Rab Bakari was Born in 1967 and Grew up in Queens and Brooklyn, New York City.
From an early age he was passionate about hip hop culture and was a part of its early development. For Rab hip hop was a way to express black culture and solidarity.
He grew up making beats and rapping and break dancing and doing graffiti in the streets and parks and small shops and studios around New York.
He Attended City College of New York. He moved to Accra, Ghana to pursue his dream of building global pan-African connections amongst Black peoples in the diaspora and on the continent through hip hop.
Rab together with Reggie Rockstone created the genre of music known as Hiplife by blending the New York sound with various African popular and traditional musical forms in such a manner. His work shaped the contemporary global music landscape and what is now known as Afrobeats. Over decades, he mentored numerous rising artists and producers.
Rab “The International” Bakari was the most generous and genuine of people.
He lived for music and for hip hop in all of its forms. He remained true to his origins creating as a graffiti artist and a DJ and a producer and was always honing his musical craft incorporating new sounds while drawing on his vast knowledge of global sound. He also led several music and culture ventures as an entrepreneur.
Rab lived to connect with others and was endlessly generous. He loved talking to anyone who was passionate. As a child of Brooklyn and Queens he lived fully in New York City and as a true New Yorker, but his heart remained in Ghana.
He had boundless energy; he could be found DJing late at night in a small venue with a few attentive listeners or a large event of dancing crowds. He never stopped seeking truth in music and connection.
Rab was an ardent Pan-African. He read and absorbed the writings of Dr.Kwame Nkrumah, MalcolmX, Amilcar Cabral, and W.E.B. Dubois and paid tribute to their material and spiritual linkages to Accra.
Rab tried to express the spirit of Pan-Africanism in his approach to the music of his generation, Hip-Hop, hence his honorific title, “Mr International”.
Rab worked for a major global music company for over a decade in digital content and as a graphic designer in New York, before quitting to pursue a full time career as a DJ and to return to what made him happiest-working with true fans and musicians in Africa.
He passed on a day that was profoundly meaningful to him, Ghana’s Independence Day, in a location that he loved, a secluded festival on a West African beach.
He is survived by a wife and two daughters. He is also survived by generations of musicians and music lovers who will forever benefit from his endless energy and spiritual legacy that can be heard and felt everywhere.
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