Music by Amir Mitchell-Townes
Commentary by Nathaniel Stephens II
Amir Mitchell-Townes, a multi-talented BLACK youth, is giving mad hope to all who worry of the future of hip hop. He splattered his soul without remorse on the canvas called Blacne, released Tuesday. Whether highlighting the good, bad, and ugly of black culture (like in “Niggaville Politics,” “1501 E Rosecrans Ave.” and “Freedom”) or conquering his inner demons (as passionately expressed in “Slippin”).
Each song illuminates his life, giving us a detailed glimpse of his flourishing brain-power. He shares his experience as a man, but because his melanin levels are too high, as a man who must fight a system that constantly works against him. Instead of letting the pressure crush him, Amir resists and seems to channel his energy toward cultivating himself. It takes confidence to cultivate oneself, it takes confidence to let your ‘little light shine’, and Amir Mitchell-Townes does it gracefully on the matured Blacne.
Furthermore, Amir’s lyricism can easily cut deep into anyone who has one eye open to America’s racial system and its overall political corruption. He rhymes like he’s been trained in cyphers seasoned with vet MCs, wowing your ears and gasping your mouth, his lines are unpredictable and witty. He can articulate his point with poetic accuracy, or barrage your sound space with choppy cadences. Not one beat he spits over is mediocre or lacking, and his flow is lush with creativity and tact execution—whether putting up a middle finger to our dictator elect, spreading the message of black pride and heritage, or simply voicing nostalgia over the good and bad times of life.
Yo put it this way, this young man is flat out ruthless on the mic, and to be ruthless ya gotta do what no one is willing to do. He seems like he makes it all work for him, or perhaps he is just a person who knows his own strengths and weakness more than most. Either way, what Amir is doing is a blessing and inspiration to all who support and bear witness. As his mother intimately shares at the end of “Shackle Theory,” he has a voice that is an everlasting spring to drought-worn ears.
Speaking of shackles, Amir doesn’t seem bound by the chains of style, whether classic hip hop, ethereal, funky, or just authentic production. Amir dominates the musical space he creates with finesse and brilliance. “WBP,” “FDT,” and “Runnin’ ft. Daddy Casso” (just to name a few) are prime examples of Blacne’s instrumental virtuoso. So for you rappers, Ableton and Logic addicts, take out your note books, turn off your egos, and switch to student mode. This young guy is straight schoolin’ fools whether with his mouth or his ingenious musical arrangements.
I feel safe to say that he’s on his way to being incomparable. And in reality, he already is. I am looking forward to the future of this young black man, and as one myself, I feel comfortable with him being a voice to our people, may his legacy be long and enjoying. Be on the lookout for Amir Kweku Mitchell-Townes ya’ll!
Questions & Answers
What encourages you to move on day to day?
It’s a mixture of things, mostly my experiences you know? From remembering the first moment I was pulled over for no logical reasoning, to growing and embracing the beauty of understanding confrontation being on both ends, and most importantly, the experiences that are typically overlooked or disregarded. I don’t want to overlook anything, because it can create something that is fucking extravagant to a person’s senses. I enjoy education, and educating others. Every album or movie I consume, nourishes and teaches me something, which is a privilege. That kid with no TV, hearing, or sight doesn’t have easy access to the resources we sometimes take for granted. So thinking of all that pushes me to create on a daily bases.
Whats a mantra, principle, idea etc. that automatically gets you excited to create?
‘Create your own diet’ is something I heard somewhere and ever since it stuck. I’ve modified my lifestyle to accommodate for what makes me a better person, a person that anyone can relate to, whether it be one person or a million, it’s my biggest goal. I stop keeping up with politics as much because it wasn’t producing a positive mindset. I started studying Buddhist ideology, exploring different types of visual art, reading controversial novels, etc. because it offered me something positive to digest, rather than massive misinformation, we as humans have the power to make ourselves relevant and important.
Why the title ‘Blacne’?
The perfect imperfections of black culture. Acne is a physical feature that can sometimes overpower internal beauty. So I wanted to explain the beauty in our way as a people of color, even within the negative portrayal of the black culture. Most of the negative shit is classified as negative through supremacy and oppression anyways, so it should never downplay the extraordinary beauty of the black and brown culture.
What is being black to you? There isn’t a right answer, but being black and acting on what black is to you creates the answer. So what does it mean to you?
Being what everyone unconsciously wants to be. This project is a moment to be arrogant
about being black which is fucking rare! So I take pride in being black. However, the b side to the shit is that as a black person I’m targeted and have less moves to fuck up on. But that makes me a stronger nigga because when I get through the tough shit, that’s another thing I become invincible to.
Where did you record? How was the process? Did you begin with a blueprint or did it slowly take form song by song?
I recorded in my closet. It’s the best place to make music for me personally. I would write something and just record it in my closet with my fucking laptop on my dresser. It was the most efficient way to get shit done and then I’d mix the songs in my bed for hours. I knew I wanted to make something that documented the conception of black excellence but not lose sight of the real nigga within all black people. Like black will get shit done in the best fashion with no resources. Fuck the big studio, fuck the label, I have a closet, a mic, a phone full of lyrics, and a laptop full of beats. I have enough to create whatever I want whenever I want which gave me time to discover what this project was going to do for listeners and for myself. So it lacked planning but it kept me more focused
Who are some of your inspirations?
James Baldwin and Angela Davis inspired me a shit ton. J dilla, Madlib, MF doom, Gil scott heron, KRS One, Yasiin Bey, any others I miss I’m sorry there a just so many.
My mother, my niggas, and my beautiful brown queen for constantly motivating and supporting me. S/O PG county Maryland forever!
Listen to Blacne out now! https://amir5.bandcamp.com/album/blacne