Between his mother’s native Newark, New Jersey and his father’s New Bern, North Carolina…between
the contrasting cultures of the middle east and westernized America…between the federal jurisdiction of Washington
DC, and the fundamentally faulty Jim Crow of Maryland State…there is Bilal Salaam.
Named by his father
after Islam’s first caller to prayer, Bilal Muhammad Salaam studied classical voice at The University of The Arts(Philadelphia)
and journalism at Morgan State University(Baltimore). While attending Morgan and touring with the choir, he became enamored
with the city’s developing open mic scene, where he met up with a collective called Urban Ave 31(W.Ellington Felton,
Omar Retnu(The Els), Raheem DeVaughn). Their social sayings spoke synonymically with his soul, jolted him to join, and when
one of UA31’s members decided to pursue a solo career, Bilal migrated to the DC metro area to volunteer his vocal assistance.
Jaded with the oblique angles of the music industry, he vented on his solo(import only) release “Blah (Time Between
Asleep and Awake)”, via “Modern Day Slavery”, “Noohustle”, and “Dope”.
Bilal’s aural intake, consisting of coarse, crackly, old soul chops via Wu-Tang, and Boot Camp, along with super-slick
vocal progressions ala Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and Singers Unlimited, yields a sonic sforzando-filled baritone beyond
his years, and a compositional conception that would make the coolest cats cock their heads left.
He brings along
with him the inspiration of a host of burgeoning DC artists including Muhsinah, Nicholas Ryan Gant and Op Swamp 81(Slimkat78,
Dre King, DaNedra, Bilal Salaam). He has recently digitally released a solo EP entitled “Langue De Rasoir (Razor Tongue)”
and with the aforementioned Op Swamp 81, completed a project called “Peau Noire Masques Blancs (Black Skin White Masks)”.
OP Swamp 81 video for "Another
produced by W. Ellington Felton