Malik Shahid Tears of Blood: Songs of Struggle and Poems of Pain

His name is Malik Shahid, but he has been known in the past as Crimemaster Divine and Elijah Abdul-Aleem. He can be considered one of the pioneers of Canadian hip-hop, having many of his early tracks played on Ron Nelson’s legendary “Fantastic Voyage” program on Toronto’s CKLN in the mid-’80s. His new album, Tears of Blood: Songs of Struggle and Poems of Pain, has such subject matter as cop killing, Allah and violent revolution. Malik Shahid is really John Morrow, some white dude with a PhD in Spanish Poetry from the University of Toronto. Oh, and he’s coming straight outta Brampton, ON. Still, his beats are almost always great, his flow is reminiscent of West Coast gangster and he says some serious Public Enemy-type shit. The album’s best comparison would be to Ice Cube’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, with its back and forth movements between conscious political raps and street level gangsta rhymes, but in this instance with deep gully bass and keyboard funk. On “Je m’en souviens” Shahid combines his French lyrics with a political message for the Quebecois. Through Malik Shahid, Morrow has created a well-rounded album that should go down as one of the best Canadian full-lengths to date. (Revelation)