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Bomani Armah (previously known as Darel Hancock), also known as D'mite, or Not a Rapper, is a self-identified "poet with a hip-hop style, not a rapper," best known for the 2007 single "Read a Book."

Bomani Armah
Bomani Armeh 6413.JPG
BornDarel Hancock
EducationUniversity of Maryland, College Park


Armah grew up in Mitchellville, Maryland. He dropped out of the University of Maryland, College Park to become a musician. He is divorced and is the father of twins.[1] He is also a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity.

In 2005, Bomani was introduced to the world with the debut of the Mello-D and the Rados music video "Cool Witchu" on BET. By October 2006, the Washington Post regarded him as "one of the more entertaining voices in a local spoken word scene that's overflowing with talent." They also noted that he was "grabb[ing] hearts and minds" with "Read a Book", a spoof of crunk songs that was "scary because it's a bit difficult to tell that it's satire".[2]

In January 2007, Armah took part in Martin Luther King Day observances at the Washington National Cathedral, with Sister Helen Prejean and the Urban Nation H.I.P.-H.O.P. Choir.[3][4]

Armah became famous with the MySpace-released 2007 single "Read A Book." The song admonishes listeners to "read a muh'fuckin book", "raise yo kids", wear deodorant, buy some land, and brush their "God damned teeth", among other things, including advising "your body needs water, so drink that shit", in a satire of crunk-style songs which advocate a more "gangsta" lifestyle, set to a loop of an excerpt from Beethoven's Symphony No.5. A clean version also exists, where the profanity is edited out, as it states: "Per your many request, finally an edited version online. Please play this for the youngins!! Make sure to leave a comment, then go to "" (Bomani's website) to download an MP3 of this song and much more phenomenal music from Bomani Armah". Success of the single grew when it was used as the topic of a short animated film which aired on Black Entertainment Television's The 5ive. Animated by Six Point Harness Studios, the video features stylized cartoon stereotypes who are directed (often by force) to carry out the advice presented in the lyrics of "Read a Book" by a crunk rapper.[5] In June 2007 the song was included on Dan Greenpeace and DJ Yoda's Unthugged Vol. 2 with an introduction from Armah introducing himself as D'Mite.

In the fall of 2007, Armah released a song about the Jena Six case in Louisiana. He also performed at the CMJ Music Marathon, where a Village Voice blogger panned him as a "technically strong rapper with zero stage presence and only slightly more personality."[6]

Armah returned to the National Cathedral in January 2008, to lead its Martin Luther King Day event.[7]

In March 2008, the Washington Post published his commentary calling on Barack Obama to show his "white side."[8][9]


  1. ^ Merida, Kevin (November 22, 2007). "His Punch Line Smarts: Hip-Hop Parodist Bomani Armah Juggles Sense of Humor and Identity". Washington Post. p. C01. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  2. ^ Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz (October 19, 2006). "Nightlife Agenda". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-07-11.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ Johnson, Darragh (January 15, 2007). "Where Hope Meets Hip-Hop: D.C. Artists Will Use Reality-Based Rhymes To Reinforce Martin Luther King Jr.'s Message". Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  4. ^ Chumbley, Lucy (February 2007). "Remembering King's nonviolent legacy" (PDF). Washington Window. Episcopal Diocese of Washington. p. 3. Vol. 76, No. 2. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  5. ^ Aspan, Maria (August 27, 2007). "BET Says Cartoon Was Just a Satire". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  6. ^ Breihan, Tom (October 20, 2007). "Status Ain't Hood > CMJ Day Four: Fuckups and Miracles". Village Voice. Archived from the original on September 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  7. ^ staff writers (11 January 2007). "What would MLK do? ask young Americans". Ekklesia. London. Retrieved 2008-07-11.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  8. ^ Armah, Bomani (March 23, 2008). "Okay, Barack. Now Show 'Em Your White Side". Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  9. ^ "Satirist Wants to See Obama's 'White Side'". Talk of the Nation. National Public Radio. March 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-11.

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