Maga Bo & Xuman (Senegal) – ‘Fire’

Maga Bo‘s exploration of underground global sounds continues with the forthcoming release ‘Archipelagoes’ on dj/Rupture’s Soot Records. As a taster, Bo presented this clip on his Kolleidosonic blog – ‘Fire’ featuring Senegalese MC Xuman. Originally tucked in at the end of the 2007 mixtape ‘Confusion Of Tongues’ (one of Fat Planet’s Albums of 2007), ‘Fire’ is the first track to receive the video treatment with two more promised soon: ‘Saye Mbott’ featuring Alif, filmed in Dakar, and ‘Nqayi’ feat. Teba which was shot in Cape Town.

‘Shook’ magazine recently published an article from Maga Bo detailing his experiences of the Ethiopian music industry – you can read a short extract, titled ‘Electronics Merkato’ at their blog. Catch Maga Bo on a selection of dates throughout U.S. and Canada in April.

African Underground: Depths Of Dakar (Senegal)

Originally posted on Fat Planet.

DOWNLOAD: SEN KUMPA niawal

some time ago, the u.s.-based label nomadic wax dropped ‘african underground vol.1 – hip hop senegal’ – the first, and to my mind still the only compilation of senegalese hip hop to hit international soil.

in order to capture the raw essence of local african hip hop, nomadic wax founder ben herson took to the road with a mobile studio and set up shop in towns and villages around the country. the result was a record that was rarely off the fat planet stereo. herson captured something that was unequivocally unique about african MCs – a dark, deep and overtly political strand of hip hop that once again proved the point that the genre remains the voice of musical protest around the world.

fast forward two years – ben and the nomads hit senegal once again for the follow up, ‘african underground: depths of dakar’, currently available to download from calabashmusic.com (although a retail release is also due may 15). thanks to nomadic wax, we have a special fat planet preview – the track ‘niawal’ by sen kumpa can be downloaded above. you can also check the video for this clip at brightcove.com.

the album is a companion to a fascinating online documentary series titled ‘democracy in dakar‘. when former oppostion leader abdoulaye wade came to power in 2000, many believed that the voices in the senegalese hip hop movement assisted greatly in his victory. in the absence of critical media and western blog culture, hip hop filled the vacuum – many groups specifically putting their voices behind wade’s election campaign. seven years later, those same voices come together in this documentary series to question wade’s effectiveness in the run-up to the next round of elections.

filmed over the last month in dakar, with videos posted weekly online at africanunderground.com, the series has a crucial real-time perspective – the latest episode, posted on monday, shows the reaction to the news that wade was returned to power last week with an unexpected, and allegedly dubious, 56% share of the vote. the absence of joy on the streets of dakar is profoundly disturbing and makes for compelling viewing.

view all the clips at africanunderground.com. for more information on nomadic wax projects and artists, head to nomadicwax.com. you can also read the ‘depths of dakar’ sleeve notes at african underground.

Machinedrum, Omzo, Slam Revolution, Cyne

MACHINEDRUM [U.S.]
$$legs mp3
mltply mp3
i’m new to these guys, but the ever-helpful (and wallet-loosening) bleep.com describes their last album (‘now you know’) as a release “that helped define the digital/cutup hip hop sound”. and there’s infinite shades of early funkstorung in there – i adore the germans’ ‘additional productions’ release from way back, it was a genuine eye-opener for me, in that i’d never heard anything quite like it. micro-editing matched with dust + scratches taken to the extreme, all the while retaining an all important sense of ryhtym and melody. their mixes for both wu tang clan and bjork still remain classics of their genre. but we’re talking about machinedrum here – and it would be unfair to wholly associate them with another artist. the two tracks above are taken from their forthcoming merck release ‘bizness’. ‘$$legs’ is all dirt and beats and absolutely delicious, whereas ‘mltply’ is built around a great flute loop and a head-nodding 4-4, with what sounds like spliced guitar dropping in halfway through. the last minute disintegrates the track completely, furious editing taking the song to the edge of destruction – ouch! now that funkstorung have moved onto much more accessible territory with their latest album, maybe it’s left to machinedrum to carry the torch for the glitch hip hop genre? [merck site] + check out an older free mp3 release from monotonik.

OMZO [SENEGAL]
missalu aduna mp3
+
SLAM REVOLUTION [SENEGAL]
wax degg mp3
more african hip-hop thanks to our friends at nomadic wax. both tracks are taken from their new release “african underground vol. 1 hip-hop senegal” which aims to provide a contemporary snap-shot from what is arguably africa’s home of hip hop. unlike many compilations claiming to be the ‘real deal’, this is actually the genuine article – recorded on location in dakar, calling on artists that you’re unlikely to hear anywhere else any time soon. omzo (pictured) takes a less agressive musical approach than many of his american counterparts, but his lyrics are (apparently) no less incisive. his 2000 release ‘kunu abal a beut’ (trans: ‘the hand that leads is the hand that rules’) is cited as having a direct effect on the elections of the time, when the standing government was ousted. slam revolution‘s ‘wax degg’ is my favourite of the two, mostly due to the production skills on display and i love listening to on-going rhymes in a seemingly impenetrable language – especially when the only english you’ll hear is the occasional “fucker!” dropped into the mix. slam revolution are one of the dakar’s original crews, founded by shaffai (see recent post) and who have since gone their separate ways. according to info from nomadic wax: “the crew recently suffered a devastating loss when fellow mc and longtime friend mohammed ba (aka tipse) was murdered while on a religious pilgrimage to touba (senegalís religious center) and is still an unsolved mystery”. purchase ‘african undergound volume one’ here.

CYNE [U.S.]
steady mp3
a miami-based hip hop crew who have been releasing tunes on must!delicious / rice and beans and are expected to drop a new album on the excellent city center offices label in 2005. i don’t know how many other hip hop artists appear on the cco label, but my knowledge of them extends mostly to deep, lush electronica – their 2000 compilation ‘cashier escape route’ (an essential purchase) featured artists such as skanformsolventto rococo rotpole and isan. which suggests interesting potential from cyne and possibly a critical release when the album drops. the above mp3 is taken from their early e.p. ‘movement’ and is a hard polemic built around a beautiful, wistful vocal sample. check out their full range of releases on forced exposure.

+ a quick thanks to woebot for their recent heads-up to fat planet. their critique of mp3 blogs is stop-on and it’s well worth checking out some of their other suggested destinations.

Shiffai, Issa Bagayogo, Mann Friday

free’n’legal african mp3s are hard to come by, yet it seems like the old analogy with public transport applies here. you wait an age and nothing appears – then three come along at once…

SHIFFAI [SENEGAL]
savages mp3
senegal is shaping up to be home of african hip hop with some solid releases so far from positive black souldaara j and pee froiss. there’s a site decicated to senegalese hip hop called senerap – i’ve yet to have a full exploration, but it seems to be the perfect place to start our education. through the site, i discovered nomadic wax, a label who’ve just released a compilation entitled ‘african underground vol. 1: hip-hop senegal’ (available to buy online from november). they’ve also released an album from senegalese hip hop artist shiffai entitled ‘the chosen one’ which was produced by NY’s nomadshiffai mixes english and his native wolof language, and there’s undoubtedly some patois thrown in for good measure. any hip hop head will get their kicks from this great mix of traditional and contemporary – the sound of hip hop coming gloriously back to its roots.

update 260904: nomadic wax are in the process of removing mp3s from their site, and have asked us to link to streams instead – head on over the site to listen to streams from both shiffai and from the forthcoming compilation.

ISSA BAGAYOGO [MALI]
bana direct download mp3
much like senegal, mali also has a strong output of contemporary artists – oumou sangaretinariwen and rokia traore to name a few. issa bagayogo is part of the roster belonging to san francisco’s six degrees label. six degress have also been responsible for bringing india’s karsh kaleand midival punditz to the fore, along with algeria’s excellent dj cheb i sabbahissa is their first african signing and the above mp3, ‘bana’, has at it’s base a midtempo, dubhouse, four-four shuffle, that fortunately avoids the trappings of afro-house (i’ll confess straight up that ive never been an afro-house fan). this is apparently due to the fact that issa still records in mali, rather than with western producers, thus avoiding the temptation to beef it up for the dancefloor. got to applaud that decision! the track is an out-take from his third album ‘tassoumakan’ and does not appear on any commerical release. thanks to six degrees for the link – buy the album online here.

MANN FRIDAY [ZIMBABWE]
counting down (sea point mix) mp3
i came across these guys on the queep site (well worth a look for unsigned artists, plus a good mix section featuring q-burns abstract message). they’re made up of musicians from zimbabwe, south africa and the u.k. they’ve been touring a show called ‘zimbabwe ruins’ – an audio / visual theatre piece that paints a direct picture of this history of their troubled land. according to queep, most of their music wanders into the acoustic ballad territory and – that not being my bag here @ fat planet – i’ve posted a downtempo semi-electronic mix of one of their songs. not sure who’s on production duties, but it’s a solid, laid-back piece that serves the band well.