Every now and then an artist announces that they have an upcoming album and it gets you excited. Legitimately excited and eager for them to give you more information about their upcoming project. What’s the last album that you were excited about? Making sure you had the release date memorized, wondering what the music and lyrics would sound like, practically salivating anticipating this particular album? For me I am excited for one Amisho Baraka Lewis better known as the artist Sho Baraka to release his newest album on Humble Beast Records. Sho is my number one emcee and over the past few months before he even signed to his label, he had been talking about this upcoming project. I am seriously excited and I have 5 reasons for why I can’t wait for this project to come out.
Been a long time coming: The last time Mr. Baraka dropped a full length project on us was January 15th 2013 when Talented Xth hit the shelves. The adage goes “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and that is absolutely true. Sho makes great music and we were supposed to get a project this past July, but things fell through. Sho ended up signing to Humble Beast and pushing the album back with no release date announced. I can’t wait to see what Sho has been working on since 2013.
Sho is excited about the album: As an avid Sho Baraka fan, I follow him on the various platforms he’s on such as Forth District. For the past few months even before he signed to Humble Beast, Sho had been saying how excited he was about the album. His Forth District colleagues are also excited, which I take to be a good sign. Think about one of your favorite artists in the days leading up to a project release? Were they excited? When they were excited, didn’t that excite you as a fan? In my experience when an artist is excited about their work, that work generally lives up to the expectations of the fans. For an accomplished artist such as Sho Baraka to be excited about his project, it can only mean it will be phenomenal.
Some of Sho’s best writing: Sho is a writer’s writer. He’s the kind of lyricist you can listen to his music and may not get some of his lines until months later. This has happened to me with multiple songs of his and even the features he was a part of. On Forth District, Sho has said he feels like this project has his best writing on it. Go back and listen to Talented Xth and High Society and come back to this article. You mean to tell me his writing on this album is better than those projects he listed??! I don’t think it’s possible, but I will happily be proven wrong.
The influence this project will most likely have: On the video Sho dropped with Humble Beast, “The road to Humble” Sho spits “one thing you can’t do is doubt my influence.” That is not an arrogant sentence nor is it an overstatement, rather it is pure fact. Sho’s “We Can Be More” changed the way CHH artists wrote love songs for their wives. Sho’s song was so popular that everyone who wasn’t already talking about their spouse, started to do so on record in a non cliché way. Folks started to authentically talk about loving their wives and now almost everyone has a love song for their spouse on their album. It’s almost an unwritten requirement. Have you noticed everyone talking about social issues in Christian hip hop? You can thank Sho Baraka for that. I’m not saying he was the only one doing it, but he made a whole album talking more on those kind of issues than trying to teach theological points. On an old Wade O Radio interview, Sho admitted he felt his purpose was to go outside of the youth groups. To see him walk in that and have the reach and influence he has, says something about being true to yourself. He was demonized, churches shut doors in his face, and many other things, but he never deviated. Now he’s on NPR, signed to a dope label, and doing big things in his local community. I can almost guarantee that this project will have influence on culture, which I believe is one of Mr. Baraka’s aims.
It’s coming soon!!!!!: While no release date has been announced yet, Sho has teased that the album is coming out very soon. On one of the more recent episodes of Forth District’s “Off The Record” podcast, his co-hosts played 21 questions with Sho’s upcoming album. Sho answered as best he could without divulging too many details. Forth District founder Dan Duncan slyly asked, “will I be trick or treating cruising to your new album?” To which Sho responded in the affirmative. We are in October, so according to that question and its answer, the album should be out in 3 weeks or so. That is all speculation, but I sincerely hope I am right.