African Rebel Music: Roots Reggae and Dancehall
African reggae has always been a hit-or-miss affair. While there have long been reggae artists working the local music scenes of South Africa, Mauritania, and Uganda, the continent has produced only two real international stars: Alpha Blondy (from Ivory Coast) and, even bigger, Lucky Dube (from South Africa). This compilation of tracks presents a wide variety of artists from such disparate locales as Mauritania, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, and it raises hopes for the future of African reggae while still revealing a pretty uneven musical landscape. On the evidence here, it appears that the most exciting developments are taking place in Nigeria: there's a subtle complexity to Mad Melon and Mt. Black's "Sinsemilia" that you wouldn't necessarily expect from a song by that title, and Bantu brings a nice hip-hop flavor to "One Vive One Flow, Pt. 2." In fact, there's quite a bit of hip-hop-reggae fusion going on here, as well as some fine Afrobeat/dancehall (courtesy of Peter Miles and Leo Muntu). There's also the odd sprinkling of political banality (Alif's "Wooyo") and musical banality (H2O's "African"), but overall this is an exciting and encouraging compilation. Recommended.
- Release Date:
- Out Here Records
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