Chicago-based Umraan Syed released his first full length album, Bismillah, after an entire year of production.
Syed is a 27-year-old living in Chicago and he ties that into his lyrics, which makes his album relatable for a twenty-something trying to get by in this bustling city. There’s something spectacular about the way the lyrics and music blend together in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily find with traditional rap.
He refers to his style as progressive rap, mixing all of his musical interests into one. A conglomerate of R&B, jazz, indie rock and experimental sounds take the listener on a journey. Finding an entire album from a brand new artist was pretty exciting for me, and I was ready to dive right in.
The opening track, “Free” is probably one of my favorites. It sucks you in immediately and you know you are about to be in for a ride. During production Syed wrote, “I produced and recorded everything myself other than the flute and saxophone.”
Syed’s first single “Whispers,” follows up as the second song, pulling the listener in even more.
In the track “Glorious,” Syed has an almost Drake-style to his rapping which flows into his next track that has more of an indie rock sound.
With all of the different sounds Syed blends together so beautifully, it is no surprise the album took him as long as it did. Creating all of that yourself is an impressive feature. His passion for this project shows drastically and you can feel all of the emotions and energy crafted into it, flowing throughout every song and building up as you reach the end of the album.
If you are a listener of pretty much any genre, I would recommend giving this album a listen. I found myself connecting with this album more on my CTA commute around the city, letting the lyrics sweep me into another world and almost missing my stop.
Check out Umraan Syed on social media @umraansyed, and stream his album below!