Maine rappers take the stage at Mayo Street Arts

Portland rapper and poet Munye Mohamed makes art about difficult topics such as racism and injustice. Until now, people were eager to hear what he had to say.

Somali-born Mohamed, who plays Shine, released a video in April for a song called “Aspirations” which has more than 1.6 million views on YouTube. He released his first album, “Aspirations 2”, in October. On Saturday, he will headline a rap show at Mayo Street Arts in Portland.

“I try to talk about real life things, how black people are mistreated, racism and discrimination,” said Mohamed, 29. “Being Somali and not born in Maine, people underestimate you. I’m a musician and an activist, and I want to be a voice for the community.

Mohamed will be the headliner of New Starz on Mayo Street. The evening features several other rap artists, including KSL, Superstar Freddy and AB the King. The show will be hosted by Neeko Brown and will last approximately two hours, with an intermission.

Mohamed said he was grateful to Katie Page, program manager at Mayo Street Arts, for reaching out to him to organize the how and for making space for local rappers on the venue’s stage.

Mohamed moved to the United States from Somalia when he was 5 years old and grew up in Portland. Before making music, he was drawn to poetry. He has performed spoken word pieces at open mic nights at local venues including Dobra Tea, Mayo Street Arts and others. In 2011, he was a regional finalist in Maine’s Poetry Out Loud, a competition for high school students.

He has been playing and recording rap since 2015 and is currently working on another album, “Aspirations 3”, at Anchor Studio in Lewiston. He hopes to release it in April.

Saturday’s show is open to people 18 and older, and a sliding-scale admission policy is available for those who can’t afford the $15-$18 ticket prices. Attendees must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test. Masks are mandatory when not actively eating or drinking.

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