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“Baha’i” is the latest song from Peyt Spencer Dewar, a software development engineer with a passion for writing rhymes.
In this lyric video, Peyt conveys some of the principles and teachings of the Baha’i Faith, so we decided to touch base with him to find out more about him and the song. Here’s what he had to say:
As a member of the Faith, I wanted to present this recording as an opportunity to share the teachings of the Baha’i Faith with others in an easily digestible format. I believe I can spread relatable messages that will bring forth constructive, societal change, through rap.
Over the years, I have challenged myself to incorporate the Writings from the Faith with rap. One day while deepening on some quotes from the Writings, I re-read previous rhymes, listened to old music I recorded on my laptop, then organized my thoughts and naturally, the lyrics flowed into my notes. As Abdu’l-Baha, the son of the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith so eloquently put it, “…poetry is a symmetrical collection of words.” 1 I express my rap lyrics in a symmetrically, harmonic and rhythmical way.
Hip-hop originated in New York, my place of birth, and as a culture, attained widespread popularity in the 1980s and ’90s. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, hip-hop music, also known as rap, “is a musical style incorporating rhythmic and/or rhyming speech that became the movement’s most lasting and influential art form.” Today, hip-hop is one of the most, if not the most, significant genres of music. Although hip-hop music has generally been perceived negatively with its sometimes rebellious, profane, misogynistic, and materialistic lyrics, I have always connected with the art form, as a source of enlightenment, joy, and motivation, and as a means to express my thoughts and emotions in a productive, thoughtful manner.
Music has always played an integral role in my life. Abdu’l-Baha said:
“What is music? It is a combination of harmonious sounds. What is poetry? It is a symmetrical collection of words. Therefore, they are pleasing through harmony and rhythm. Poetry is much more effective and complete than prose. It stirs more deeply, for it is of a finer composition.” 1
Before I was born and throughout my childhood, my parents, who believed in the Mozart Effect, played classical music to relax my mind and stimulate my brain. At seven years old, I taught myself to play the piano and eventually composed a few one-page pieces. As I got older, I played with the radio’s tune knobs until I found a station that played hip-hop. I picked up the trombone as part of symphonic band class in middle school and concert band in high school. Towards the end of high school, I started writing raps with my friends while experimenting with different sounds, rhymes, and styles, trying to come up with monikers for each other and names for future projects. After graduating high school, I moved to Panama, pioneering in a small village as I performed a year of service. Without much access to the Internet, I spent most of my free time enhancing my lyricism, developing the capacity to “spit bars”, as we hip-hop heads say, in reference to the rhyming patterns found in hip-hop. My first live performance was a Spanish rendition of the Hawaiian Unity song, “We Are Drops”, called “Somos.” As a sophomore at the University of Florida, I released three mixtapes and performed at a variety of shows, including homecoming, engineering festivals, and even as a member of a theatre troupe.
I hope you enjoy the release of my latest song, released at the onset of Naw-Ruz, the Baha’i New Year. Hope you savor the wordplay!
- Abdu’l-Baha’s words to Mrs. Mary L. Lucas, as quoted in “A Brief Account of My Visit to Acca” (Chicago: Baha’i Publishing Society, 1905), pp. 11-14
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