People You Should Know: Rasheed Jamal
The first time I heard Rasheed Jamal, I was a fan. Since, I’ve seen him perform a handful of times and it always leaves me giggling. Whenever he’s not on the mic, he’s usually on the side of the stage doing push-ups or making silly faces at the crowd. Dude will stick his tongue out no less that 5 times throughout the show and always always always sheds a shirt or two before the night is over. And don’t let him catch you in the crowd after a performance. You never know what he’ll say in passing. He’s truly a silly character. His music is a bit more serious though, whether its revolutionary thoughts or romanticized bars. Between his diverse content, his playful stage persona, his intelligence, his swag and his slight southern drawl, what’s not to like?
Hailing from Hot Springs, Arkansas, Rasheed has made a home for himself here in Portland and teamed up with St. John’s natives Glenn Waco and Mic Capes to form the Resistance. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with both Mic and Glenn but this was my first chance to chat it up with the ever allusive (yes I meant allusive and not illusive. It works) Rasheed Jamal. I knew any attempt to dig below the surface would offer a wealth of interesting information and I’m anxious to share it with you. Check him out.
Who are you?
My name is, Rasheed Jamal Washington, known professionally as Rasheed Jamal.
What do you do?
I am a recording artist/entrepreneur/motivational coach/seeker/pessimistic optimist. I have a gift of pushing people to take the dreaded first step in following that little voice that dares them to be different. We never realize the effect we have on people, or how big the little things are, but it’s not always the lecture that inspires. Sometimes it’s the smile or the head nod that gives someone that extra push. Sometimes it’s just the fact that you acknowledge them striving. You never know what people are going through.
Artistically speaking, I do what feels right at the time even if I don’t completely understand what I’m saying or doing. The best results come from completely letting go and allowing the work to do what it does. I’m a conduit for what is being said regardless of whether it is uplifting, introspective, or egotistical. It’s my expression. Some of it is easier to understand than others. I’m the type of guy that will write an album in a week off of impulse. Or, I may take a year or two to find every little bit and piece of what I need to get the point across with a single song. I appreciate artists that get consumed in their work to the point that they live in their own world. I’m one of those.
When did you start doing it?
The day I was born. Really, I started doing music out of boredom. I’m an only child, so I spent a lot of time alone growing up, thinking. Consequently, as an adult I spend a lot of time alone, thinking. Other than playing basketball, I listened to my radio all day, and drew cartoons. We had a lot of local talent in Hot Springs when I was growing up, so it was kind of a natural thing for me to start rapping since I was memorizing music of all kinds for so long. I would say the law of attraction led to me living a lifestyle of being around musicians and aspiring rappers. Since then though to me it seems normal.
Why should we like it?
I make music for people who want to “feel” somethin’… Music puts me in a place of reflection and there are some songs and albums that are like time capsules. It never gets old. The things I say today are written to be understood later. As long as you have content that has yet to be revealed it will never get “old.” There is value in that.
On a personal note, Rasheed is a dope individual. Even without the music his charisma and all around realness will draw you in. Thanks again for sharing with us, Sheed. I’m excited to hear what new work you may have coming for us. Don’t keep me waiting too long, though.