Death is inevitable. This is the argument that was put forth by some as reason enough to halt the social distancing measures put in place to quell the spread of coronavirus. Wouldn’t it be better to get it over with now, they ask—to cull the weak so that those left alive might thrive? The problem with that, of course, is that even in our pre-pandemic world, life was never guaranteed, and forsaking our mandate to to cherish and celebrate life goes against the very core of what makes us human.
Nick Hakim’s new single “QADIR” is named for his late friend, Qadir Imhotep West, who passed away in 2018 at age 25 and whose childhood portrait graces the cover. Over the span of seven and a half minutes, Hakim constructs a monument of sonics for his departed friend, building it with reverberant drums and peals of keyboard and flute. He fills that palace with the voices of KeiyaA, Pink Siifu, and Oyinda. Their timbres coalesce, wafting into the air like incense smoke. Hakim’s recursive lyrics are grounded not in his own pain, but in hope and community; they imagine a better world. “There seems to be a complexity to being kind,” he cries out. “To your space, to your temple, to your neighbors.” There’s never been a better time for this reminder of the importance of care.
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