The Hustle​/​Shake it Off

by Bomani Armah

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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.

In his music and poetry you can hear the artistic freedom of Outkast, the soul stirring encouragement of Richard Smallwood, the funky swing of Chuck Brown, the prophetic lyricism of Khalil Gibran and the unbridled flow of Ludacris. His influence range from the seminal African novelist Ayi Kwei Armah and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakka to the golden era hip-hop of Tribe Called Quest and Scarface.

Since leaving the University of Maryland in 2000, Bomani has been eye-balls deep in the youth development field. He has lent his unique talents as performer and educator to many organizations including Martha’s Table, The American Poetry Museum, The DC Writers Workshop, Sol y Soul, Words Beats & Life Journal, Free Minds Prison Poetry Group, and the Black Out Arts Collective. Rather than deciding between being an artist or a teacher, or living the double life as a teacher during the day and artists at night, Bomani has forever smashed the to together to bring to his audiences edutainment the way KRS-1 always meant for it to happen. His work as counselor, emcee and producer on the highly heralded album “Critical Times” released by the Teen Program at Martha’s Table show Bomani’s myriad skills at there best. Bomani work as a counselor help the teenage contributors to this project reflect and write about critical issues in the young, male, minority community including the definition of manhood, and the importance of looking out for the community. But how do you lay out a path for young people when you are still busy navigating through life yourself? Bomani strives to be honest about his own moral and spiritual battles in songs and poetry like his signature piece “Pimp Preacher” while being self affirming and informative in tracks like “The Hustle” and “Grown Ass Man”. His debut solo video "The Hustle" (available on the enhanced CD) is a blueprint for anyone trying to hustle legitmately.

He is featured on the album and first single/video from Mello-D & The Rados: “Cool Witchu”, which aired on BET’s Rap City and peaked at #3 on national college radio charts. Bomani has scored independent films including BET’s Wrap-It-Up original film “Multitudes of Mercies”. He has appeared on WJLA Channel 7, WHUR 96.3, WPGC 95.5, WPFW 89.3, WMUC 88.1, and He has featured/performed at such venues as the Nuyorican Poet’s Café (NY, NY), The Black Cat (DC), Studio Theater (DC), the Gala Theater (DC), Karibu Books (MD), Bohemian Cavern (DC), Mangoes (DC), The Market Five Gallery (DC), Art-O-Matic 2004 (DC), Tawes Theater (University of Maryland College Park), Organic Soul Tuesday (Baltimore, MD). He is also an organizer and host of “Arts Under the Stars” at Sankofa Video & Books (DC) and open mic Tuesdays at Busboys & Poets (DC).


released January 27, 2006


all rights reserved


Track Name: Shake it Off
Verse 1

Hey look, you’re never really satisfied whether rich or poor
I mean, once you get some, you’re gonna want some more
We bear pretty fruit, that’s rotten to the core
We import drugs and export war
And at the end of the day, what is all of this for
I mean what matters in the world baby, I’m not really sure
I’d say it’s mother nature but we treat her like a whore
I’d say it’s god but we’ve shown her the door
So, tell me why we do this every day
Give up our life time, for an hours worth of pay
And try to convince ourselves that it will be okay
Truth is, I ain’t happy here but here is where I stay
So I gotta find way to have peace every day
Sometimes I drink a beer, sometimes I smoke a jay
Sometimes I curse and scream, sometimes I kneel and pray
But when I’m on the dance floor this is why I say

Chorus 2X

You’ve had a day that was really wack
You’ve got to much pressure on your back
You getting’ love with strings attached

Verse 2

It’s hard to avoid the devil when you’re chillin in his lair
But, we’re not suppose to get more than we can bear
But, who ever told you that life was really fair
So, for a moment live life without a care
So baby girl do what you want to with your hair
Have fun, live a little, take a dare
We stress so much about what we drive and wear
Looking for something that isn’t really there
We walk around all day feelin we’ve bee cheated
So hearts get cold and arguments get heated
Life can be so sour and we are forced to eat it
Time for a revolution, follow me I’ll lead it
This is for all of those who really feel defeated
Who’ve been abused, misused, and mistreated
I know sometimes your spirit feels depleted
I wrote this one for you ‘cause I know you really need it
It goes…

Chorus 6X
Track Name: The Hustle

The Hustle
24/7 that’s how it’s gotta be
The Hustle
Nothing in this life’s for free
The Hustle
Nobody wants it more than me
‘Cause it’s the Hustle, it’s the Hustle

Verse 1

I gotta buy food, and I gotta pay the rent
And excuses are the tools of the incompetent
I try to pay my credit cards, but I barely make a dent
At the end of the week I wonder where my money went
Is there a better way? There’s gotta be
That’s why people play the lottery
That’s why my brother studies stocks, and commodities
And I invest everything in intellectual property
cd’s of beats and notebooks full of raps
designed to stimulate your mind, and make your hands clap
so when I’m old with grand kids on my lap
I’ll still be getting checks in the mail from ASCAP
Whatchu think the hustlin’s for
Why we do these small bars for a cut at the door
Why we battle soft emcees who think they’re hard core
I’m trynna take this show on tour


Verse II

I’m not moving to New York, I’m staying in my home town
I want to be the king of D.C.’s underground
I got a universal message, with a unique sound
I’m ‘bout to be a living legend like the great chuck brown
Then I’ll move on to Baltimore and Philly
And down to Richmond and drive the competition silly
And then I’ll smuggle beats to Europe, Asia and Africa
And be known around the world as a hip-hop trafficka
I’m hustler baby, you can’t tell
The school of hard knocks, has really taught me well
Like, sometimes you have to whisper, sometimes you have to yell
And if it ain’t about money don’t call me on your cell
People say if it’s for the money, then the art ain’t true
Hey look, I love my music I just love to eat too
Metaphors to make you think and punch lines to make you chuckle
Can’t do the Harlem shake, but I sure can do the hustle


Verse III

5 o’clock in the morning I’m trynna get what I want
I’m excited about my goals but some people are nonchalant
Because they ask for stuff, while the hustlers take it
They try to earn money while the hustlers make it
I’m not good and flipping weight, or committing petty crimes
But I’ll make a hot cd and cut it into nicks and dimes
Then hit every open mic and YAMD show
Whether 100 degrees or if it’s 2 feet of snow
Sometimes the hustle can be painful and slow
But I’ll come through your window if you don’t let me through the door
This is for the artists with their concepts and plays
And athletes sweating their ways through two a days
And students studying hard for their GRE’s
And the people on 95 with a trunk full of keys
And all the pimps and playas with all that street muscle
I don’t like what you do, but I must respect the hustle
Track Name: Pimp Preacher
Chorus 2X

I’m a pimp, a preacher
Drug dealer, and a teacher
A god, and a nigga
I don’t know, go figga
From the yin, to the yang
I’mma do, my thang
Way pray, wanna bang,
Join a church, join a gang

Verse I

Talking to a conscious brother, he caught an attitude
‘cause I said I like Ludacris and Devin the Dude
I told a sista with a perm she was cute, she said “Yeah,
I thought you only like the girls with natural hair”
Your father’s a preacher, why do you curse when you speak
Talk all the Africa stuff, how the hell are you greek
You say the money don’t matter, but you’re out here chasin G’s
You say you’re a vegan but eat pizza with extra cheese
You tell me all the time that you’re a lover not a fighter
But I saw jump a dude in College Park at the all nighter
Sometimes you’re optimistic, sometimes you’re suicidal
You don’t believe in Jesus but you always quote the Bible
Ask to explain, I gotta say I don’t know
Sometimes I swim upstream, sometimes I go with the flow
That’s what happens when you evolve and grow
That’s why you get so much when you come to a show.


Verse II

From ghetto to ghetto, to back yard to yard
I always represent god
Ask me how, brother it ain’t hard
I’m more than the numbers on my social security card
I represent him in the way I walk and what I say
‘cause her fingerprints are all over my DNA
I try to bring out the best so I meditate and I pray
I’m the closest to perfection when I make love to Eshe
My religion, has no denomination
My spirit is my teacher, my soul is my congregation
My holy book is my life, open to interpretation
Everyday god brings me a brand new revelation
Man woman and child is my holy trinity
‘cause my old one didn’t have any feminine energy
I know longer pray to ask god to enter me
I just know that god is and I just let it be

Track Name: Grown Ass Man

Ya’ll out making some noise,
I’m on some making plan
Ya’ll out playing with toys
I’m on some buying land
Yo ya’ll just little boys
I’m on some grown man
I’m a grown man,
I’m on some grown man

Verse 1

When I was young I use to like to tear the club up
Make a liquor run, be the first to put a dub up
If you wanna fight, yo man it’s like what’s up
Always chillin’ with the girls tryna get some cut up
Fascinated with all types of things
Nightlife and all the hype it brings
The fast cars and all the diamond rings
But I’m a man so I put away the childish things
Looking for the devils pie, and I ate some
I was child, lucky I ain’t make one
After a while the little games ain’t fun
There’s a war going on outside no man is safe from
The older grow you know life ain’t fair
I’m a grown ass man, I gotta be prepared
The battlefield keeps changing gotta be aware
Might be a little worried but I’m never scared
Ladies I’m bringing men back, I know you miss us
Talkin’ ‘bout our feelings and real issues
And I’m never gonna call no other dude delicious
I’mma show the youngin’s how to act
I’mma fight against things that hold us back
I’m not gonna be the stereotype of being black
Cause I’m a grown man, to old for that
I feel luck, Cause these youngins are feelin’ me
But all this little boy hip-hop keeps killing me
So as a grown man I conduct positive energy
Cause the gift of gab is a right and a responsibility


Verse 2

I’m a grown man, with a grown spine
Giving my fans a grown rhyme
And I can take care of what’s mine
Watching my plan come together with time
I ain’t in a hurry
I ain’t doing 95 when I’m riding dirty
I ain’t trickin’ on a girl I don’t care how pretty
I ain’t doin’ college night when I’m over thirty
I ain’t gonna cause a ruckus because I’ve got a crew
I ain’t playing games when there’s work to do
Getting use to this man it ain’t brand new
Follow along you can become one to
While you messing around with the boys on the block
I’m with grown men coming up with a plot
Ain’t saying that I am when I know that I’m not
I know my word is all that I got
Got grown stuff on my mind
Hear the same sex song a thousand times
Say what you want but it sounds like a crime
Who you trying to attract with them nursery rhymes
You got little girls, giggling and grinning
Spit a little game and you got their head spinnin’
Man that’s wrong you know you sinnin’
To immature to talk to grown women
Who ain’t goin’ for the parlor tricks
Who know about business and politics
Ain’t sweatin’ you don’t care how hard it gets
Ain’t leavin’ you don’t care how hard it gets
But them little girls keep playin’ tricks on your phone,
Call with number block giving you the dial tone
Soon one day you’ll be old an alone,
but not me, cause I’m way to grown

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