Various - Afrolution Vol. 1

2006-09-07 16:25
Afrolution offers the results of this process. The music has a common base, but it’s also an eclectic mix of hip-hop styles from countries across the African continent. Although some might not fully grasp the lyrics of this album (due to the Francophone and Anglophone mix) hip-hop rhythms speak a universal language. Whether it's fused with trip-hop, rap, scratching or jungle or makes use of sampling, beatboxing or turntablism, it’s more often than not the beat that unifies the message of hip-hop.

Afrolution Vol. 1 features artists from eight different countries, with each region showcasing its unique style.

From Kenya: On "Mjanja" Wawesh blends rap, reggae, R&B and dance pop smoothly. He switches effortlessly between English and his native Swahili.

From Senegal: Wolof (native to Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania) lyrics are set to mbalax, which is a genre of music using rhythms of the Wolof people, Cuban music and electric guitars. This genre was made popular by Youssou N'Dour and characterizes Omzo's "Li Guen", while "Jalgati" by Pee Froiss makes use of more hardcore instruments such as synthesizers and drum machines. From South Africa: The legendary Emile YX, from pioneering hip-hop group Black Noise, is featured with his rhythmic rapping and socially conscious lyrics on "Who Am I". Cashless Society's trip-hoppy "Taxi Wars" highlights the gun-slinging life of the country's "biggest gang".

From Zimbabwe: The US hip-hop influence can be clearly heard on Zimbabwe's four contributions to Afrolution. On "DK Anthem" by Divided Kingdom and "Revolution" by Begotten Sun, the American pronunciation is a bit overwhelming. Luckily the African enunciations of the backing vocals on "Africa is Zion" by Migrant Souls and "Life" by Metaphysics, stamp the 'Truly African' seal on these tracks.

From Tanzania: The funky bongo flava on Xplastaz's "Msimu Kwa Msimu" is a refreshing exhibition of how both male and female rappers can feature harmoniously on one track. Bongo flava is a blend of muziki wa dansi (native dance music), taarab (an East African music genre) and Indian filmi (Indian music performed in movies).

From Nigeria: JJC blends mainstream hip-hop with the unique Afro-style on "Kilonsele".

The bonus DVD includes an interview with Afrolution producers Trenton Burch and Dennis Tapfuma who try to provide "insight" into their world. The DVD also includes interesting interviews with US hip-hop artist Speech from Arrested Development and Patrick Neate, author of the global Hip Hop book.

Providing a visual guide to African hip hop, the DVD features music videos and a recording of the B-Boy Battle of the Year between Handbrake and Collaboration at the 2004 African Hip-Hop Indaba.

Afrolution Vol. 1 is merely a taste of the African hip hop scene, there certainly is a lot more to this genre than many think.

- Megan Kakora
Some say that African hip-hop took what US artists taught and molded the sound, shaping it and styling the music to make it our own.

heineken skywalker 2007/01/10 11:03 AM
three starts is too much ive heard that project,seen the videos im sorry but even tho' i love my fellow africans like dat i think that record was really wack, Besides cashless and metaphisics every other artist in that compilation cant rap and im in dispute of the three stars u given them more like a star would love
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