Pasadena-based vocalist Qur’an Shaheed first started to get recognition performing her original music in and around Los Angeles. Her collaborations with Ktown Oddity and The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra—of which her father Nolan Shaheed is also a member—reflect the path she has chosen to pursue in the industry. Shaheed works alongside artists who see music as a powerful construct, a healing entity. Process, her debut EP, speaks calmly, making level-headed moves in that same spirit of upliftment.
In Process, Shaheed covers the gambit, which lyrics ranging from relationship goals, to shutting off technology for mindfulness and rising up from being wounded. Her five-song care package speaks with immediacy and a deep running persistence that makes the release resonate within its 16 minutes.
Listen. With a poorly-handled pandemic and a gargantuan election on the horizon, preparations through meditative type frequencies can help us all, no matter the outcome. Clear thinking has no expiration date.
According to Shaheed, the 28-year-old pianist, poet, singer, and songwriter, Process is a culmination of personal growth and discovery three years in the making. This pragmatic lyricist, who plays keys in Jimetta Rose’s gospel choir The Voices of Creation, speaks from the personal and writes from themes that touch on pop psychology 101.
This type of boom-bap self-help, the LA underground funk-forward good stuff right here? It should come with lumbar support. Gurgling at half-time meter, vibrating with bottom-heavy frequencies, it checks all the boxes for spacey metronome soul.
The opener “Reach,” full of squiggly Sylvia Striplin basslines, methodically plays interpreter to Shaheed’s stream of heartspeak; “You sit in my room turning my perfectly cultivated space into your own stage.” The song sets the moment of open dialogue between two lovers seeking resolution. This couple is listening to one another. Transferring, seeking out collective healing.
“Press Off” plunks forward bass-wise, sharing commentary on the diversion that smartphones supply, the way they steer us away from clarity and peace. Cruising along to that nebula slap from this Soulquarian 2.0 outfit, they give off interstellar humidity. Shaheed sing-raps her internet choices; “Should I eat that, would I buy that, do we save that, heh stupid lemme share that, gotta have that, fuck that.”
The project is expertly backed up by Diego Gaeta, Jessie Justice, and Mekala Session, members of Human Error Club, an experimental synth outfit from LA, along with Aaron & Lawrence Shaw of Black Nile. They form the auditory heart of Process, where the band interprets these plain-spoken modes with loose jazz phrasing and satellite orbit neo-soul.