Kumasi Simmons: Illuminating Inpiration

My earliest memory of  Kumasi was an MSA potluck at Aztec Park in San Diego. I distinctively remember watching this dude with bow legs run a football through a crowd of brothers with a quickness that was definitely entertaining. Later he and few others free-styled over some beats rocking from a car parked in the grass. All the years that I’ve known Kumasi ‘Sincere’ is a word that describes him best.  His ability to live Islam so organically is a reminder to me as to why I fell in love with Islam.
In light of the release of his new “Gospel” album free to download on http://www.reverbnation.com/kumasisimmons I felt it would be a great time for an interview.

 Najiyya: Many of us have this picture of Compton from the images conveyed in movies such as ‘Boyz in the Hood’ and through lyrical expressions from artists such as NWA, Game, and Snoop.   In all reality, how was life growing up in Compton?

Kumasi: Compton is a place where you don’t have to many jobs. It’s called a hub city, it’s in the middle of everywhere but it feels like the middle of nowhere.  If you don’t  have a way to get there whether downtown, South central , Carson, if you don’t have a way together there you are just in that hub East side or west side Compton. You feel trapped and you try to find a way out of there, maybe through sports or gang banging or selling intoxicants and things. With that being the case Compton is a lot like other places but there is a big sense of family and a sense of if you don’t bother anybody then nobody will bother you but if you r looking for trouble then you’re  going to find it . It’s hard to escape trouble. Compton is an example of what people are going through around the world. I’ve been to many places and everywhere I go people know about Compton. Some places try to prove they’re as hard as Compton. Piru, Bloods were birthed out of Compton and now there are Bloods in New York. I think there are bloods in the Bay and the Bay prided themselves on not having that. I see people who are trying to be something where I come from and I’m trying to better their situation and mind by saying, ‘be positive, be an example, don’t be a follower, you should preserve life while others are trying to waste it.’ I wasn’t a follower. I’m a follower of God. My plot is to emerge from a source of darkness but be a light, if God gives me success. If people have one positive example it will be good because they see there is an alternative. If you have only seen darkness and have never seen a little bit of light it will be very difficult for you to choose. 

Najiyya: What motivated you to stay away from all the negative. Were you apart of a religious family?

Kumasi: My family was really strong. Religion was the foundation like a lot of other people. Religion as a black person you normally had the church that you went to and prayed over those who were baptized but what made it different for me was that Allah gave me the heart to be a servant. When you have the heart of a servant there is nothing that you can do to be able to fuel yourself to feel good because it’s not about me it’s about finding resources to help people. It’s not about me. I don’t know how successful I’ve been or how successful I will be but I know that Allah doesn’t need me and He will get done what he needs to get done without me.

Najiyya: How did you come into Islam?  

Kumasi: It was just written for me to be Muslim, to worship the oness of Allah and to be a servant of Allah. I’m thankful for that because no matter how I came around, I look around and He has made Muslims beautiful and He allows Muslims to have a lot of information about Him that I didn’t have in other paths of life. Everything was preparing me to become Muslim. My cousin is Muslim. My father is Muslim. I was attracted to the strength in Islam. I was attracted to black history. I was attracted to the Nation of Islam but then I realized the Nation believed that God had human attributes. I couldn’t roll with that. So I went along with my Christianity until I went to State.I came across some orthodox Muslims; Omar Ditona and Muhammad Yahya, I asked them to show me how to pray. They took me to Masjid Nur and I became Muslim that night.When I found out that Muslims worshiped God, the source and believed in the same Prophets I believed in, coming to Islam was easy.

Najiyya: When did you decide music was what you wanted to do?

Kumasi I never wanted to do music, I wanted to play football. I prayed to Allah and He made it clear to me that through music you can write your own script and benefit others. I can raise money or do a benefit concert for the poor. Music is just a vehicle to help people.

Najiyya: I know you have been all around the world, other than L.A. and San Diego, what other place has a special place with you?

Kumasi: Tunisia felt like home. People are going there on vacation in Tunisia while everyone is thinking Africa has nothing. Those tourists were from Europe. But Tunisia made me feel like home. Tunisia just had their revolution against injustice. It was beautiful to see young people ready to die for justice, not afraid of police, only afraid of Allah.  It touched home in that manner as well.

Najiyya:  Do you have any jewels for the young people?

Kumasi:  Whatever you do have a good heart and whatever your vices focus on getting grounded and getting in tuned with obtaining a good heart. Be aware of your patience and pride because they come in so many forms. Be patient, have patience. Know that God is with the patient.  You can remind yourself that God is with you because you’re being patient. 

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