I love gifts. Not the kind in shiny wrapping paper or even the kind that cost money. I love gifts for the ears- yes, music. Especially when the giver of that gift is wrapped in excitement when they share it with you. I am a total believer that if someone takes the time to share something with you, you should take the time to give it your full attention. Besides the fact that it’s probably amazing, you never know what you might learn from it. It’s like when you hug someone – don’t give a half-ass pat on the back, if you’re going to hug someone put in the effort and give a loving squeeze. That being said, I was the lucky recipient of a virtual bear hug last week.

Some of you may remember my affection for the band Barbara (Top EPs of 2010). I love what this band is doing – mixing folk sensibility with the catchiness of hip hop beats. I couldn’t get enough of their EP Robopopironica last year and it has followed me into 2011. I know you might be thinking Barbara? what kind of name is that? but the explanation of the name made me love them even more. The story is that two amazing and beautiful girls came from London to visit the members of Barbara in San Francisco. They used a slang term that stuck with the band. It was a term for an underground movement: an affinity for the past, a love of the future – that word was Barbara.

Barbara – San Francisco
[audio:http://www.monstersvsme.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/02-San-Francisco.mp3|titles=San Francisco – Barbara]

So, you can imagine my excitement when I opened my inbox to find an email from Barbara band member Derek. He thanked me for sharing their music with the MvM readers, and then there it was – like two big arms extending from my computer for an embrace – “The Human Condition” by Jhameel. Derek said that he wanted to share Jhameel with me in hopes that I could help spread the word about this multi-talented genius. He said “The song itself struck rich chords with a message and purpose and art that Barbara holds dear. It has been our honor to have the opportunity to work with Jhameel’s song, one that was full of power to begin with.”

He went on to tell me that they felt like people were sleeping way too hard on Jhameel’s latest album so they decided to put out a remix. The Barbara remix of this song is unreal. It’s almost like you can hear how much thought was put into it. Every beat and transition is perfected and brings out all that is wonderful about the original. Kind of like how a little make-up can extenuate your already beautiful face.

Jhameel – The Human Condition
[audio:http://www.monstersvsme.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/02-The-Human-Condition.mp3|titles=Jhameel – The Human Condition]

Click here for the Barbara remix

I was so grateful for the gift I had received in the form of Jhameel’s new album. I downloaded it for free from his website and put it on my ipod, ready to give it my full attention on my walk to the market. February in Canada means gusting winds and blowing snow, but once “THC” started, it filled me with sunshine. I love when that happens, when a song can make a walk in -10 degree weather feel like a pina colada on the beach.

Jhameel – THC
[audio:http://www.monstersvsme.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/06-THC1.mp3|titles=Jhameel – THC]

Even though his songs are upbeat and catchy, they have some serious depth with themes of social justice, inequality and human emotion. Songs like “Bernal Heights” are insightful and honest – an introspective look at his life and the choices he has made – but always mixed with an infectious beat and an effortless yet intense voice . But what would you expect from a guy that was on his way to joining the U.S military before quitting and signing a irrevocable contract concerning his conflicting views about the presence of the U.S invading the Middle East. He went on to earn an Arabic Degree from Berkley and then at the age of 19, he put out his first album. Pretty impressive considering I was working a dead-end job at a deli when I was 19.

A great example of the thoughtfulness of his songs and how he is using his talent as a platform for his voice is heard in the song “Soldier’s Daughter”.

Jhameel – Soldier’s Daughter
[audio:http://www.monstersvsme.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/07-Soldiers-Daughter.mp3|titles=Jhameel – Soldier’s Daughter]

Even though I could gush about every song I won’t, because I think you should check them out for yourself. Click here to visit Jhameel’s website where you can find his bio, lyrics and album. But remember these artists have to bring home the bacon too so if you like what you hear make sure to show your appreciation with a donation.

If this article hasn’t presuaded you to check out what Jhameel has to offer, check out this video of his cover of “Buy You A Drank” by T-Pain.


Thank you Barbara for this gift because now I can share it with the MvM readers. For updates on Jhameel and more of his amazing covers (Anthems of a Seventeen Year Old Girl and Halo are musts), you can become a fan on his Facebook page. And word has it that Barbara has a full-length album in the works so click here to keep up with them and be the first to know.

* If you are a member or manager of the above band and you would like your track removed, please contact us and we will swiftly oblige. Fans – new or old – please support these bands by using your coffee money to buy their records.