Pennyroyal born Elhadj Mohammed Alpha Diawara, is an American rapper and songwriter from Harlem, New York who is signed to the Organized Royalty Recording Label. Penny discovered a knack for words when he starting writing poetry during the summer of his 8th grade school year when he was almost killed by the police in a traffic stop. He used his writing to come to terms with his problems which opened a new door of possibilities. Pennyroyal is of African and Native American descent; his mother is Cherokee Indian and his father is African. Not much is known about his father due to the absence in his life but his mother is a school teacher.
In an age where everyone is champing at the bit to taste-make and classify artists and genres, it feels inappropriate to categorize Pennyroyal but referring to him as a hip-hop artist may be the face-lift the genre has long needed.
Penny is one to embrace the non-traditional, and further distinguish himself within the hip-hop community as an outlying, yet essential, entity. On his latest release “Moabi Deserts” taken from his mixtape “201(4)7”, Pennyroyal isolates himself from the confines of rap stigmas.
The most striking and important aspect of “Moabi Deserts” is how Penny annexes awareness and thoughtfulness. Throughout, both sonic and lyrical aberration allows the track to appropriately alter its appeal without straying from the narrative. Benji Socrates’ evocative and inventive production complements Pennyroyal rhymes, alternately adding an atmospheric sound or providing social commentary — sometimes both.
Penny raps with passion and his lyrics parallel many of rap underground’s most outspoken breed. However, where artists like Immortal Technique are met with dismissal for cramming their ideals and sentiments towards society down our throats,
Pennyroyal wisely encrypts his most thought-provoking and important lyrics, making his points all the more poignant once you unravel them: “Opening vocals taking pictures like photos I put my foes in choke holds and tie em up and I feed em Rolos. Quite sadistic but I’m painting an image I reach a different state of mind when I be writing these feelings”
“Moabi Deserts” is a rare, precise musical gem that’s equally apt for car cruising in company or total isolation with headphones. Pennyroyal’s music excels because people love the message, the poetry, the daring instrumentation, the defiantly conscious lyricism that spits in the face of the establishment.
Rappers rapping about their upbringing will never end, but Pennyroyal isn’t conventional in the least: “Smoking to cope with shit. Man I got it from my papa switch the plant no cigarette carcinogens in liver, lungs or kidneys only marijuana with no fronto.”
Good tracks are often enjoyable to listeners and may breach a few best of the year lists. Great tracks inspire a generation and have a lasting impact on culture. “Moabi Deserts” is the latter.
OFFICIAL LINKS: YOUTUBE