Judge not a rapper by his street freestyle lest you be judged.
I'll admit it. When I saw the news that Rick Ross had signed a new rapper to MMG based off a street freestyle I almost didn't even bother to click. What were the odds that it was another Meek Mill wannabe rapping like he was yelling into a fan? The odds seemed high. But more out of a sense of professional obligation than interest I checked out this "street rapper," Isa Muhammad.
I haven't been that surprised since it turned out Bruce Willis was actually dead. That dude can rap, and not just rap, I mean he can rap. That was some Saul Williams shit right there. But that's a sample size of one, that could have easily been every good line that guy's ever written wrapped up into three impressive minutes.
Since that moment Isa Muhammad has been trailing around with the MMG crew, partying with Ross in Atlanta and is rumored to be signed. (I say "rumored" because there's often a gap between "guy in the MMG crew" and "actually signed," a lesson we all learned after the Pill situation.) Muhammad's been doing much more than just hitting up Wing Stop and Magic City though, he's already released a full song, "Chemtrails & Muslim Wars."
Well goddamn again. I was clearly engaging in a bit of hyperbole in that headline, but also...kind of not? We've got a formerly homeless rapper with a Muslim background rhyming lyrically dense bars about neutrons, government conspiracies and fifth dimensions. While there will never literally be another Jay Elec, for better and worse, that's eerily close.
MMG's so far proven unable to really put someone on since the Ross-Wale-Meek Mill power trifecta rose to power, but at the very least I can say I'm genuinely interested in a new MMG artist again. The odds say Isa Muhammad will end up being just a cool, short story in the hip-hop timeline, there's so much more to being a successful artist than lyrics and a co-sign, even if that co-sign is Rick Ross. But maybe, just maybe...
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.
Photo Credit: SoundCloud