Mahawam is a rapper, musician and producer in Oakland, CA straddling the line between technician and artist. A means to process both the trauma and joy at the intersection of Black queer identity, their work as a producer and vocalist serves as a study in the ways that intersection informs cultural and personal progress.
Maha’s new EP “Is An Island” serves multifaceted explorations of resignation, loneliness, lust and hope navigated during their journey to come to terms with their HIV diagnosis with the intention of bringing visibility to nuanced experiences of similar bodies in similar situations.
Michelle Pfeiffer is an anxious trip through the existential panic brought on by chronic and terminal illness. I’m intensely passionate about my work and relationships. But if it’s possible I’ll die does it matter how seriously I take myself? Does it matter how I cope with that despair? Michelle Pfeiffer is about reckoning with an unstoppable free fall, whether that be the end of a chapter in your life or the end of a life itself. It’s a glimpse into those moments of doubt in between calm breaths in the worst of it.
This track is about those moments when you’re out at a bar/club/party/kickback and you feel yourself in the face of the universally disappointing history of “going out.” It’s about the chase of sustained eye contact and masked smiles that massages your knowing that nightlife is a game as easily frustrating as it is rewarding. Sometimes you’re able to enjoy a connection with another person. Sometimes you nurse an unremarkable beer while thinking “one more hour won’t hurt” for the third time that night. Sometimes a quickie in the bathroom restores your faith in your desirability and city. Sometimes everything about the night is great except the gravity of how you have to live it and it’s pull on you away from fulfillment.
This is another song centering loneliness and solitude, but through the lens of self imposed isolation. It’s about self preservation and weighing risk against return. It’s staying in your room and avoiding the ki for 6 months while you figure your shit out. It’s weighing to the gram each of your relationships and goals against one another and feeling alone not because there is no one to turn to but because reliance on the self is only way forward.
“Livery” is a reflection of the choices foundational to my identity through to the present, navigating my thoughts about which were informed by intention and which were reflexive or proximal. My passions, my professions, my occupations, my sex, my relationships- how much of each of them are products of my design? What of them is created by living a life requiring that I survive my skin? What if I’ve made the wrong decisions up to now? What if I’m on a solid path and those good choices and discipline are not enough to save me when it comes down to it?
It’s about finding and owning the strength in solitude by committing yourself to work and encouraging others to do the same. There are times in your life where you will feel alone because you are. People will leave. They’ll forget you. They’ll die. It’s important to make that time alone productive regardless of how difficult doubt or despair make your course. Equally important is not letting people discourage you from demonstrating that strength once you’ve found it. Getting back up takes practice. Hoping No One Notice is about mastering difficulty.