A Conversation With Ali Shaheed
What do you do to stay fit and healthy?
I don’t like the taste of alcohol, so I don’t drink. I’ve never smoked weed or cigarettes. I drink a lot of water. I’ve even gotten into the habit within the past 15 years [where] I don’t drink too much juice because it’s a lot of sugar. It’s just a matter of balance, diet and exercise. I have my moments where I’ll go really hard for two months and then I won’t for another two years depending on how I’m doing everything else. I am a crazy chocolate, cookie and cake fanatic. It’s just really about balance. I also stay in prayer. They say it’s good genes. My great grand mother is 106 and still kicking.
What’s the best advice to having a successful relationship with someone in the music industry?
I don’t know. You might be asking the wrong person.
Really? Let’s just say you are dealing with a woman who is not in the industry, what would you tell her?
Well, first and foremost being in tune with yourself is a priority. You really need to know who you are, then you can easily articulate your wishes, your wants, your expectations and be in charge of your emotions. It is kind of a challenge to do that because we speak emotionally lots of times, and we are not really speaking heart. You have to have understanding. You have to understand that our lifestyle [and] certain environments are not conducive to a good union. And, understand that your partner is a human being, and it is understandable why emotions get heightened. It’s also about learning. It’s kind of like filtering through all these emotions and miscommunications or what you think is being conveyed. Really trying to have patience to understand and be honest. Being successful is important but at what stake? I can’t say that if you asked me this at 23 I would be able to answer that and be so connected. That’s just experience speaking, and even still with what I know, it is still a struggle.
Are you a momma’s boy?
I always tell her that she’s more valuable to me now as an adult, than I think as a child. I think that I can appreciate her experiences and views more now. When your mom tells you something and you’re seven years old and there’s a reason, you have no idea.
What can we look forward to from Mr. Muhammed?
I am working on my second solo record. I have taken these past few years to really sharpen my emcee skills. I have a song on there with Phife that I really love. It’s a fun song. There’s a song with De La Sol, so I got some classic stuff. I actually am doing three records at one time–hip-hop, dance and alternative. I’m also writing for a few other people and just staying inspired musically. I’m still growing as a musician. I am trying to find enough quiet time to play cello. That’s like my ultimate instrument. It’s a very warm, emotional instrument. I am just striving to earn the creators favor.
It was pouring outside of the New York City restaurant that we chose to meet at. I prayed that Ali wouldn’t cancel due to weather but as soon as I walked in, there he was. Timeless and classic. Not only was our conversation one of the most spiritual ones I’ve ever had with a stranger, but I knew that he honestly had become the man that he said his mother wanted him to be. “I can tell you what my goals are and that is to strive to earn the favor of the creator and that is not easy to do with all of the vastness that this world has for the eyes to see.”