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LYRICAL MILITANT IN THE PRESS
Music Review – Lyrical Militant “Prelude To Revolution”
Publication: Winnipeg Free Press
Date: January 21, 2012
Written By: Rob Williams
Link To Original Article
HIS friends know him as Omar Zulfi, but behind the microphone the Winnipeg rapper goes by the name Lyrical Militant with a modus operandi of drawing attention to social ills and global issues. Zulfi issues a call to change the planet and start the healing on the soulful Humanity’s Tragedy, delves into pop on the inspirational Never Give Up, draws attention to materialism on Big Dreams and mixes Middle-Eastern melodies with contemporary hip hop on Nach Le.
Over the course of the 16-track album — the first of a planned trilogy — Zulfi is joined by a collection of top-notch producers, including DatPaki, Muneshine, Banz and Lomaticc who craft a diverse collection of beats and backing samples while guest vocalists like Flo, Dele O, Jahgo and Kapone provide the hooks on this professional sounding collection that could easily fit in on Top 40 radio and serves notice the revolution is coming. Three and a half stars
Album Review – Lyrical Militant “Prelude To Revolution”
Publication: The Gateway
Date: January 25, 2012
Written By: Peggy Jankovic
“What’s the point of rhyming if you ain’t philosophizing?” muses Lyrical Militant on “Humanity’s Tragedy.” A political rapper and emcee from Winnipeg, this album is strongly anchored in a socially-conscious perspective and Prelude to Revolution is to be the first album in a politically-charged trilogy.
Lyrical Militant’s strengths lie in his flow, his ability to incorporate South-Asian influences into his tracks and his occasional cheekiness. In particular, on “Big Dreams,” he first fantasizes about fat booty, fast cars and throwing money in the air. Then, with “Verse number one was satirical / So verse number two will be a lyrical miracle,” the song shifts to a call for action towards bringing the third world back from collapse….
Winnipeg hip hop artist Lyrical Militant shows Muslims can rap too
Publication: CBC Manitoba SCENE
Date: January 20, 2012
Written By: Nadia Kidwai
Link To Original Article
Lyrical Militant aka Omar Zulfi is launching his first commercial album Prelude to Revolution tonight at Rasoi on Corydon at 10:00 p.m.
Omar was born and raised in Thompson. His parents immigrated to Canada from Pakistan. Now this Muslim hip hop artist lives right here in Winnipeg. He’s been making a name for himself on the local scene and SCENE wanted to know about this thoughtful up and comer.
Nadia Kidwai caught up with him while he was getting ready for his launch party.
Some Muslims may find you a bit controversial; For instance some believe that music is frowned upon in Islam, even forbidden, there is swearing on your tracks, alcohol will be served at your launch etc. How do you reconcile your faith with the rap persona?
It’s funny, some Muslims would find me controversial but some non-Muslims would find me just as controversial. (I can’t make everyone happy.) I struggle with temptation and things that are considered forbidden in Islam because growing up, it’s all around you. But I am a believer in my faith, and I try to do the best I can. At the end of the day, God is my only judge.
Music can be used for good and for bad- It’s a tool, and like any tool (even a hammer) it can be used to either build or to destroy.
What do your parents think about all this?
My mother was actually the first and only one to truly support me following my dream when I was younger. My father was more of a battle, but he fully supports me now. He originally didn’t like it, but that’s more because, like most Pakistani parents, he insisted I go into science, engineering, medicine or law – the “safe” routes. But when he realized music was really my whole existence and what I was truly happy doing, he supported it. I don’t let him listen to all my music though! He wouldn’t like some of it. Hahaha.
Tell me about why a portion of your album sales are going towards the Canadian Cancer society?
The album is being released to the public on January 20, 2012. My mother actually passed away from Leukemia on January 20 four years ago. This whole project is dedicated to her. My mother was the first person to support me fully with the whole music thing. And she was a HUGE influence in my life growing up. So I think it’s only right to donate a portion of album sales to the Cancer Society in her name. She never got to see me do any of this stuff, but it’s all thanks to her.
What inspired your album Prelude to Revolution?
Prelude is about my take on a lot of different aspects of life today. Sometimes it just feels as if everything in the world, literally everything, is at a tipping point – and the only solution is
revolution. Not necessarily violent revolution, but serious change.
Thompson Rapper Lyrical Militant Set to Drop Debut Album
Publication: Thompson Citizen
Date: December 14, 2011
Written By: Matt Durnan
Link To Original Article
Born and raised in Thompson, rapper Lyrical Militant has been carving out his niche in the hip-hop game as far back as the age of 11. Known to some as Omar Zulfi, the emcee now resides in Winnipeg, where he’s wrapped up his first studio album Prelude to Revolution, set to drop Jan. 20.
Lyrical Militant took a few minutes for a question and answer session with Citizen reporter, Matt Durnan, to talk about his upcoming debut album,
MD: Thanks for taking the time, I guess my first question would have to be, where does the name Lyrical Militant stem from?
LM: I’ve really been into politics and learning about how the world works for the last number of years, it’s a passion of mine. Lyrical Militant came from the fact that I am Muslim and that’s the stereotypical image that a lot of people have of Muslims, that they’re militant or terrorists. I’m more about spreading knowledge, and I will fight for what I believe in, but I believe words and thoughts and ideas are better weapons than violence.
MD: When did you develop this passion for hip hop?
LM: Hip hop has always been a big part of my life; I’ve just always enjoyed the heavy beats and the rawness of it. I think I wrote my first rhyme when I was like 11 years old or something, and it just kind of stuck and I’ve been working on it ever since then.
MD: Coming from a smaller town such as Thompson, which isn’t really known for having a booming hip-hop scene, what were some challenges that you faced when you were trying to establish yourself as an artist?
LM: It was definitely a challenge, because even when I was in high school, the Internet wasn’t nearly as big as it is today. It was hard to stay up on the latest information on what was happening in the hip-hop scene. All we really got was the half hour of Rap City on Much Music. That was probably the biggest challenge in Thompson and even in Winnipeg, it was really isolated so the access to information was a challenge and you really had to dig deep to find what you were looking for.
MD: Definitely, so what was the hip-hop scene actually like while you were here in Thompson?
LM: It wasn’t really that big, a lot of people in Thompson were more in to rock or folk or country music. I mean there were a lot of people that loved hip hop but it wasn’t really that big. Getting people to actually listen to your music or give you the time of day and take you seriously was a real challenge.
MD: So you said you wrote your first rhyme at 11, what was the first song that you actually put down and recorded?
LM: It’s actually a song that I wrote a long time ago and is on the Prelude to Revolution album, it’s called “Magic Carpet Ride.” That’s the first song I really put together and felt that I could approach a record label with. It’s been constantly reworked and put on a number of different beats until I finally got it to a place where I’m really happy with it.
MD: Alright I wanted to avoid the cliché question of who are your influences, so let’s try it with a bit of a twist, and kind of talk about who from the Canadian hip-hop landscape inspires you, that you can relate to because they’ve come through the same market that you’re trying to corner.
LM: The first ones that come to mind are people like Kardinal Offishall, Classified, Choclair. Even on a bit more underground tip though there’s a lot of local people that I really like and am fans of. Swigfu is a local rap crew here in Winnipeg, and one of the guys from that crew is actually on my debut album. In terms of mainstream success though I really admire guys like Kardinal and Classified because they’ve been working at it for so long and it’s good to see them blowing up and getting more recognition.
MD: So the album drops in about a month from now, talk a bit about the title Prelude to Revolution and what to expect.
LM: Basically Prelude To Revolution means the situation in the world before we reach the breaking point. It’s like the timeline before things get so bad that a revolution has to happen to change them. It’s kind of a metaphor where a lot of things in our world are going and in some cases, where they’re at. The album starts off with some hopeful songs (Never Give Up, Better Place) and then the hope and prosperity degrades into self-indulgence with songs about money and drugs and partying. (Big Dreams, Four Twenty, Nach Le) And then it leads into songs about the current condition of a lot of different things from terrorism, sex in our culture/society, religion (Humanity’s Tragedy, Ho Story, Magic Carpet Ride, Fadda Abraham) – all this stuff that causes so many problems.
MD: What are the plans for after the album drops?
LM: I’m hoping I can get a tour together; I’d love to come back to Thompson and perform in front of my hometown. As far as the future musically, I have a concept in mind and Prelude to Revolution is the first part in a trilogy of albums where the next one will be called Revolution and the final instalment will be Evolution. I haven’t started writing for them yet, but that’s what’s on the horizon.
You can check out more information, music and twitter updates from Lyrical Militant at: lyricalmilitant.com
Publication: Uptown Magazine
Date: December 03, 2009
Download this Mixtape? Sure – but I’d gladly buy it. The debut full-length from Lyrical Militant is a satisfying synthesis of socially conscious (Hopes Exodus), sensitive (Been So Long) and shindig-suitable (Peg City, Four-Twenty) hip hop. With a strong lyrical flow and boss beats throughout, Download this Mixtape is always entertaining, but especially so when Lyrical Militant raps in an über-smooth style. On Been So Long, which features soul singer Flo, Militant is crazy cool, his suave tone sounding a bit like Q-Tip in A Tribe Called Quest’s classic, Bonita Applebum. Can Lyrical Militant kick it? Why yes, he can
ITS ALL ABOUT BALANCE
Lyrical Militant tempers the conscious with the carefree
Publication: Uptown Magazine
Date: January 07, 2010
Author: Jared Story
Download this Mixtape, indeed. Lyrical Militant’s 2008 release, available for free at www.lyrical militant.com, is a heady hip hop hodgepodge, a compilation that’s equal parts conscious and carefree. Lyrical Militant, born Omar Zee, looks to maintain that hip hop harmony with his forthcoming first full-length.
“I was hoping to get the album out for January, but 2009 went by so quickly it won’t be possible now. Hopefully it will still be ready for early 2010 though,” says Zee, 25. “It’s not going to be so underground. It’ll be a little more mainstream-friendly, more mass appeal. It will still be very conscious, but not too serious. There will be some fun tracks like there was on Download this Mixtape, just trying to make it a balanced album.”
Originally from Thompson, Man., Zee’s musical interest started in school, where he was trained in classical percussion and jazz drumming. A Muslim, Zee says he wrote his first song at age 11 while attending an Islamic summer camp. At 17, Zee became a DJ; by 19, he was producing.
“I always wanted to just be a producer but I love to write, too, so I combine the two,” Zee says. “It’s hard to find someone to work with that’s on the same thinking plane as you, someone who has the same outlook and creative inspiration.”
That said, Zee does work well with others. On Download This Mixtape he is joined by a number of guests, including soul singer Flo, songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Abstract Artform and, on the song Hopes Exodus, local MC SillyWilly and spoken-word artist BuddhaBLADE.
“I made the beat for that one awhile ago,” Zee says of the track. “It was a really chill beat and I knew I wanted to make a song about the state of the world in general. I feel like the time that we’re living in now has never been seen in history. A lot of people say that there has always been war and disease and hate and religious and political divide, but I don’t feel like it’s ever been at the point where it is today. When I made the beat, I started chanting this line, ‘If this is the best of us, this is hope’s exodus, never coming back to rescue us.’ It just fit. If we’re at the peak of our civilization technologically – and supposedly morally and spiritually – then we’re lost. Look at all the craziness in the world and you’ll see that this can’t be the best we can be. If this is the best we can be then hope is gone.”
A serious song like that stands in stark contrast to Four Twenty, Lyrical Militant’s rhyme on reefer – a contrast Zee says goes back to that idea of balance.
“It’s weird, a lot of people talk about image in the music business and how you have to have a clear-cut, a defined image,” he says. “Even in life, you’re always forced to choose something, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, Muslim, Christian, Jew, creationist, evolutionist, but I think they can go hand in hand. I think a lot of people are a little bit of both and there’s always this conflict going on inside people.”