Evidence Of Things Not Seen

by Gabriel Teodros & SoulChef

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1.
(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
2.
Bus Stops 03:11
"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"
3.
Freq 02:40
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
4.
"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
5.
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...
6.
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
7.
(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
8.
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
9.
"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
10.
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 What it means to me The thought of lighting up this mystery Told me to forget and turn the page But another Horn keeps calling out my name I can't explain How it must feel to stand On the grounds I heard was the Motherland Well my shaky self got so much to learn Half of me is unaware of what makes her Look in the mirror Physical traits I can't relate to In my everyday places that I go to Sometimes I cross paths with my sister Eyes lock and recognize one another And that's truth and love and light Angel sent to let me know that it's alright Time will come when the moment is right To be bare open-hearted with all sides 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.
11.
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
12.
All In 02:45
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.

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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