Inspiring others through his focused storytelling, Mamadou., the Harlem-based rapper, new to the scene in 2019, has just brought us his debut project, To Stitch a Rose. Drawing from life experiences as a first-generation Malian man in Harlem, his relationship with religion, or simply being a young adult, Mamadou. gives an in-depth analysis of his life through stylistic bliss and genuine hip-hop.
Mirroring his multi-dimensional storylines, the versatile project provides deeply layered sonic elements, presenting a roundedly sophisticated atmosphere for the listener. Tapping into his respect for lyricism and writing, Mamadou. shows us he can be vulnerable and wise, setting the scene for a gripping artistic career ahead of him.
We had the opportunity to chat with Mamadou. about his debut project and what made him the artist he is today. Get to know him below:
Hey Mamadou, hope you’re doing well during these unprecedented times. We’d love to start off by getting to know you a little more. Could you tell us some of the basics? Your age, where you’re from, are you signed, what instruments do you play, do you produce?
Peace y’all. I’m Mamadou., I’m a 20-year-old poet, songwriter, producer, and artist from Harlem, New York. My family is originally from Bamako, Mali. I’m currently an independent artist. I can play the piano and the guitar a little bit. And I produce, using Logic Pro as my primary DAW.
How would you describe your music?
I would describe my music as very chord and melody-driven, stream-of-consciousness approaches in lyricism, soulful, neo-soul journeys, retrospective, emotionally vulnerable, and healing/therapeutic.
How would you describe your creative process?
For me, it depends and fluctuates. Sometimes playing a loop and mumbling a
flow/rhyme scheme is how it starts for both my poetry and music. Just so I can get in that pocket. Then based on the current mood or the feels that a beat invokes, I start filling words into it. Sometimes though it doesn’t come like that. My creative process also comes through my physical and mental travels. Something that I may observe might translate into a line or two that I jot down in my notes and come back and flesh out later.
How and why did you get started with music?
Growing up, writing poetry has always been my first love. It’s been the way how I’ve navigated and reflected on the experiences of my life and the people around me. When I left Harlem and went to high school, I further explored different avenues and ways of expression in the art form of writing. So, I started dabbling into music. By my senior year in high school, I released a mixtape kinda culminating my time in high school. But, in my sophomore year of college, working on my debut album with my brothers Donovan Simpson and Krishna Canning shifted gears in my focus with it. Timing was everything. In that time of creating the album, the music and writing became more and more like therapy, like the right thing that I should be doing at that moment. So, I started putting more attention, thought, and care into the craft.
Who or what are your biggest musical influences?
My biggest musical influences, past and present, are 2Pac, Jodeci, Giveon, Blood Orange, Saba, Mick Jenkins, Brent Faiyaz, Noname, Sekouba Bambino, and Salif Keita.
What advice would you give to others based on your experiences as an artist?
Don’t compromise. Let the art arise from necessity and it will speak volumes.
As an artist, what are some of your major goals in the next five years?
To create a platform where I cultivate a space for young Black men to feel secure being emotionally vulnerable through the art of poetry, music, visual art, etc. I want to be a multifaceted artist; publish poetry collection, publish some books, songwrite/produce for other artists I admire (Saba, Mick Jenkins, Brent Faiyaz), be financially secure and provide for my family, maintain the positive messages that I want to put the world (Black empowerment, Islam, finding deep love within yourself, healing, therapy, mental health, spirituality), and just keep evolving as an overall writer.
Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming album, “To Stitch a Rose”?
“To Stitch a Rose” dives into the psyche and consciousness of an 18-19 year old Mamadou. as he navigates and reflects on his coming of age as a 1st generation Malian man in Harlem. The album embodies the different vignettes of Mamadou.’s inner thoughts as he grapples with his experience dealing with young intimate relationships, with unexpected emotions coming from loss. “To Stitch a Rose” is a sentimental and intimate journey of evolution, the process of unlearning and learning for the young Harlem poet. The loss and revitalization of faith when things fall apart. Within himself. Within his Islamic faith. Within his Harlem-Mali identity. To stitch himself back into the rose Allah nurtured him to be.
What are you listening to right now?
A lot of Sonder, Giveon, Keith Sweat, and Patti Labelle.