Sa Ra Creative Partners.
Where do I begin? How can one define Sa Ra for the ones that have never heard of SA RA. I’ll try… Here we go:
Sa Ra is a trio of artists / producers / musicians that consists of Om’Mas Keith , Taz Arnold and Shafiq Husayn, three very individual creatures that once united together, create individual music to say the least. If there was a hotel in outer space called The Galaxy, Sa Ra would be played in The Milky Way, the exquisite bar of that same hotel. Personally for me, Sa Ra would be a perfect soundtrack for any of my dreams, my daydreams, my nightmares and yes even my lucid ones. Mystical, funkadelic, psychedelic, delirious, futuristic, hip hop on a racing asteroid are a few words that might explain the collective a bit better.
When you hear it for the first time, it is definitely a new experience for your ears. Is it ‘easy’ music? Not really. Is it popular music? No. Is it good music? Yes. What started as something ‘underground’ with Sa Ra producing beats, melodies, tunes for people like Dr Dre (ghostproducing on 2001) Pharaohe Monch, Bilal, Erykah Badu, Ice T and working with The Neptunes, Kanye West and Jay-z to name a few (= Sa Ra Creative Partners) turned out to them producing an album for themsèlves and all equal souls in the world that might get touched by their music. (= Sa Ra)
When BBC Radio 1’s Gilles Peterson praised their single ‘Glorious’, the world was officially ready for the rise of the mighty SA RA and their first album: The Hollywood Recordings. They held their underground position for a while but with the threesome starting to follow their own paths and creative influences in life they drew even more attention to the hip hop cartel called Sa Ra.
Taz Arnold, a fashionista with a capital T and a love for bling, grills and various notorious masks, sunglasses, baseball caps and leather bags suddenly got worldwide attention of multiple fashion magazines and blogs when he appeared at the Comme Des Garcons show for Paris Fashion week with fellow buddy Kanye West on this picture that travelled the world faster than Buzz Lightyear:
Yes. He is wearing skinny leopard pants with boots. Needless to say that the hip hop community raised an eyebrow. This was definitely something they were not used to. Taz Arnold has his own fashion line called This Is So Arnold, (TI$A) works on Kanye West’s Pastel line and is working on a line with MCM, the legendary luggage brand. I wonder. Does he sleep? Om’Mas Keith visually appeared on Diddy’s Making The Band but has actually been in the music booth since he was a teenager, child of a musicians family, growing up in studios and working on albums with Mobb Deep and Lauryn Hill. Om’Mas Keith is currently working on P. Diddy’s latest album. Shafiq Husayn, the founder member of Sa Ra just released a highly acclaimed solo album that carries the name Shafiq En A Free Ka and is getting wonderful reviews for his motherland inspired album.
Pfiew! How did I do…? Actually, there is so much to say about Sa Ra (Creative Partners) since their influence and creativity stretches out in places, directions, you would never think they were involved, both musically as in in fashion, but for now this little introduction should do. I think. So… Needless to say, the moment I found out that Sa Ra was booked by the fellas from DEMOCRAZY in Ghent , I knew that I needed these three gents for my blog.
Sa Ra was currently touring Europe to promote their latest album release: Nuclear Evolution: The Age Of Love. When I arrived at the venue I noticed the public consisted of a specific public with that specific taste for specific music. I quickly found out that Shafiq Husayn was not present since he was currently busy promoting his own solo album and I felt a little disappointment wave coming over me since that meant that I would not have the threesome on Polaroid and that I would not hear nor see Shafiq Husayn live. Bummer in a cold summer. But hey, that’s life.
It was a joy to hear those Sa Ra melodies out so loud. It has been a while since I played their album at home, so to hear them live and out loud for me personally was very cool. Although I missed something in their performance, can’t really explain what, and I rather prefer to see them in a different environment than the Democrazy venue at Minnemeers, I have to admit, that the music, the beats, the melody, the vibe speak for themself. Powerful.
If I had unlimited control and money (I’m dreaming out loud here folks, don’t pay too much attention) I would place them in a slow motion Space Mountain area. Yes, I am talking about the Disneyland Space Mountain attraction. How totally awesome would it be if you could do that same ride in (very) slow motion with your eyes open with a live Sa Ra in the back. Or maybe I am just weird. But I think it would uplift everyone’s experience of a SA RA live concert and it is just an addition of my point in seeing Sa Ra in a more creative space. But that’s just me.
The concert ended and it was time for Jules and I to work for that Polaroid picture. The minute we saw movement coming from the fences that lead to the backstage area we aimed full force for our goal. The first person we talked with was immediately the right one. I explained my project, powered with my iTouch and the staff member, after brief consideration, decided he would propose the idea to Sa Ra without any promises. Right before he left, he looked at us and said: “So far, you have great result girls, keep it up, I’ll do my best” Finally. Hallelujah. God sends out his angels that lead us to Polaroid heaven after enduring the summer of festival HELL. (Yes, we are STILL traumatized) So when somebody was flashing a bright light of a flashlight right into our eyes it was literally the sign ànd approval to go backstage. The staff member escorted us backstage, and told us: “Ok, you can go in NOW, and you have ONE minute”
1 minute. = 60 seconds. After the first second I already suffered from severe nervous behaviour and a heat flash. By the time I entered the backstage area and introduced my partner in crime, Jules, and myself, I was sweating like a horse and while explaining the project to the boys I heard my voice tremble. E – VE – RY – TIME. Why oh why can’t I be the cool, calm, gun blazin’, charming girl. Both Taz Arnold and Om’Mas Keith listened carefully to what I had to say and agreed on me asking them if they would be a part of this little blog.
Exhibit: Me explaining (nervously) while the boys listening
Now this is where things stopped going the way I wanted to. While the boys were getting fashionably ready for the picture , I took a good look at that backstage room and to my HORROR there was not 1 free wall and the whole tiny room was packed, stuffed, filled with CRAP.
One wall was a giant make up mirror with light bowls, one wall consisted of two windows with ugly eggshell curtains and on the other two walls there were multiple shelves piled with CRAP. I repeat. CRAP. You guys know I like a nice wall with nice monotone colors right? The only option I had were the eggshell nasty curtains, but OFCOURSE there were 2 giant steel hairdresser chairs that could NOT be removed standing in the way. I was trying to push them away a little bit, but I aint no heavy weight lifter, so for a minute I did not know what to do. (Jules told me I made a very neurotic chaotic and bizar impression)
Om’Mas suggested to drag them away for me, but the idea of Om’Mas and Taz Arnold lifting heavy iron chairs made me even more nervous than I actually was. I could already see it before me: “SA RA tour canceled due to backstage accident caused by unnecessary heavy weight lifting for Polaroid Purpose.” Naaaaah….Don’t think so… The minute I was going to suggest to take the picture in the hallway, the staff member suggested to take the picture with some props that were standing on those ugly shelves. I doubted, but I was already there for more than 5 minutes and I felt more nervous with every second passing by and I just wanted to take the picture since there were people waiting for an interview with Sa Ra. So I agreed. I put away some CRAP and tried to make the best of it.
Exhibit: Om’Mas Keith posing between all the ….pay attention to Taz Arnolds amazing bag on the left.
Exhibit: Taz Arnold flaunting that Fendi Jacket.
You know we have eye for detail so we wanted you guys to have a proper look on this:
(Jealous? Broke? Below you can find out how and where you can get your own knuckle rings from his line)
Now…although the suggestion came from a good place, it was a bad decision… You don’t have the mighty SA RA in your presence every day and both Taz Arnold aswell as Om’Mas Keith are esthetic eye candy, and for me, coming from a fashion background, these two individuals were even more important and I should have at least asked them to go in the hallway. Like we say in Belgium: a NO you’ve got already, a YES might be given. I am not very pleased with my Polaroid pictures If I am completely honest. Bad framing due to all the CRAP in the room. ( I nearly fell over one of those hairdresser chairs, you know, back in the day those chairs had like an iron pedestal where you could place your feet on…? Exactly.) And basically too much going on ìn the picture because of all the CRAP. I wanted to show so much more but It was just not meant to be. So…I’ll stop nagging about the things I don’t have and be greatfull for the things I received. It’s never really how you want it to be. Pursuing Perfection is a heavy burden and I console myself by the fact that things are far more interesting when they are not so perfect. Like the lips of Joaquin Phoenix. Love for the mighty SA RA,
Ps: When I gave my card to Taz Arnold and Om’Mas (Yes, I am recently the proud owner of my own cards, how pro is that !) Om’Mas looked at my cards and said: “Wow, vèry nice card miss.” You know what they say: it’s about the small things in life.
And for the real lovers, this is a video Taz Arnold made to promote President Obama: