Evidence Of Things Not Seen

by Gabriel Teodros & SoulChef

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about

"Multi-talented and community-engaged, veteran MC Gabriel Teodros releases his strongest album yet."
- City Arts Magazine

"Sunday-morning easy, SoulChef's classic, hearth-warm production fits the "30 Something, Hella Single" wanderer-MC like fresh socks as he steps out looking for love ("I kinda flirt with existence"), meaning, and home."
- Larry Mizell Jr., The Stranger

"Besides depth packed lyrical content, there is something bottomless and heart grippingly soothing about Teodros’ music. It’s like the perfect synthesis of jazz-tinged soul with Hip-Hop, or it’s like when Hip-Hop meets love and love meets Hip-Hop"
- Amira Ali, Africa Speaks 4 Africa

credits

released October 28, 2014

Full album download includes a digital book of lyrics.

Written by Gabriel Teodros *
Produced, mixed & mastered by SoulChef (Auckland, New Zealand)
Cover art by Masood Tahir (London, UK)

* After Dark co-written with Jonathan Emile; Greeny Jungle co-written with Shakiah; Black Love co-written with Sarah MK
All tracks recorded in GT's mobile studio at various locations in Seattle, WA; Toronto, ON and Montreal, QC.

Official Videos
Greeny Jungle featuring Shakiah: youtu.be/H29PcUbc6Tk
Black Love featuring Sarah MK: youtu.be/Jr5vRaQWJdE
Light Attracts Light & Everything Else Too: youtu.be/oiZNCT1DJPM

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Gabriel Teodros & SoulChef Seattle, Washington

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Track Name: Trans-African Highway Part 2
(after Munit Mesfin)

Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Asmera, Khartoum, Harare, Hargeza, Mogadishu, Kigali, Kinshasa, Dar es Salaam, Lagos, Accra, Dakar, Kampala, Lusaka, Johannesburg, Durban, and Pretoria, Freetown, Cape Town, Cairo, Casablanca, Tunis, Algiers, Tripoli, Luanda, Bamako, Maputo, Abuja, Kumasi, Yaounde, Mwanza, Dodoma, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Juba, Lilongwe, Bujumbura, Bangui, Brazzaville, Mombasa, Lomé, Bissau, Djibouti, Monrovia...
city to city, whole continent, Africa...
unified especially in the mind of diaspora

slums to the village, townships to the gritty core
to refugee camps and lands plagued by war
youth that don't speak their language no more
ancestors kidnapped off shores
empires built by work that's forced
for hundreds of years there's an African source
for all american culture exports
there's nothing more beautiful than Black to me
nothing more complex then our history
Sankofa followed me since they first said go back
and get what you lost, fractals in a cross
everytime i rhyme i'm carrying a torch
can't shake it
it's more sacred than i could say
in some ways, a stage is the only place i'm safe
to shine all ways with my true spirit face
Mulatu Astatke taught me bout grace
i'm still learning, may my actions give thanks
for all those who came, and walked through the flames
carried scars and the pain and lived anyway
who passed on a joy deeper then any shame
we are healing in public
you call it a game
i want my heart to touch yours and to break all chains
free the land, free the people, may the borders erase

to build a future, know from where you came
Track Name: Bus Stops
"how could you understand the pain
if you never had to stand under the rain
when it rains it pours, and it's about to come down hard
thank god, i found you" - Lonnie Rashid Lynne, Jr.

hoodies and soup
caffeine and a mic booth
i grew up in seattle
where the sun don't like you
nag champa scented all deep in my vinyl
it's a small town
those skeletons gon find you
where every crack in the pavement reminds you
of a lost soul in the clouds take time to
remember em, but live
for the lives cut short
fallen angels hold me up on this path i walk
in high school i thought i'd be outlined in chalk
before graduation, but out my class i dropped
used to be ashamed my gear came from thrift shops
never thought a rapper from my town would make that pop
life is unpredictable and it don't stop
i got a little following in every city i rock
i'm out to the airport, after a long walk
through my city it's the same
chillin at the bus stop

"how could you understand the pain
if you never had to stand under the rain
when it rains it pours, and it's about to come down hard
thank god, i found you"

my whole city lacks vitamin d
growing up my favorite producer was Vitamin D
before we intercontinental collaborated with ease
i was beacon hill, southend to c.d.,
downtown and all city
rocking it
wherever the cipher's lit
i was probably the beatbox that ignited it
if it wasn't Sun
we were hungry and young
ready to battle anyone
fools hated when we showed em
no respect at all
with our backs to the wall tho
i used to sleep on a floor & wear Asun's coat
when i didn't have my own
i'll share anything i own
that's just how we have grown up
love for all my close ones
who thrive with no funds
watching music take us from
unknown to a worldwide touch
it's cliche to say
but Hip Hop saved us
and i'm still on the bus stop
what?

"how could you understand the pain
if you never had to stand under the rain
when it rains it pours, and it's about to come down hard
thank god, i found you"
Track Name: Freq
i'm a freak of the industry
frequently on my own frequency
freaking beats to find freedom and release
freestyles on this life i breathe
everyday's a big cipher to me
writing raps like Frida painted
pain into medicine
we freeze the moment and edit it
fire in penmanship
feel it all, don't run from
energy it comes from
native tongues
stolen drums
culture
made of where i'm from
celebrated by everyone
but just in small pieces
these are the freedom calls
heard from African villages
far from the continent
they call it Hip Hop?
it's a house
on a house
and that house got robbed
we are volcanic rock carved
Lalibela
temples in our own right
bees recognize it
your life is priceless
they gon try to buy it
deny it
and cause violence
i'm freestyling til we feel freedom from fear
from a frequency that you could barely hear in your ear
it's genetic code
my grandma's mom engineered
and these are moments that we should all hold dear
i'm a spirit in a shell
and i don't know who steers
a freak and a follower of funk and of soul
of punk and of folk
and genres unknown
just destined to flow
the only time i feel freedom tho
is freeing these songs
free in these songs
i'm a freak of the industry
frequently on my own frequency
freaking beats to find freedom and release
freestyles on this life i breathe
everyday's a big cipher to me
Track Name: After Dark (featuring Jonathan Emile)
"You don't have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back. It is one of those songs that somebody, somewhere, will always be singing." - James Baldwin

on nights like these
i write my dreams
reach across seas
when i should be sleep
half-dead in the daytime
feel no peace
life's on a hyphen
in-between
sip caffeine
sink deep into memory
these old songs
are connected to everything
dust on stacks of wax
we call classics
buildings we used to lean on
that have crashed since
& i don't want to stay stuck in the past
but without then
now's just hard to grasp
foundation
without them
i just can't
keep building
or breathing
i need my fam
but we scattered like satellites
around the map
so home is a journey now
wherever i'm at
missing someone
reunited with another
and if i did stay
i can't help but wonder


as time passes
i sit with me
skyping with closies
while sipping tea
in a crowded cafe
reading your face
smiles and silences
can't be replaced
subtleties in voice
i could almost taste
it's like touching home
but with no embrace
and i'm thankful
even for knowing you at all
and that we both take time to call
i'm not alone
as long as i know
your out there too
i'd rather spend my days
taking long walks with you
but i can't
so focused
on what i got to do
cross continents
it's hard
to just come through
i'm not trying to diss here
but i miss you
and i feel more alive
when i'm with you
if you
think of me
reach out and touch
my heart knows no distance
i love you so much
Track Name: 30 Something, Hella Single
i'm 30 something, hella single
a natural flirt that forgot how to mingle
how to chill
how to meet somebody new
i'm all into exactly what i'm in to
and can't be swayed, yo
i don't play games, no
i'm not really serious
don't feel my age tho
i still take time slow
don't go on dates, nah
at least not intentional
build friendships first
and if the timing and alignment works
of unified passions + complimentary quirks
i would dive head first in
something like 9th & Jean Grae "love thirst"ing
i am open
can't say i'm searching
i'm still learning how to be the person i want to be for me
i want a love that frees everybody involved
and watch walls dissolve
evolve with another
have a whole year of summer
every year
like a smart bird
but me and my migration patterns awkward
as i grow i'm learning to own it all
and see my personality as beauty, not flaws

not all who wander are lost

even tho i walk don't own a car... and you will never catch me at a bar... i don't watch sports at all... not all who wander are lost


i'm taking care of me
so i can be as healthy as i want you to be
i want mutuality
a life full of laughter
and a love i can't talk myself out of
the courage to accept any outcome
to feel silly and still grown up
sober and clear
with a crush that's an
inspiration
to step my life game up
i've been heartbroken but can love again
i'm flirtatious
go on dates with friends
on accident
but i'm learning to listen
to what my cells say
body, intuition
sapiosexual: attracted to intellect
life's unpredictable
there's no way to see the next
i'm probably too careful with investment
once you accept it
it turns into a blessing
just like any expression
making love can be prayer
and so can a kiss
you can't settle for less
once you've experienced this
i may stay single but shh...

not all who wander are lost

and i didn't go to college at all... but i teach at the colleges now...
and i will never fit in a box... not all who wander are lost...
Track Name: Light Attracts Light & Everything Else Too
being an independent hip hop artist has taught me more about loving without expectations than anything else

"Be the music you want to hear." - Khingz

they wonder if it's worth it
people my age say they dreams desert them
i work completely uncertain
if anyone'll feel it
just know that it is healing
and enough for me
i bleed publicly
believe love should be critical and free to go
see i don't fit into a role
that they have given me before
and won't shrink down to make em feel safe now
i flow for the same reasons that i first started
purpose won't change
i could stay uncharted
or go nuclear
and keep the same cool core
cuz i done seen a couple supernovas before
the faster they blow
they sink back in to a black hole
many don't know how to survive that road
i'm owed nothing
and neither are you
so anything we do here has gotta be mutual

when you got that spotlight on you
your gonna attract other brights lights
and moths
and energy vampires
and everything...

fame consumes humanity
but it's also temporary!

i know i'm an oddity
if you follow all of my offerings
you probably gonna see that music's not a commodity
or product to me
behind bars we feel free
and that's a contradiction in my industry
i'm operating in a system i do not believe in
authoring some stories we could leave for our children
honestly wish we all approached it different
but everybody's got a high cost of living
imagine if substance trumped all image
and we celebrated what we made
without names
if the music could touch the world
without fame
well... maybe it does in small ways
but i'm battling a mainstream machine with no face
my homies just want to get a piece of the rat race
so they could run it
and eventually end up in a cage
it's a vicious cycle as history indicates
but i don't believe what's been done is the only way

there's so many ways
to imagine and invent your life
don't let anybodies idea of success define yours
just like not all music is created equal
we might not do it for the same reasons either
be more
Track Name: Greeny Jungle (featuring Shakiah)
(inspired by Nnedi Okorafor)

we get hunted in the streets
openly by police
prison is an industry
they don't want us to speak free
mainstream promoters
only feed you that group think
poisonous activities
that lands you in clink-clink
i'm indie as i want to be
here to give you all of me
will offer no apologies
for all the strength i'm honoring
all the ways the calling brings
my a-alikes to raise a light
in the darkest part of the night
before we wake a sleeping giant
rising up is inevitable
everything changes
pray the planet stays habitable
i'm from a jungle
that's getting clear cut fast
since i rap typecast as a real wild cat
a lion, in fact
from a horn in the east
i grew up with some beasts
i could show you some things
but you gon have to learn how to act in my habitat
you don't have the land where you standing at
it has you
this balance has to stay true

greeny jungle
wilderness
where the wild things are
a beast gon be a beast
so be who you are
a lion with a horn
the hunted with a song
the places you get broken
are the places you get strong

i know who i am
and i know how i am seen
no matter what i do they gon be 2 different things
so i can't let a gaze ruin any of my days
they might see me as a hunter
they might see me as prey
found out how to survive
without playing their games
if anything is constant in the jungle it's change
the knowledge in my body
reacts faster then my brain
instinct, intuition
it's kinda hard to explain
scruffy chin, lion mane
regal but never tamed
symbol of an empire
that i never once claimed
greeny jungle
stumble through forbidden lands
where spirits walk
and hold you with an open hand
people worship or fear what they do not understand
the wilderness taught me how to be who i am
and i fell hard
before i learned how to stand
if you want to live here
learn to listen to the land

greeny jungle
wilderness
where the wild things are
a beast gon be a beast
so be who you are
a lion with a horn
the hunted with a song
the places you get broken
are the places you get strong
Track Name: Little Things
on the eve of a new year
shifting into new gears
clear with a new lens
i lost enough friends
blessed to reconnect
with real ones
from decades gone
something brand new
that feels like an old song
i remember
being in parts, dismembered
heart healing in december
darkest part of winter
shining with all my might
just to have a little light
as long as i know i gave it all i had
i will be alright
no matter how this lands
you can't measure impact from the eye of a storm
and that center of chaos is where i was born
those drug wars that forced Hip Hop to form
so sharp and cutting
real life your bumping
we didn't come from nothing
what we had got stole
and we're still running
underneath a sniper's scope
we all know
so folks find ways to cope
and i keep on losing my people to coke
crack crystal balls
watching futures fall
i can't catch em all
or any
my advice gets drowned out with the henny

i don't know what else to say
we just take it... day by day
take what you afraid of
and stare it in the face
call it by it's name
and watch it change
i don't know what else to say
we just take it.... day by day
how you do anything is how you do everything
maybe we should start with the little things

i told my little cousin
smoke herb... don't drink
he was in high school already experimenting
i never had enough influence to sway him
away from the bottle
life is full throttle
he still got time tho
i'm learning to let go
of my expectations of the best and worst
alcohol still triggers my deepest hurts
i've lost friends to crack... but they were drinking first
i fell out of love with a woman i adored
when she was at the bar, i was easy to ignore
have you ever loved someone
looked deep in their eyes
and knew everything that they said was a lie
while knowing exactly what they were trying to hide
i wasn't judging
so i couldn't see why
we couldn't even have a real talk at the time
and i'm not trying to diagnose anybody now
as the empire crumbles we're all falling down
i write songs
when it's hard to reach out
hoping that somebody feels me
because where i'm at it's like nobody hears me

i don't know what else to say
we just take it... day by day
take what you afraid of
and stare it in the face
call it by it's name
and watch it change
i don't know what else to say
we just take it.... day by day
how you do anything is how you do everything
maybe we should start with the little things
Track Name: Outside Looking In
"real hip hop" is popular myth
ideas have their power when they are not fixed
Grace Lee Boggs knows what it is
it goes purpose, people, places...

my city blew up but i don't see myself
why?
i still make music to free myself

i exist
without your permission
foundational to the buildings you live in
laid over Black folks bones
historical omission
the styles went mainstream
but somehow it's different
a poisonous mix of music and business
these new pop stars used to watch us and mimic
younger rappers want to be them
and don't get it
it's like the new hip hop is just attracting attention
for the sake of attention
if this is what we built, i don't want to be in it
i'm not here to fit in
or to sell you an image
my ability to write has made more than a living
it has kept me alive through times when i didn't
think i'd survive the night
music gave me a vision
strength to overcome
even when no one listened

i still make music to free myself


everything we were ridiculed for then
somehow, one day, became a new trend
how are we now on the outside looking in
to something that wouldn't exist
without what we did
i used to be proud
but seen fame change friends
these films about our scene
i can't relate to them
they just blah blah blah on about making it
it's no different, they only think as capitalists
as if only in an industry does culture exist
disconnected
"conscious" when the radio played that
those same rappers now do coke and sell crack
Asian kids say the n-word and get a pat on their back
claiming "POC" and staying anti-Black
my whole city doesn't seem to care that it's gotten wack

i got love for a few
who clearly stay true
even when what you've made no longer includes you

and you find strength in self
to still make music to free yourself
on the underground railroad escaping hell
they were making music so they could free themselves
slavery got abolished now except for jails
private prisons and media giants fill cells
popular rap music brings us back to hell
how do we make music now that can free ourselves

i only want to make music to free myself
how do we all make music to free ourselves

i only want to make music to free myself
how do we all make music to free ourselves

i only want to make music to free myself
how do we all make music to free ourselves
Track Name: Black Love (featuring Sarah MK)
ጥቁር ፍቅር
"something bout your happiness feels like freedom"

i don't want to chill
but i keep getting these tracks
so i ease back
and breathe raps
like a slow burn
meditative
contemplative
i say it's prayers
i know it's many layers
when music hits
it can leave craters
far enough away
you could see a face in it
mask or an image
i'm tracing the imprint left
and never get it quite correct
it's just a breath
on the nape of your neck
at best
we all long to connect
like spirit and flesh
with no restrictions
it's not about sex
but could be too
i want to stand in my truth
naked and bare
totally cared for
sacred and rare
with a nature to share
some can't handle the glare
and that's fair
i am daring
can be too much
i don't rush
maybe i'm not easy to love
or i set myself up
with high expectations
that no one can touch
but i feel it in friendships
feel it moments
and feel beautiful
when i am seen in wholeness
a sensuality that i believe my home is
but some days
i still feel homeless
even in my own house
so i get out
and dream as loud
as my body can project
unprotected
vulnerable
respected
feared and admired
but rarely met
we are all at our best when connected
just watch for sharp edges
when involved with reflection

Black love
i don't gotta explain too much
my folks got my back
like no one does
something bout loving you in our native tongue
opens up possibilities
and heals where i'm from
i love the way my name feels in your mouth
i hope i hold yours as delicate and proud
i wonder if the ancestors smile when they see us
something bout your happiness feels like freedom

Black love.
Track Name: Letter To Our Unborn
a letter to our unborn
welcome to the world
your about to see more change
than we have ever seen before
i want to be there for you
but know one day that i won't
your body is a capsule
of all our love and hopes
the energy combined
of everyone from before
and at the same time
you are completely your own
hope we make the planet better
for you to continue on
we inherited scars
made medicine in song
hope we break all the abusive talk
we were raised on
your parents aren't perfect
but we try for you
and life can be so hard
but we survive for you
you reflect everything that inspires you
and can be more than anything we wish for you
i hope nothing that we left ever constricts you
when you feel weak
may all of our prayers fill you
do what you love most
whatever you are meant to

at the time i wrote this
the planet looked hopeless
we all felt like apocalypse was approaching
with the poles all melting and the climate shift
like Silk-E said, "we still got love to give"
let's share all we got on this pale blue dot
keep the planet looking fresh til it's just another rock
let's share all we got on this pale blue dot
keep our home feeling fresh til it's just another rock

still breathing
coughing and wheezing
it's not over yet
what God do you do you believe in?
time to pray to all of em
i believe that the answer
comes through the hands of the truly faithful
that live on the unseen
our lives are a sequence of dreams come true
i mean, i'm a dream my grandmother had
and you were a vision
that my mother always seemed to have too
ራእይ ፡ to prophecy is to see
there's no big difference in Ameringya
we speak
so may a blessing be
in everything you breathe
seeking strength to create
these worlds we'll paint
may they contain all worlds
like Marcos would say
no time to be afraid
know that everything will change

our love
you could say
is an imaginative space

and to survive
your dreams
are what it's gonna take

at the time i wrote this
the planet looked hopeless
we all felt like apocalypse was approaching
with the poles all melting and the climate shift
like Silk-E said, "we still got love to give"
let's share all we got on this pale blue dot
keep the planet looking fresh til it's just another rock
let's share all we got on this pale blue dot
keep our home feeling fresh til it's just another rock
Track Name: All In
i came a long way
since selling mixtapes
in high school hallways
some thought it was a phase
i made a lot of mistakes
and i'm a make some more
if it was all figured out
what would i do art for?
i'm not paid
but thankful that i got to explore
places i now call home all over the globe
i found healing through a song
and i do it to grow
without a musical release ya'll, i just don't know
i used to freestyle outside every show
or in the front row if i could ever slip in the door
now i'm backstage writing prose in a long form
before i stretch, then step on stage and perform
more me then i've ever known
my armor is gone
vulnerability is where i am most strong
it's the practice of loving without holding on
still on my bell hooks and Khalil Gibran

i can't call it
it might seem crazy
but i'm following a calling
"i write to describe"
like a young James Baldwin
a phoenix rising up while the empires falling
i can't call it
it might sound crazy
but i'm following a calling
do what we can now
cuz tomorrow's not promised
right now
i know i put my all in

ever since Random Abiladeze' "On My Feet"
song i ended up on with brotha Uptown Swuite
i heard of SoulChef, and i knew he had beats
so when he hit me out the blue, i was like brother please...
recorded "Black Love"
released it in a few weeks
then within a few months
we finished this LP
Seattle, Washington to Auckland, New Zealand
it's nice to meet someone that'll match your work
and this wouldn't of happened before last year
best investment i made: my own recording gear

tomorrow's unknown but today is clear
connection: why else have we been placed here?

Peace to Sarah MK, Jonathan Emile, Shakiah and Luam Kidane,
for real. Thank you to Iris, and thank you to my Mom.

the Southend got something to say
and i'm gone.