Bomani Darel Armah, aka D’mite, aka The Hip-Hop Levar Burton, aka Mr. Read a Book, aka The Watermelon Man, aka Darius Lovehall, aka The Black Colin Powell, has even more artistic skills than aliases. As a poet he takes his cues from his favorite writers like Langston Hughes, Yusef Komonyakaa and E. Ethelbert Miller. As a lyricist and songwriter he strives to live up to the legacy of his favorites like Bob Marley, George Clinton, Fela and Frankie Beverly and Maze. Raised in DC and Maryland on the music of gospel greats like Richard Smallwood and John P Kee, as well as local go-go legends like Chuck Brown, Rare Essence and Backyard, Bomani learned about musics intrinsic spiritual power to move people. While discovering his voice he developed his tagline “I’m not a rapper, I’m a poet with a hip-hop style”. An apt description for an emcee who took pride in being able to move any crowd, from prisons to pulpits to concert halls, with a full band or simply a cappella.
Bomani had always been into hip-hop, glued to the radio like every kid in the 80’s. The emergence of A Tribe Called Quest and the Native Tongues movement turned him into a die hard fan, while the explosion of Outkast and the Dungeon Family turned him on to the endless possibilities of this music. He intertwined the social and political awareness of legends like KRS-1 and Public Enemy, as Dead Prez’s “Let’s Get Free” radicalized his view of hip-hop during his sophomore year in college. While Bomani was pursuing his formal education as an English major at the University of Maryland, his more important artistic studies happened on DC’s historic U Street in the late 90’s into the turn of the millennia. He found himself spitting free-verse or rhyme, as well as backing some of DC’s best loved voices like Raheem Devaughn,and Deborah Bond, as the drummer for Lauda. By 2005, as a young man and creative writing teacher for organizations throughout the DC Metropolitan area, he began to recognize the need for his own voice to be added to the barrage of messages inundating his students.
With his “self-bootlegged” effort, Radio Friendly, Bomani “D’mite” Armah proves to his fans and foes that he’s more than just a misunderstood satirist or “Mr. Read-A-Book”. Bomani can take his place in line as the best lyricist you never heard. For those raised on a steady diet of hip hop and positive self images, it is often difficult to reconcile the music we love from the genre that doesn’t often love us back. Bomani’s Radio Friendly bridges the gap between who we are and what we strive to become. Radio Friendly this can’t be dismissed as just “conscious” or “backpack”, that’s way too easy and the ride from beginning to end, disallows lazy listening. This isn’t a passive CD. This is sing along, this is “oh snap! What did he just say?”, this is the very definition of a head nod. From the go-go tinged, Give the Drummer Some and the bouncy, clever Love Me In The Morning to the straight hip hop fire of, Logic and Theory. This is an album full of every corner of hip hop imaginable. You want crunk? You got it. You want go-go? You got it. You want a song about a toddler’s game, Peek-A-Boo punctuated by children’s laughter, you have that over a beat so infectious and happy, it recalls more 80s pop tune than anything else. Radio Friendly is nuanced, introspective, thought provoking and just plain good music. It’s the music we love and the way we allow it to love us– like fully functioning, highly intoxicating, brilliantly performed and produced and lyrics that have you searching for the rewind function. This is Grown hip hop by a Grown Ass Man for grown ass people. You will not be disappointed.
– Bassey Ikpi
New Classic Mixtape
Do you remember why you love hip-hop? The uncanny ability of your favorite artists to take what they have and turn it into what they want, is what made Bomani fall in love with the art form that has led pop culture into the new millennium. Trying to recapture that feeling, he had one of his favorite Dj’s (DJ RBI) send him classic break beats during fall of ‘09. Whatever RBI emailed him, from James Browns unforgettable “Funky Drummer” to Melvin Bliss’ often flipped “Synthetic Substitution”, he would cut up and re-imagine, using the some of the original songs words as the hook.
creditsreleased 27 January 2010
Executive produced by Bomani Armah
Produced by Bomani Armah
Co-produced by DJ RBI
Photography by Efirst
Graphic Design by Night Train
Bomani Armah is Darius Lovehall in Love Jones the Date Mixtape
Bomani Armah — he of “Read A Book” fame — is ready for his closeup. No, the “poet with a hip-hop style” hasn’t been cast in a feature film, but he is reprising a very famous movie character in his soon-to-be-released concept mixtape. Armah steps into the role of “Darius Lovehall” in Love Jones: The Date Mixtape, which will be released for free download on April 9th via his Bandcamp page. Way back in 1997 before Tyler Perry had a stranglehold on urban movies, Love Jones was the film that had everybody flocking to theaters to see Larenz Tate and Nia Long’s complicated love story unfold with spoken word, jazz, and neo-soul (before that became a bad word) providing the soundtrack. Now Bomani Armah breathes new life into this classic with his own twist on his latest — and what might be his greatest from what I’m hearing — mixtape. Aside from the whole genius of this entire concept, Armah is rhyming about some real, grown man business concerning relationships and love as it relates to the movie and his own life then and now. If, like me, you can’t wait for Love Jones: The Date Mixtape to drop on Saturday, then download these two samples to get a taste of what’s to come with “Goodbye Yesterday,” which samples “Hopeless” by Dionne Farris, and “Try To Explain,” which flips Lauryn Hill’s “Sweetest Thing.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna have these on repeat until I pop in the Love Jones DVD later on tonight. – Butta http://www.soulbounce.com
The Grown Man Mixtape
A compilation album original put together in 2007, featuring classic DC underground tracks from Mello-D & The Rados, Christylez Bacon, Hue-Man Prophets, and Omekongo Dibinga. Also featuring live performances from the Washington National Cathedral, Jammin Java, the old Cada Vez and Busboys & Poets on 14th & W.
I’m reaching my Jesus year, realizing I haven’t gotten as close as I’d like in my plot to take over the world. I was in a recording session with a good friend and collaborator while uploading my project from 2007 “The Grown Man Mixtape”. I mentioned in passing that I’m sure he’s heard a third of these tracks already. In reality he had heard none. We’ve travelled as far north and south as you should go in a car together, rocked numerous stages, broken bread to many times to count, yet he was still unfamiliar with most of the pre-Read a Book material I had. I didn’t realize how bad my promo game really was.
So here ya go, before I release the 2, possibly 3 projects this year, I need to know who’s listening, and if they think what I’ve been putting out for the past 5 years is worth listening too. This is most of the songs off of the original mixtape. I’ve taken off the songs that appear elsewhere on my bandcamp page, and two radio remakes that are extremely dated now (both musically and personally). Otherwise, this is the project that that introduced U st, then the world, to Read a Book.
Circumlocution Vol II
Get the first book from “Mr. Read a Book”. Circumlocution Vol II is a collection of poems, essays and song lyrics compiled from the last 3 years of Bomani’s writing. Covering everything from love, fatherhood and the Sandusky scandal to blacks and homophobia and the bible, this book is definitely the circumlocutions of an irreverent mind. With the purchase of the book you get a download of the 7 track album featuring appearances by Juno Brown, Lady Pcoq, Baracuda Black and Multiple Man. Warning, I make iPod albums. Not everything on here is family friendly.
creditsreleased 27 January 2012
Produced by Bomani Armah
Engineered by Bomani Armah
Mastered by William Vaughan IV
Executive Produced by Bomani Armah & William Vaughan IV
featuring Mark “The Professor” Hatcher, Juno Brown, Lisa “Lady Pcoq” Pegram, Baracuda Black, Multiple Man, Olu Armah, Dela Armah
The Hustle/Shake it Off
Growing up in the DC Metropolitan area, Bomani Armah has always felt a calling on his life. The stark contrast and disturbing similarities of the black utopia that was supposed to be in PG County, and the realities of the tough streets of “murder capital” era Washington DC were incredible backdrop for an insightful artist who become known in 28 short years as D’mite. Tight rope walking the line of poetry & emceeing, Gospel & Go-Go, street wise & academic learning, Bomani has sought to achieve the medium between straight headbangers & insightful lyricism. His debut enhanced maxi-single “The Hustle/Shake it Off” finds D’mite at a critical time, grasping with the realities of adult hood in a time where pop culture is becoming more and more immature.