In August 2021, I was contacted by 21-year-old Seattle rapper Hamza Abaas (Hamza Abo$$) to write a press release/bio highlighting his album – ‘‘I’m Not Perfect’.
In a sea where new artists are constantly fighting to grab listeners’ attention, it takes something unique to stand out from the crowd. With his down-to-earth lyrical flow and old school hip-hop sound, Seattle native Hamza Abo$$ goes above and beyond when matching that criteria.
His recently released debut album, ‘I’m Not Perfect’, has quickly picked up momentum with almost 4 million streams across Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube. Enhanced by guest appearances from Mick Jenkins, Bishop Nehru, Stro, Lord Apex, and Fly Anakin, the ten tracks on offer create an earnest account of who the 21-year-old is.
From the outset, ‘Brief Message’ highlights Abo$$’ introspective approach while remaining level-headed. He wants to make his family proud, dismissing former friends as “snakes” in the process. Where other rappers rely on boosting their egos and all their bravado, Hamza Abo$$ is thoroughly open and honest. It’s clear he’s taken great care and thought into his lyrics, making each track have a purpose. ‘Carpe Diem’ highlights his determination and is complemented by playful instrumentation. Likewise ‘Tired Thoughts’ sees Abo$$ realise time is precious yet remains focused on what he needs to do to succeed.
Instrumentally, Hamza leans on a mix of traditional and lo-fi hip-hop. Tracks such as ‘Hands of Fate’ and ‘Race to Ritches’ embrace soulful samples, riding on infectious and crisp beats. Whereas ‘Trust Issues’’ blues-y guitar complements Abo$$’ sincere words; “I built walls round my heart if blunt I can’t trust/I can’t love built walls round my heart if blunt/I can’t trust I can’t love no one.”
It is a credit to Abo$$ and the handful of producers he’s collaborated with, including Lethal Needle, Ocean Beats, and Thatkidgoran, that the use of samples, compelling melodies, and digestible beats don’t detract you from what Hamza has to say. They simply elevate his humble, introspective, and poetic words. It’s an addictive combination that makes ‘I’m Not Perfect’ and Hamza Abo$$ an exciting prospect.
Whether he’s being reflective on his past (relationships, religion, family) or being set on where he wants to take his career, Abo$$ has accomplished a feat in creating a sincere hip-hop record. On top of that, ’I’m Not Perfect’ is a debut album from a young artist who will definitely flourish in the years to come. While ‘I’m Not Perfect’ may have set the benchmark high for Hamza Abo$$, it is clear he has the confidence and ability to top that, becoming one of hip-hop’s brightest young stars in the process.