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Rashid St. James – Hallelujah (Prod. SolidMas) [Video] #Premiere

Toronto, ONOriginally premiered on HipHopCanada on February 13, 2015 – Earlier on this month we hit you with the audio for “Hallelujah” by Rashid St. James off his forthcoming debut project entitled The Nightmare In The Afterhour. Now we’re pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with the big homie to bring you the premiere of the accompanying visuals for the track, directed by Gino Sandoval of Rkulture.

In case you missed the audio drop, this track is one-part IDGAF, one-part self-acceptance, and two-parts grimy underground religious prayer. Rashid gets murky on a hard-as-nails SolidMas beat to hit us with one of the heaviest, emotionally-charged releases of the month. He takes us to church. And instead of asking us to get on our knees and beg forgiveness, he hands us a blunt and a red cup of drink and ushers us in to the party that is life.

Rashid St. James - Hallelujah (Prod. SolidMas) [Video] #Premiere -

The video is a juxtaposition of introspection and retrospection. On the one hand, we see Rashid wandering – alone – drinking and smoking outside of a church. But the video also cuts to scenes of Rashid partying it up amongst his people (shout-out to homie who throws up the bless hands – you’re a cool dude). It’s so on-point. Because even though it’s easy enough to get into shit when you’re with your people, it’s just as easy to get tripped up on dark thoughts in your mind. The life of a sinner. That’s what’s up. And Rashid St. James f**ks with all of us sinners.

Rashid explained to me that the video premiere date holds extreme significance for him on a personal level. For starters, today is the six-year anniversary of King Drizzy Drake’s So Far Gone. “I felt Drake was breathing new life into Toronto’s hip-hop scene with the classic drop that changed everything. Many of us who had dreams of pursuing a music career – I felt – had new hope seeing Drake make it across the boarder to find such success,” explains Rashid.

Today also marks a definite shift in Rashid’s past where he made a bad decision that almost cost him his life. As Rashid explains it, he was broke and angry. He was working an unpaid internship and had reached a point where he was constantly fighting with his father. So Rashid and his homie decided to rob some drug dealers. “Shit got out of hand really quick and I ended up being dragged from a car,” recounts Rashid. He managed to escape before the police were called to the scene. He bandaged himself up and went into his internship the following day to all his colleagues talking about So Far Gone. That’s when Rashid made his decision: “I wanted to change my lifestyle and pursue a career in rap a talent that came to me naturally,” he says.

Rashid doesn’t really seem to regret his past. He throws a “Hallelujah” at it and rehashes the silver lining in his tragedy: if he hadn’t gotten that deep into despair, he probably wouldn’t have gotten into the rap game. And that whole story is EXACTLY what this joint is getting at: You make mistakes and you f**k things up – but that’s why you’re a dope-ass human being. Every rough experience you’ve been through has been a catalyst for something better to come. Born sinners are the saints of what’s real and raw.

Twitter: @RashidStJames

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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