Mahatma X | photo courtesy of the artist
Meet psychedelic Philly rap trio Mahatma X, see them on tour this fall
The stuff that catches your attention is often the stuff you don’t expect. Take Mahatma X, an experimental Philly hip-hop three-piece that crossed my radar this week. The band’s video for “Ima Stray” is a psychedelic feast for the eyes, visuals dissolving into visuals as MC Jahred the Mutt spits bars in a low-hit house; his vocals are gripping and gravelly, and definitely traceable back to the family of the Wu.
Know what I remembered the most after first listen though? The strings. Violin and cello intertwine with robust bass, interlocked all warbly and weird into a minimal clip-clop beat. Whether sampled or organic (it’s honestly unclear), the chamber quartet vibes gives the jam a solid Dr. Octagon feeling, which is as good a way as any to stand out in a teeming crowd of trap. Jahred takes the mic and uses the song to dissect the concept of identity, tackling the challenges of life from the home to the church to the stage. Again and again, it comes back to the hook, where he rhymes “namaste, namaste” with “slowly realize I’m a stray” and “call it castaway.”
Mahatma X also features drummer Henry Becker, and DJ/Producer MALK, and they’re in the process of recording their debut LP, but are heading out on a short tour this fall. Find those dates below and check out the “Ima Stray” video.
9/15 Baltimore, MD @ EMP Collective
9/17 Kutztown, PA @ Mind Palace
9/18 Washington, DC @ Uptown Art House
9/20 Pawtucket, RI @ News Cafe
9/22 New Brunswick, NJ @ The Bunker
9/23 Philly @ Bond Villain
9/30 Richmond, VA @ McCormack’s Irish Pub
10/1 Wilmington, NC @ TBA