Local hip-hop artist, funk band collaborate on album

Local hip-hop artist, funk band collaborate on album

Local hip-hop artist, funk band collaborate on album
November 05
03:53 2015

Chad Robertson | Staff Writer

@chadr0b

With a little help from jazz-funk musician Toshi Clinch, hip-hop artist Thani Abuhamad is advancing his musical prowess.

Clinch, a 21-year-old jazz studies senior, wanted to push his funk band UFO out of its comfort zone. So he called up Abuhamad, 20, in June and pitched his idea to collaborate on some new pieces of music.

“UFO is comprised of some of the best musicians I’ve gotten the chance to work with,” Abuhamad said. “These guys are able to add things and change things to my original music, to mold it in a way that I couldn’t do alone.”

Local freelance rap artist and junior music major Thani Abuhamad practices with UFO, a local funk rock group in Voertman Hall on November 3. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

Local freelance rap artist and junior music major Thani Abuhamad practices with UFO, a local funk rock group in Voertman Hall.  Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

Collaboration between UFO and Abuhamad is well underway after the hip-hop artist finished up some new tracks in the summer. Now they’re putting in over 100 hours of rehearsal to finish their album, “Response,” in the spring of 2016.

“Every week has changed where the album will end up and what it will accomplish,” Abuhamad said. “We just know we are making a product that is capable and worthy of being as professional as possible.”

Abuhamad said after returning from a month-long visit to his parent’s native country of Lebanon a few years ago, he realized he needed to go back overseas to change the hip-hop scene in a positive way.

“The hip-hop they listen to over there isn’t wrapped in the ideas of hope, peace and joy,” Abuhamad said. “God told me that I needed to go back to Lebanon so I could minister through music.”

Abuhamad immersed himself in hip-hop after beat boxing with local rapper Princeton Marcellis in January 2014 at an open mic night on campus. Marcellis ended up inviting Abuhamad to go on tour with him, and the two performed around the country from March to September 2014.

“I didn’t pick hip-hop,” Abuhamad said. “It picked me.”

Now he and UFO spend their Tuesday and Thursday nights rehearsing for hours on end. The passion in each musician’s face is clearly evident during rehearsals as they try to perfect each song.

Some of the different sounds produced by local funk rock group UFO. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

Some of the instruments used to make different sounds in the songs produced by local funk rock group, UFO. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

“In terms of college students, it’s impressive and crazy to think that we are able to do this,” Clinch said.

The artists plan to finish rehearsing on Dec. 5, and they expect post-production and mixing to take an additional two months.

Abuhamad and the band have high hopes for the album and have considered doing a few gigs at South By Southwest or submitting the album for a possible Grammy nomination.

“Our prospect isn’t so much on the distant future, but more on the here and now,” Abuhamad said. “We would love for this album to gain some speed so we could have opportunities after the release.”

Abuhamad and the band are both anticipating that the album will affect their own careers. But Clinch said this is Thani’s album, and UFO is more like the “house band” playing in the background.

“I told him from the get go that this is his thing,” Clinch said. “This is all his album.”

Abuhamad said he is using this album as the base of his portfolio for his professional music career and wants to be able to reflect on the album when coming up with new music.

“My view is focused on moving to Lebanon after college and missioning there,” Abuhamad said. “This will be my official debut into the art world, and I’m trying to use this as much as a training experience as possible.”

Featured Image: Local freelance rap artist and junior music major Thani Abuhamad practices with UFO, a local funk rock group in Voertman Hall on Tuesday. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photograper

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