On May 4th, Australian-Bangladeshi recording artist Saif released the track “Contemplate,” featuring vocals from Teja. Falling in line with other conscious hip-hop artists, the beat is centered around jazzy piano and hard-hitting drums. There are horns are points, but everything is focused on those two primary elements. According to Saif, the song is about “contemplating about life, the streets of Sydney, and being a musician.” One might even call this the conscious Australian “Empire State Of Mind.”

I am that one. Though “Contemplate” might never have the widespread appeal as “Empire State Of Mind” and the concept of having a sung chorus in a rap song is not even remotely a Jay-Z and Alicia Keys invention, the energy is the same. In the lyrics, Saif waxes poetic on the state of the world and his own life, with the most notable line being “They say life is sacred/Then why they hatin?” This not only calls global socio-political conflicts to mind, but also issues that are closer to home. In addition to lines like this, there are references to MF DOOM, Tupac, and Nas. Saif knows where his influences lie, and he wears them on his sleeve.

Some might say that’s a bad thing, but I’ve never had a problem with that. All artists are influenced by someone. Why shouldn’t they let us know who those influences are? When we can understand where an artist is coming from, it’s easier to buy into what they’re attempting.

“Contemplate” is a fantastic hip-hop song, and the energy in the beat is simultaneously up-tempo and contemplative. Check it out below, and let us know what you think!

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