Music is always at its most poignant when it reflects the surroundings responsible for its creation and 51-50 reflects the complexities and past collisions in Najeé Muhammad’s life perfectly. Pulled one way by the conformity of the church and its teachings, the other by gang culture and violence, he has come through a sort of rebirth inspired by a search for self-empowerment and fatherhood.
His music also contrasts opposing sonic worlds as personified by the blends of rigid, clinical beats with soulful piano lines, the rap delivery of the vocals with the deeper lyrics more thoughtful meanings being mused upon.
And it is believable because it seems to sum up the artist’s journey, one which has gone from turmoil to contentment, one which is unique and personal to its creator. It would be easy for Muhammad to merely copy what’s around him, to follow fad or fashion but it is only through maturity and a sort of spiritual awakening that he seems to have found the real power of music and artistic output. Honesty!
Link to the single: