Through music, we can transform pain into something we can better understand, whether it's the artist making it or through the ears of the listener. Within all the bravado of hip-hop always lies a vulnerable core, and with his new album 13, Detroit emcee MAHD strives to keep it all moving no matter what life throws at him and tries to become the best.
Since his debut project MAHD Almighty in 2013, the emcee, now 26 years old, has gone through some relationship growing pains that have become the root of the new album 13. "It was just a way for me to vent," explains MAHD. "Some people write in a journal, some people have it to get stuff off their chest. I wasn't recording anything for a while. Once I was in a state to get back and record, that was just me saying what happened pretty much. I'm real private with a lot of stuff that I do so I just put it all in the music, and however you take it, that's how you take it."
There's maturity and an obvious progression that MAHD now displays in his music, but he really needed to take some time out and get a little space, which is why he spent about six months down in Atlanta. "Down there, I got to get away from everything that was going on here and clear my head and get back to myself," says MAHD. "It was a new me but I had to get back to myself. I was going crazy up here. The vibes down there were super dope. I was recording down there too. Stuff I did down there didn't even make the album, but I was getting back into the mode of recording. Once I did that, came back up here."
The title of the album 13 is a reference to the year 2013, when much of the stories he wrote about took place as well as a play on the idea that in some cultures, the number 13 is unlucky.
Music is in his blood, heavily entrenched in it all throughout his life from various family members. But for most of his youth, MAHD was more interested in basketball than anything. Initially having hoop dreams, MAHD used to go hard in the paint on the basketball courts on a daily basis, but eventually his interests and focus would change, and now he hits music like he used to hit jump shots. "As hard as I went with that, trying to reach that goal, is how I'm doing with the music, " says MAHD. "This is my basketball now. Every day waking up, I'm playing basketball. I'm hitting the court trying to get better in some type of way. When I put my mind to something, I just really lock in."
The way MAHD has developed has been impressive, funneling the battles from a tough year in his life into some very thoughtful music. It's been more of a hands-on project for MAHD in many ways as he looks to push himself to new heights. "I wanted to challenged myself to really take what I had been through," explains MAHD. "I try to just channel that and take what I've been through and actually make good songs out of that too, even if you don't know the real story. In my mind, I know the whole story so when I listen to the album; I'm picturing everything that happened from start to finish in every song. "
Not all was bad for MAHD during those times, for now he has the love of a 3-year-old daughter. When it comes down to it, MAHD wants to stand on his own and make a name for himself, by himself, on his own merit. In the end, he just wants to be in the same conversation with the greats. That's a lofty goal. But who really knows what will happen? It's not impossible. Hello Detroit.
MAHD's new album 13 is available now. For more information, visit iammahd.com.