on our lives. This piece is a visual message encouraging viewers to 'Go Home. Find Home. Find Peace. Find YOU!!' It's an intimate exploration of identity and belonging, and a tribute to the complex journey of self-discovery and reconciling with one's heritage.
In "Illmatic Echoes," I pay homage to Nas and his seminal album 'Illmatic,' depicting a man by a river with the New York skyline, including the Statue of Liberty, as a majestic backdrop. This setting is more than a cityscape; it's a celebration of New York hip-hop's profound influence on me and beyond. The man, almost mystically, levitates the 'Illmatic' album, symbolizing its timeless impact and the essence of a musical revolution. His forearm bears a tattoo of the New York City skyline, a personal symbol of the city's mark on hip-hop and my artistic journey. His shirt, adorned with the Jeezy Snowman, acknowledges New York hip-hop's influence reaching as far as the South, shaping my music and art. The artwork is inscribed with Nas's quote, "Once you make it to your point of making it, you'll appreciate the struggle," reflecting the journey to greatness and the value of hardships. This piece is a testament to my love for hip-hop and its power to empower, transcend, and inspire, honoring the enduring legacy of 'Illmatic
"Galactic Groove" portrays a deity dancing on the moon, transcending earthly boundaries and symbolizing the universal rhythm of life. This gender-neutral figure, adorned with music symbols from the Nsibi tribe and tribal scarifications, bridges ancient traditions and modernity, the earthly and the divine. They wear a red cloak with a Nigerian Ankara pattern and yellow pants bearing an Adinkra symbol for freedom, representing a vibrant fusion of growth, renewal, and liberation. Nike shoes and a yoga meditative pose ground the deity in the contemporary world while embracing serene cosmic balance. This celestial dance, set against the vast backdrop of space with Earth in view, serves as a metaphorical perspective on our existence and the boundless possibilities of life. The quote, "Behind me is infinite power. Before me is endless possibility. Around me is boundless opportunity," echoes the deity's essence, inspiring viewers to transcend the mundane and embrace life's infinite potential. This artwork is a visual anthem of empowerment, blending ancient wisdom with modern insights to celebrate the endless possibilities within us.
In "Visions Kemetic", set in the surreal deserts of Kemet, I've painted a woman sitting powerfully, with the enigmatic Sphinx bearing J. Cole's face behind her, paying homage to a rapper who deeply inspires me. Saturn and bright stars, defying the norms of day and night, embellish the sky, adding to the surrealism of the scene. In her hands, she holds Nike Air Force 1's, symbolizing a journey grounded in modernity, while the all-seeing eye on the pyramid on her open shirt invites introspection and a deeper connection with our souls. Her earrings, the Adinkra symbol "Nserewa," signify affluence, wealth, and sacredness, reflecting my belief in the richness of our cultural heritage and the value of self-worth. The piercing on her lip and the words "I Belong In This Space" on her socks are affirmations of self-assurance and belonging, echoing my conviction that we all have a rightful place in a world of growth, healing, security, truth, and balance. This artwork, blending elements of surrealism and Afrofuturism, is more than a visual piece; it's a personal statement of belonging and empowerment, a reminder that we all have a place in spaces that foster our growth and well-being.
In "Amandla", I've portrayed a woman who is a living canvas of graffiti, symbolizing the unbridled spirit of raw creativity. Her body is adorned with vibrant, graffiti-inspired tattoos, each a testament to the art form's dynamic and expressive power. She embodies the essence of freedom and determination, visible in her piercing eyes and the spirited blue of her hair. Her dress, adorned with African prints, weaves her connection to cultural roots into this tapestry of modern artistry. Significantly, the word 'Amandla' graces her eyebrow, a powerful nod to the Nguni languages of Xhosa and Zulu. This term, resonating with strength and used as a rallying cry against apartheid, serves as a poignant reminder of the inner power we must harness to be our most authentic selves. This artwork is more than a visual piece; it's a celebration of identity, resilience, and self-empowerment. It reflects my belief in the transformative power of art and the importance of embracing our individuality and cultural heritage to truly realize our potential.
"My Colour" captures a Rasta Man exuding confidence, his fingers strumming a guitar on a curb, a symbol of harmony and connection to the roots of music. Emblazoned on his guitar is the logo of Living Colour, a tribute to the influential Black American rock band that defied stereotypes and bridged cultural gaps. Beside him sits a woman, her demure presence and green top a metaphor for growth and renewal, her tattoos narrating stories of beauty and resilience. Behind them, a classic car and a grand house stand, representing the journey traveled and the dreams realized. This house, a haven shared with his love, is more than a structure; it's a fortress of shared aspirations and a testament to enduring love and partnership. Through this piece, I celebrate the power of music and love to create a sanctuary of peace and unity. It's a reflection of my belief in building a life that harmonizes with one's passions and finding companionship that resonates with one's soul.
In "Floral Futurism," I've created a vision of a woman who encapsulates the spirit of Afro-futurism within my "Beats and Balance" collection. Her afro, adorned with flowers, symbolizes natural beauty and personal growth, while her futuristic outfit reflects a space-aged, hip-hop savant. With a MIDI keyboard tucked under her arm, she embodies the fusion of music and technology, a confident yet gentle presence in a world where art and innovation intertwine. Her outfit, detailed with floral patterns on the shoulder pads and shorts, is more than just fashion; it's a representation of her journey, blossoming into her true self. The gears and speakers in the background are not just elements of design but metaphors for the intricate workings of creativity and the amplification of her voice through her art. She stands as a symbol of the ever-evolving spirit of hip-hop, the endless possibilities of growth through art, and the courage to face life with confidence and authenticity. This piece is a tribute to the power of personal evolution and the transformative impact of embracing one's uniqueness in the journey of life.
In "Akoma's Resilience," I explore the fusion of African heritage and hip-hop culture through a woman adorned with an Afro and tribal scarification, a symbol of beauty, resilience, and the virtues of patience and tolerance. Holding a multicolored flower, she represents the blend of influences that shape our existence. She lounges in a surreal setting, surrounded by iconic J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar throw pillows, reflecting my admiration for Hip-Hop's depth and societal impact. A crowned giraffe with records stands as a unique, regal emblem, embodying my connection to music and unity. Surrounded by graffiti, her environment speaks of urban creativity and resilience, marked by Nipsey Hussle's inspiring words. Her attire, blending West African patterns with modern style, bridges our past and present. "Akoma's Resilience" is more than artwork; it's a personal reflection on cultural unity and the enduring power of hip-hop.
"Daylight" juxtaposes a man in grayscale against a vibrant backdrop of oranges, turquoise, and yellows, symbolizing the contrast between the introspective monochrome of his thoughts and the vivid complexity of the world around him. He lies contemplatively, ensconced in his own world with beats, a metaphor for his deep dive into the rhythms of life. Behind him, the vinyl record of Aesop Rock's 'Daylight' serves as a bridge between his introspection and the external world of music and color. The lyric from Aesop Rock on his pants, "All I ever wanted was to pick apart the day and put the pieces back together my way," resonates with my own desire to understand and reconstruct the world through my art. His posture, relaxed yet thoughtful, is like a silent note in a symphony of colors, a visual representation of seeking harmony in chaos. This piece is a personal exploration of finding one's rhythm in the discordant melody of life, a reflection of my journey in piecing together the fragments of experience to create a coherent, colorful tapestry of understanding.
In "Fishbone Reverie," I seek to capture the essence of bold individuality through a Black woman with a striking magenta mohawk, embodying the creative spirit and self-love that resonate within me. Her attire, a fusion of magenta and intricate Nigerian Ankara patterns, reflects the rich cultural fusion that has shaped my life and art. The Fishbone logo on her shirt, a nod to my favorite punk group, symbolizes the diverse influences that inspire my work, from ska to soul. The multicolored pastel backdrop, echoing African art's complexity, sets a vibrant stage for this piece. Incorporated into the artwork is a powerful quote from Sa-Roc's 'Forever,' a mantra of self-acceptance and resilience that guides my creative ethos. This piece is more than an artwork; it's a whimsical journey through the realms of imagination, celebrating the diversity and strength of Black women, and a testament to the myriad cultural influences that enrich my artistic journey.
In "Radio Òmìnira" I've captured a moment of tranquility, capturing a young Black man with an old-school radio, a symbol of freedom and a nod to Radio Raheem's iconic character. This piece, deviating from my usual theme of Afro-futurism, is a reflection on the past, specifically on the profound impact of the album 'Makaveli, 7 Day Theory' by 2pac, which I absorbed for three years. The illustration of 2pac's crucifixion on the album, a powerful statement on race and identity in America, resonates deeply with me. In this artwork, the man, dressed in sweatpants and a sweatshirt with a tape on it, exudes a sense of self-contentment. He represents a departure from the pain and struggle often associated with the Black experience in America. This illustration is my call for liberation from the cross of societal burdens – it's an urging for Black individuals to embrace peace, purpose, and joy. Through him, I seek to convey a message: 'Come off the cross and find peace. Find purpose. Find Joy. Find YOU!!!' It's a personal journey of self-discovery, of finding serenity in one's own company, away from the chaos and expectations of the world. This man, in his solitude, is more than a figure; he's a metaphor for the journey towards inner peace and self-actualization.
In "Skateboard (S)eraph," I depict an African American woman, a beacon of freedom and modernity, her dreadlocks and upward gaze symbolizing her dreams and aspirations. She stands confidently with a skateboard, its vampire teeth symbolizing her zest to take a bite out of life. Her blue bat wings, ethereal and striking, signify her ability to rise above challenges and see life from an elevated view. Her attire, a blue halter shirt proclaiming "I DID IT," mirrors Nike's empowering slogan, representing personal victory against odds, complemented by Jordan 1 imagery that adds contemporary flair and cultural significance. The yellow sweatpants she wears, adorned with a fist and flowers, reflect the duality of human nature: strength and solidarity intertwined with beauty and growth. "Skateboard Seraph" is more than just a visual piece; it's a story of empowerment and creativity, fusing urban coolness with gothic whimsy and fashion. This artwork celebrates liberation and self-expression, encapsulating the joy and triumph of realizing one's fullest potential and the mystical allure of the human spirit. Shout out to Pharrell.
A praying Muslim man, a personal reflection of the deep connection between culture, religion, and spirituality. His short beard and the intricate patterns on his pants and Kufi, rendered in muted colors, symbolize a grounding in faith and heritage. The Mosque in the background is not just a physical structure; it's a metaphor for the sanctuary of the soul and the peace found in spiritual devotion. One of my favorite quotes from the Quran, "Richness is not having many belongings, but richness is the contentment of the soul. (PBUH)" deeply resonates in this piece. It speaks to the man's understanding that true wealth is found within, a richness of spirit and inner peace. The DJ board on his shirt, used to create beats, symbolizes the harmony of traditional faith with modern expression, blending the timeless with the contemporary in a symphony of cultural identity. Through this artwork, I explore the richness of the soul over material wealth, celebrating the quiet strength and serenity of spiritual fulfillment. "Kufi Conscious" is a testament to finding inner peace and the harmonious fusion of faith, creativity, and the journey of the soul in the modern world.
In "Chaotic Bliss," I portray a woman in a two-piece bathing suit, embodying a surreal calm amidst chaos. Her tattoos—a playful scene of kittens on her shin and a whale on her arm—contrast with her skull-adorned bathing suit, symbolizing the juxtaposition of innocence and mortality. Clasped in her right hand, a glass emblazoned with 'Nuka Cola' from the Fallout video game serves as a nod to a world ravaged by nuclear disaster, mirroring the looming mushroom cloud, missile, and fighter jet in the background. This striking scene captures a moment of eerie tranquility as the world ends around her, a metaphor for finding peace in the eye of the storm. Her nonchalant demeanor in the face of impending doom speaks to a profound truth about human resilience and the ability to find solace amidst destruction. Through her, I explore the concept that sometimes, in the midst of overwhelming chaos, we find our deepest calm and clarity. "Chaotic Bliss" is not just an illustration; it's a reflection on the human spirit's capacity to remain composed under existential threat, a visual representation of the saying, 'In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.' It's a reminder of our ability to maintain composure and grace, even as the world we know crumbles around us.
In "Urban Butterfly," my artwork captures the spirit of an Afro-Colombian woman, channeling her vibrancy into a figure with a natural afro, dressed in a green hoodie and wide-legged pants. The flowers on her clothing, along with the 'XOXO yourself' message, resonate with themes of self-love and emerging identity. Her butterfly wings lend a surreal quality, representing the beauty and fluidity of personal growth. Behind her, a toad on a mushroom starkly contrasts with the modern cityscape, illustrating the blend of natural elements and urban life. This juxtaposition highlights the harmonious existence of diverse environments. Her crouched position, gazing upwards, symbolizes introspection and anticipation, akin to a butterfly preparing to soar, contemplating its path in a dynamic world. Her gaze conveys determination and vision. She's more than a subject; she's a story of resilience and purpose amid life's complexities. "Urban Butterfly" mirrors my conviction in the power of adapting to change and charting one’s course in the diverse collage of our world. It's a visual ode to the journey of self-exploration, a celebration of our innate connection to both our natural origins and the urban landscapes we navigate.
In "B-Boy's Portal," a pivotal work from my 'Beats and Balance' collection, I depict a Black man performing a dynamic B-boy handstand, opening a portal into the cosmos in a bustling city scene. His vibrant red shirt, adorned with a West African pattern and an all-seeing eye atop a pyramid, resonates with themes of vision and enlightenment. His obscured face, covered by a blue hat, directs attention to the mystical portal, underlining the otherworldly nature of his dance. This piece explores Afrofuturism and the transcendence of reality through culture, dance, music, and art. The portal signifies a metaphorical journey into new realms of thought, and the six onlookers surrounding him represent our collective experience and unity through these cultural expressions. In the background, the word 'U-N-I-T-Y' across a building wall amplifies the theme of communal advancement. "B-Boy's Portal" is an ode to the transformative power of movement and creativity, inviting viewers to envision a world where unity and innovation guide us to new dimensions of existence and understanding.
In my piece, "Desi Dynasty," I portray a melanated Desi woman, a rapper in the studio, channeling the spirit of Dee MC, a renowned artist and activist. She embodies the cross-cultural impact of hip-hop, a testament to its power as a universal connector and medium for diverse cultures to express their visions. Draped in a traditional ghoonghat featuring the great MC Notorious B.I.G, she symbolizes the fusion of cultural heritage with the revolutionary spirit of hip-hop. Her headphones, adorned with the deity Kali, represent the blend of fierce energy and divine creativity, while her shirt, bearing a Hindu symbol, signifies her quest for inner peace and higher consciousness. In the studio, she's more than just a figure; she's a narrative of empowerment and cultural synergy. Like Kali, she embodies transformation and power, ready to articulate her message and unite worlds through the rhythm of her words. "Desi Dynasty" is my reflection on the unifying power of music, a visual metaphor for finding harmony in diversity, and a celebration of hip-hop's ability to transcend boundaries, connecting stories and souls across the globe.
In "Build/Destroy," I've depicted a man, his identity concealed behind a surgical mask, not a doctor of medicine, but a healer through music. His headphones and DJ mixing board are his instruments, akin to a surgeon's tools, meticulously crafting soundscapes that soothe and invigorate the soul. Atop his head, he bears the likeness of Beerus from Dragon Ball Z, the God of Destruction, symbolizing the transformative power of music to destroy old patterns and create new realities. The word 'Blackness' on the computer screen behind him is a tribute to Phonte of Little Brother, representing the profound influence of Black artists in shaping the music landscape. This man, in his creative sanctuary, channels the genius of producers like Dr. Dre, who skillfully blend beats into timeless auditory experiences. Through him, I explore the concept of music as a form of healing and creation, a balance between destruction and preservation, much like Beerus maintains balance in the universe. "Build/Destroy" is a reflection of my belief in the power of music to transcend, transform, and heal, a celebration of its enduring impact on our lives and culture.
In "New Step," my artwork delves into the realms of Afro-futurism and the supernatural, portraying an African deity, a fusion of hip-hop and West African dance. Poised on a mountain peak, he emerges from a portal, a red sun against a night sky, symbolizing a bold transition into a new, vibrant reality. This scene challenges viewers to question their reality, inviting them to step into a world where the conventional is reimagined, and the ordinary is transcended. His attire, a blend of traditional African elements and a modern T-shirt adorned with a cartoon character, represents the merging of worlds and eras. The three feathers on his pants are more than adornments; they are emblems of energy, hope, and divine guidance, signifying a connection with a higher spiritual realm. "New Step" is a visual metaphor for the journey into new planes of thought and existence, encouraging a leap into unexplored dimensions of self and universe. It's a celebration of transformation and the boundless possibilities that await when we dare to venture beyond the familiar, into the realms of new possibilities and enlightenment.
In "Mech Melodies" I've ventured into a new artistic realm, envisioning a robot reminiscent of transformers or mech robots, adorned with vibrant African prints. It stands, holding a record from J.Cole, blending the realms of futuristic technology with the soulful essence of hip-hop. This illustration is a playful exploration of music's power to transcend genres and eras, with the robot symbolizing the synthesis of tradition and innovation. The funky backdrop features a MIDI board, etched with Wale's profound quote, "Life without dreaming is a life without meaning." This phrase resonates with me deeply, encapsulating the essence of my artistic journey and the universality of music as a conduit for dreams and purpose. "Mech Melodies" represents my belief in the fusion of cultural identity with futuristic concepts, celebrating the continuous evolution of music and its impact. It's a visual representation of the idea that even in a world of advancing technology, the heart of creativity and meaning remains rooted in our dreams and cultural heritage. Through this piece, I aim to inspire a blend of imagination and tradition, encouraging a dance between the past and the possible futures.
In "Stand Queens," I channel the essence of unity and resilience of Black women, inspired by Queen Latifah's anthem 'U.N.I.T.Y.' The artwork showcases three elegant women in attire embedded with hip-hop symbols, challenging derogatory narratives in the genre. Their backs bear the bold statement 'Who You,' 'Callin,' 'A Bitch?' – a direct reference to Latifah's song, questioning ongoing disrespectful attitudes in hip-hop. Their diverse hairstyles symbolize individuality, standing united against 'UNITY,' advocating for change in representation and perception of women. This piece is more than a tribute; it's a dialogue on the struggles for dignity and the critical role of Black women in cultural shaping, echoing Latifah's words about standing for beliefs, sometimes alone. "Stand Queens" is a celebration of empowerment, a testament to the enduring spirit of women who define and enrich our cultural fabric.
A man of African descent with thick dreadlocks and striking blue eyes, embodying the convergence of diverse cultures and artistic visions. His focused engagement in drawing anime-style art symbolizes the harmonious blend of traditional roots and modern creativity. Adorned with scarves of West African patterns, he represents a strong cultural heritage that deeply influences my work. His necklace, bearing the blue African continent and the Zulu Nation logo, signifies the profound impact of hip-hop culture on my artistic ethos. Emblazoned on his arms are the phrases 'Without Order Nothing Exists' and 'Without Chaos Nothing Evolves,' echoing the delicate balance between structure and freedom that permeates my art. "Zulu's Visionary" is a narrative of resilience and purpose. This man's intense gaze and serious demeanor reflect a steadfast commitment to positive change, mirroring my own dedication to using art as a tool for unity and transformation. Through this piece, I celebrate the power of creativity to bridge diverse worlds and inspire change.
In my artwork, "Oshun Odyssey" I depict Angela, a symbol of liberation and creativity, lounging in a car transformed into an interstellar vessel, with an audio soundboard as its dashboard. The cosmic scene outside her windows, filled with moons and planets, represents the boundless realms of possibility and exploration. Her West African print pants and matching old-school Chuck Taylors, inscribed with the word "Freedom," embody the journey to mental, physical, and spiritual liberation. Adorning her arm are symbols of Oshun, the Yorùbá goddess of water, fertility, and love, signifying Angela's connection to divine femininity and creativity. Her relaxed posture with an old-school Walkman captures the essence of freedom found in music, a nod to the timeless wisdom in Andre 3000's lyric, "spaceships don't come equipped with rearview mirrors!" This lyric, adorning the car's ceiling, underlines the importance of looking forward, not backward, in our cosmic journey through life. "Oshun Odyssey" is more than an illustration; it's a visual symphony of cultural heritage, divine femininity, and the liberating power of music and creativity. It celebrates the spirit of Oshun, blending tradition with futuristic vision, and embodies the idea that our paths to freedom are often paved with the rhythms of our soul.