Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow: The Rebirth of Sha
FOR MANY OF US,
coming of age isn't a peaceful transition. There is no proverbial baton that is effortlessly passed from adolescence to adulthood. No, it is a violent awakening that is met with anxiety, angst, confusion, and disappointment. Our idyllic reality eaten away like soft enamel by the trepidations of life. And it is here we learn to swim as we are no longer buoyed by the falsehoods of our naiveté. Swim or perish.
It's 7:30 p.m. on an unusually mundane Friday night and Shamir Dominique, better known by his rap moniker Sha the Flash, is experiencing his own awakening. The 22-year-old artist is primed to release his debut project, The Valley, this spring and has immersed himself in the creative process to bring it to fruition. Over the knock of 808s and symphonic high hats, he recounts the process of meticulously crafting The Valley which, based on his recklessly poignant accounts, feels like a modern-day adaptation of Apostle Paul's conversion in Damascus if chronicled by Kate Chopin and produced by Noah Shebib.
Which isn't far off since biblical allusions are woven throughout the framework of this project.
Naturally astute, Sha juggles his ambitions of rap stardom with those of med school, but his struggles outside of music are what brought him to his valley of reckoning. Heartache over a tough breakup with his dream girl coupled with financial aid complications that threatened his academic future eroded the young rapper, spiritually. He describes feeling paralyzed as life bombarded him with complications.
Swim or perish.
For Sha, there was no golden chariot. No shortcut. And for a period of time, there remained nothing except the sinking feeling of self-pity and regret. He recalls incessantly praying for wisdom as he tried to piece together his next steps. The prayers taught him patience and humility and time brought perspective as he quietly discovered his own strength and self-love. And then in the mercilessly bleak valley, God answered.
The story of Ezekiel was revelatory. It grounded Sha. The biblical allusions in The Valley directly correlate to his own life as he captures the essence of his spiritual rebirth that propelled him to this current milestone. This project represents growth, adversity, rejection, failure, and pain. But, most importantly, it represents victory (even over Sallie Mae).
This concept is what shaped The Valley. This is the coming of age of a young kid from Broward County who has been breathing life into dead situations since birth. A young man resolved to shaping his own destiny with divine guidance and an unapologetic mantra. One who has traversed from the hood to the suburbs; from the folly of youth to a man who is still growing and learning. This project is for those who learned to swim.
Welcome to The Valley.