Portland-based rap artist Shine (Munye Mohamed) moved to Washington D.C. with his family in 1998  when he was 5 years old to escape the civil war in his homeland of Somalia. From there they went to Minnesota and he’s been in Maine since 2003. Shine started writing poetry when he was a teen, often reading at local open mics, and was a regional finalist in the Maine State Poetry Out Loud competition in 2011.

Shine began to merge his words with music in 2015 and started to record and make videos of his alternative and rap songs. He’s released dozens of songs and has made about 17 videos. His debut full-length album “Aspirations” is due out later this year. It was recorded last year at Penumbra Recordings in South Portland and was engineered and produced by Jason Whitmore.

The video for the title track was uploaded to YouTube on April 1 and has racked up nearly 1.4 million views. It was directed by videographer Landry Gapangwa  who came from Los Angeles to film “Aspirations” with Shine in Maine and New York City last November.

“Through my music, I am a voice for the community and for my people. My message is this: Never give up in life, no matter how hard it gets, and never give up on your dreams,” Shine said in a press release. “I speak of struggle, for those who aren’t able to speak for themselves, and to inspire future generations. I came from having nothing in a (third) world country. That made me who I am today. I’m proud of myself. I came a long way.”

“Aspirations” might only be two minutes long but it’s jam-packed with powerful rhymes and fierce beats. There are a few expletives so best to listen without kids around.

Here’s the video for “Shine:”

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