With hip-hop boasting a copious amount of sub genres – commercial, gangsta, conscious, Latino and UK hip-hop to name just a few – why would anyone take another new genre like African hip-hop seriously? Judging by the CD it will be by
the sheer quality and innovation of the music and thus will appeal to both hiphop
lovers and curious urbanites.
With Africa being such a diverse continent with many cultural dynamics and influences, it was never going to be an easy task putting this album together. After much in-depth research the final 13 tracks that made it onto the
compilation display an eclectic mix of styles. It features tracks by artists from eight African countries, both Anglophone and Francophone: Kenyan producer/writer/ performer Wawesh, Tanzania’s Maasai hip-hop group X Plastaz, UK-based Nigerian award-winners JJC & 419 Squad, Malawi’s Real Elements, Smokey from Gambia, from Senegal Omzo and the pioneering Pee
Froiss, from South Africa innovators Cashless Society and Emile YX, and finally from Zimbabwe Metaphysics (plus side project Migrant Souls), DKR (Divided Kingdom Republic) and Begotten Sun.
On the accompanying DVD there are six music videos plus some amazing footage from the B-Boy championships at the African Hip-Hop Indaba event in South Africa. There are also seven interviews with some of the artists featured on the compilation, plus other industry figures, such as Arrested Development’s Speech and Patrick Neate (award-winning British author of
global hip-hop book ‘Where You’re At’) and UK’s premiere African DJ Eric Soul, all giving an insight into African hip-hop and also a perspective on how non-Africans view the scene.
‘Afrolution Vol.1’ shows that the cross-pollination of hip-hop ideology and African
urban culture has given birth to a proud new generation of African artists embracing global music, while keeping true to their roots. Trenton Birch, Founder of Afrolution Records, comments on the growth of the scene: “What has
always held African hip-hop back is a struggle for our own identity, our own sound – something that belongs to us and is not a second rate replication of the Western sound. Sure we all grew up on US hip-hop, we acknowledge that.
Hence, we are grateful for the opportunities it has created for us, and one cannot deny that the true essence of hip-hop is “keeping it real”. So, once we started to learn to do this we planted the fertile seeds that are now seeing our industry grow.”
Afrolution Records’ Head of Marketing and A & R, Dennis Tapfuma adds: “The artists on this CD are using hip-hop as a medium to express their own traditional way of life in Africa. They are telling stories just like their forefathers, the ancient Griots. They are being very innovative and have very high standards when it
comes to the music production. It won’t be long before you hear complex 6/8 African drum patterns and ancient melodies mixing in with hip-hop. It’s the future of hip-hop.”