Kanye West & Maik Yusef present G.O.O.D Morning G.O.O.D Night. Including collaborations with KRS-One, Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), Twista, Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Jennifer Hudson, Paul Wall, Mr Hudson, Raheem DeVaughn and Bun B (UGK).
Admittedly himself a backpacker (i.e. Hip Hop purist) and occasional coffee shop poet, it’s not that far-fetched that Kanye West release an experimental project from unique spoken word artist Malik Yusef.
While an exciting and promisingly bold venture at first, the actual amount of projects released through Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label has been a little scant since launching in 2004. Excluding releases from John Legend, Consequence and Common, in addition to occasional singles and the odd mixtape, Kanye’s progressive label has yet to drop another album, until now. The man is busy conquering the world and seemingly allowing his artists to grow before launching them on the world, so I guess you can give him a pass for that.
The latest album release on G.O.O.D. Music happens to be Malik Yusef’s maiden voyage, a two-disc excursion of words and music (divided into two parts; Dawn and Dusk) titled Kanye West and Malik Yusef Present G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Night. Despite the Kanye West stamp of approval (and one guest verse), G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Night is all Malik Yusef.
Malik Yusef was raised in Chicago’s infamous South Side. Some differences aside, his life story is very much aligned with the likes of hip hop founding father Afrika Bambaataa, who like Yusef spent his formative years involved in street hustler culture, before ultimately turning to creative endeavours to express himself and teach others from his experiences. A member of the Islamic street faction The Blackstone Rangers as a teen, it was during this period that Yusef became friendly with a member of the Four Corner Hustlers group. That man would later become his label-mate and ghetto articulator par excellence, Common.
For a man that suffered from dyslexia in his younger days, Yusef’s mastery of the English language and vocalization of the human condition is what has made him a household name and respected figure. Not simply preaching, the activist and father of three leads by example, having establishing several organizations in his local community, including the For Yourself Foundation (a literacy program), Girl Power (a non-profit designed to empower young females) and the Drop Squad (dedicated to keeping the Chicago streets free of debris and litter).
Malik Yusef’s first break in the entertainment industry came in 1997, when he was enlisted to coach actor Larenz Tate for his starring role as a poet in the film Love Jones. It was in 2002 that Yusef began to firmly cement himself as a spoken word artist, making a memorable appearance on the famed Def Poetry Jam series, performing his poem I Spit? The following year would mark the birth of Malik Yusef the recording artist, as he inked a deal with Universal Records to release The Great Chicago Fire; A Cold Day in Hell.
Now with Chicago established as the hottest music city in the United States outside of Miami, along with the backing of G.O.O.D. Music and a wider acceptance of spoken word poetry in the general public, G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Night is set to bring Yusef’s poetical fervor to the global stage.
At a time when America’s financial future is hanging in the balance and the threat of global warming continues to loom, 2009 feels like the perfect year for Yusef’s thinking-man ballads of religion, materialism, love, hate and racism, delivered over soulful and sophisticated live instrument backdrops.
G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Night is available now through Shock Records/G.O.O.D. Music