An album is more than a mere random collection of songs. An album is the thread that weaves an assemblage of songs together into a beautiful tapestry of musical goodness. Each track harmonizes with the rest, sharing a snap shot of one overarching story. For this reason, selecting a proper album title is of the utmost importance!
As I was nearing completion of my most recent album, I was really struggling to come up with an album title that seemed to tie everything together. I had already written all of the songs I wanted to include on the album, and had recently begun the recording process for a few of them. At that particular stage of the process, I just so happened to have a very special trip planned with my wife Mallory…
A few months prior, we had submitted an application to go on a religious pilgrimage, as members of the Baha’i Faith, to the Baha’i Holy Land in Israel. In June 2016, we embarked on our pilgrimage, and had an incredibly spiritually-uplifting experience. We visited several holy sites, including the burial grounds of the Twin Holy Manifestations of the Baha’i Faith, The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. Throughout our pilgrimage, I offered up many prayers for my family, friends, community, the world, as well as myself. One such prayer was that God would help me to use my musical talents to be of service to others, and that the album I was working on would come together successfully.
One of the prayers I recited often on pilgrimage was a Baha’i prayer revealed for the Western States (including Arizona). Within the prayer, there is a passage that reads:
“Confirm me in Thy service, assist me with the cohorts of Thy angels, make me victorious in the promotion of Thy Word and suffer me to speak out Thy wisdom amongst Thy creatures.”
As a poet and rap artist, I couldn’t help but to feel drawn to phrase “suffer me to speak out Thy wisdom amongst Thy creatures”. I thought to myself, “this is what I should be doing with my music. Speaking out God’s wisdom.”
When I returned home, after some reflection, I realized that one of the threads that wove all of the songs from my album together was that they did, in fact, impart some spiritual wisdom. I quickly decided that that would be the title of the album. But not the regular old spelling! I decided to add some flavor to it, and spell it Wizdome. One of the things I really admire about rap and hip hop culture is the creativity and style of the art. Wizdome reflects not only the pearls of wisdom you’ll find in my songs, but also the wizard-like magic of rap, as well as the intellectually stimulating lyrics that activate your dome.
After deciding on Wizdome as the album title, I felt really strongly that the album needed one more song. I started thinking about my creative process as an artist, and felt it would be cool to rap about it. I thought back to a song I had heard recently by legendary rapper Rakim where he spelled out his name in the hook, similar to an acrostic poem.
And then, like magic, the feature track for the album was born! The lyrics began pouring out of my soul:
W – words are creative when endowed with spirit,
I – will reflect the light and beam it to your soul,
Z – zip zap, spitting these magic lyrics like a wizard,
D-O-M-E – it’s headed straight for your dome!
I started searching for beats that matched the flow and vibe of the hook I had written, and almost instantly found the perfect one. Over the next few of days, I wrote a couple verses to describe my creative process as a Baha’i-inspired, spiritually conscious rapper, and I knew I had the track that would tie the rest of the songs and album together. It was a glorious feeling! And most certainly an answer to my prayers from pilgrimage :).
Wizdome was not only the album title and the album’s feature track title, but also the debut music video for the album, as well as the main theme and opening track performed at the album release event. So while it was the last song written, it sprung to the forefront of the project! Because it was the last song written for the album, I feel that it is also the track on the album with the most advanced rap flow and rhyme schemes, as I’ve been continually developing my skills as a rapper with each song I produce. It is a doozy to perform live!
The music video was also really fun to create! I wanted to highlight the city of Phoenix, as well as the Sunnyslope neighborhood where I reside. I also was hoping to highlight some local art that reflected my lyrics. My good friend/cinematographer Brian and I scouted some locations around the Valley, and found a couple murals that really matched the vibe of the video.
One mural, outside the Pathways to Education school near 7th Street and McDowell, highlights several spiritual qualities, including “respect”, “honor”, and “resilience”, which vibed with the spiritual nature of the song. Another mural, along Roosevelt Row, featured an open mind with a light bulb, which also deeply connected with consciousness-raising aim of the lyrics.
The backdrop for the Sunnyslope location was the Sunnyslope Community Center park, where I had volunteered as a mentor to a group of youth in my community for the past few years. It all really came together to make one of my favorite music videos!
I hope you too enjoy the song, video, and album, and that after listening through, you are left with at least a little nugget of… WIZDOME! 🙂
What do you think of the song and music video? Any lyrics that resonate? Any scenes that captivate? Share your thoughts with a comment below!