Shaheed Shabazz Bio
"Every Saturday morning my mother would clean our apartment blasting Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, EW&F, and Motown." That's where it all started. "My uncle left Jimi Hendrix's Crash Landing and Albert King's Laundromat Blues in my room, and I was hooked on the blues." After playing trumpet for a few years, and wanting a drum set, Shaheed ended up a guitar in his hands at the age of 10.
In 1988, rap group Public Enemy released, "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back". That started Shaheed listening to and thinking about music production. Eight years later, Shaheed opened Liontraks Recording Studio in Union City, NJ, where he engineered, produced, and/or played guitar on up to 75 projects a year. "Owning a studio is wild!" Shaheed says, "you can create hip hop tracks for local artists in the morning, engineer a death metal session in the afternoon, and produce a spoken word session in the evening." This experience readied Shaheed to record his own music. But what would it sound like?
It sounds like Something Blues, the debut CD from Jersey swamp native, Shaheed Shabazz. Every song on Something Blues is a perfect blend of hip hop, R&B, and blues. This recording project started in 2000 after Shaheed got the idea to fuse the styles of music he loves the most. "I recorded 20 songs for this CD and lost them in a hard drive crash." In 2004, with the help and encouragement of friend, Shaheed started recording what would become his second debut CD, Something Blues.
A few of Shaheed's friends come out to play on Something Blues, including Grammy-nominated bassist Brad Vickers (Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin), harmonica master Davie Barns (Michael Hill Blues Mob, James 'Blood' Ulmar), Hammond B3 specialist Gerard Guida (Jimi Hendrix). Michael Hill (Alligator Records) lends his voice and guitar to the first single, "House of the Rising Sun," and all proceeds from sales of this single go to support Habitat for Humanity's efforts to build a musicians' village in New Orleans.
As for performances, Shaheed is the quintessential entertainer. Blending tracks from Something Blues with funk and blues covers, he gives every concert attendee more than the show they paid for. "I treat every show like it will be my legacy because if it's the last show I play, I want it to stay with you forever."
When asked why Something Blues isn't more of a straight a head blues CD, Shaheed says, "First and foremost I am a blues guitarist. But don't get it twisted. This ain't your grandfather's blues."