Sending love out to Brotha Sean aka DJ Ceiba, who recently became a father. Ceiba is a Harlem-based drummer, DJ, and producer. He puts together jarring, head-nodding beats, fusing Reggae, Latin, and Hip-Hop influences. Ceiba flirts with some samples but relies mostly on his own musicianship.
Ceiba played this instrumental for me in his home studio shortly after Obama’s inauguration in January 2009. We watched the inauguration at a nearby Senegalese cafe a few days before. We chopped it up over the politrix of “revolution” that afternoon, going back and forth over whether Obama really had the intention of being the agent of change he claimed to be. If so, would this man’s intentions be enough to budge the babylon regime, or would he be co-opted?
Politics is politics, we agreed. Real “change” is possible only on small scales, beginning first and foremost with the individual and what one chooses to stand for, and who you choose to stand with. The small stuff individually is the big stuff socially.
These conversations led to the writing and recording of “Rise”. Aju wrote the hook first: an elemental call for people to rise up and reclaim a healthy and just space for themselves.
Ceiba’s hard-knock beat really set the tone for the grittier side of my mentality.