Mustafa Releases Debut Project

Today, poet and songwriter Mustafa releases his debut project, When Smoke Rises, via his own Regent Park Songs. The project, which American Songwriter called “one of the most poignant, intimate and authentic projects of recent memory,” exemplifies a style Mustafa himself describes as “inner city folk music” that finds musical inspiration in the folk greats such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Richie Havens but channelled through the contemporary lens of Mustafa’s modern day Toronto.

The project features production from heavy-hitters Frank Dukes and Jamie xx, along with multiple contributions from similarly forlorn geniuses Sampha and James Blake. Also present on When Smoke Rises are the voices of longtime friends and Regent Park natives Rax, Puffy L’z, and both the dearly departed Ali and Smoke Dawg. They are the ones without whom When Smoke Rises would not exist. More importantly though, they are at least some of the people it is for. “My entire plight, since I was young, has been in and around protecting and preserving the stories of my community,” Mustafa says. “It’s the reason that I began writing poetry. I’m like how am I going to preserve the stories that are not currently being told with any authenticity?”