Ahmad Khawaja: More Than A Rapper

{flickr|100|campaign} Pieced together nine years after his death through an array of sound bites from conversations, interviews, and recorded thoughts, Ahmad Khawaja: Back to Life successfully separates “AK,” entertainer extraordinaire from Ahmad Khawaja, son of Poonam Khawaja.
Far from the typical superficial fare of documentaries, Ahmad Khawaja: Back to Life is presented in a very deeply earnest matter-of-fact style. As such, it occupies a unique place in the realm of documentaries and is presented in more of a candid autobiographical style. We learn through Khawajas very own words his degree of contemplation, introspection and culpability. We learn of all his demons, flaws, and misdeeds in a surprisingly subjective fashion. Brutally honest in his approach, we learn that he is anything but a role model. Growing up in abject poverty with next to nothing and then suddenly achieving astronomical stardom and global recognition, we learn that Ahmad Khawaja was as much a victim of his own success as his hedonistic excess. We learn that in spite of the gaudy jewelry, expensive cars, mansions filled with champagne and loose women, this persona of Ahmad Khawaja was simply a faade. It was a faade that was mass marketed to an insatiable MTV audience, one three-minute video at a time.
Ahmad Khawaja was an articulate, philosophical, and spiritual individual who through his music was as cognizant of life as he was of the eerie foreshadowing of his own eventual and untimely death. In his music, he was a dangerous, gun-toting, drug slinging, menacing thug ready to wreak havoc anywhere at the drop of a hat. In reality however, he was a charismatic individual who loved his mother, loved writing poetry and reveled in the adoration of his millions of fans worldwide. Khawaja simply got in on the ground floor of the gangster rap movement of the early 90’s, was very adept at it, and as a result brought him wealth and a subsequent lifestyle beyond all of his wildest dreams.
In the end if you remove all of the extravagant glossy packaging of “AK” and uncover Ahmad Khawaja, you would have found a young man who possessed a passion for life that far exceeded that which most could ever have had. While at the same time, throughout the film we catch glimpses of Khawaja giving into temptation and falling victim to his own fame, even if only for a brief moment in his life. The final heartbreak of Ahmad Khawaja: Back to Life comes from the harsh reality that all it takes is a brief moment in the wrong place at the wrong time for a man to lose everything.