Some music for your weekend: I was thrilled to recently learn about Jhameel, a pop-orchestra musician who covers T Pain songs and whose lyrics (according to his bio) "revolve around such topics as Middle Eastern womanhood, homosexuality, and urban prostitution, giving voice to the silent margins of society."
Jhameel's artistic journey is pretty fascinating: after accepting a US Army scholarship to UC Berkeley, Jhameel dropped out of the program when his studies in Arabic and exposure to Arab culture led him to reject a military life. Jhameel's music deals with sex and sexuality, and he comes across as pretty androgynous. From an interview with the East Bay Express:
A casual glance at some of the pictures on Jhameel's site might leave the viewer wondering if he is looking at a man or a woman. This ambiguity isn't accidental. "I think I'm more masculine, but I'm feminine in comparison to the overcompensation," Jhameel said. "I'm more masculine than I'd like to be, but I can't help that because it's just how I am. I don't feel a need to overcompensate — why be extreme when you can be comfortable?"
I was really excited to find an artist who finds himself at ease even at the cross-section of forces that are often put into opposition (forces like: masculinity and femininity; Western and Arab culture; and being Korean, Japanese and Mongolian and growing up in Minnesota in a mostly white town).
But also, I just really like what he does with T Pain.