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Sound Travels...Global Hip Hop

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Hey all, another Sound Travels here for you. This week is all about hip hop with a global perpective and origin...


1. ADAMA : "Aduna Bi" - African Underground... Rap is still CNN in Senegal, especially for poorer people. The active political presence of local rap in Dakar largely sets it off from its imported US cousin. Several songs here demonstrate its power to testify, and several songs feature what the Senegalese call "egotripping"-- your typical boast rap, a standard mode of hip-hop everywhere. The depth and talent of the underground hip-hop scene in Dakar is evident in every track.

2. AATMA : "Dil Ma Lai(Heavy Mix)" - Dil Mang Lai ...Aatma is a 4-member band that thrives on creating original music that is not only emotionally intense and technically dazzling, but which also gets the crowd grooving. The band, founded in 2000 in Bangalore, India, perform mostly original songs, the band draws on influences that range from blues, jazz and funk to prog rock, metal and traditional hard rock. The band draws from influences like Miles Davis, Tribal Tech, Primus, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Stanley Clarke, Weather Report and others to compose new music. Distinct and different!

3. SUGA ROY & CONRAD CRYSTAL : "She Call Mi Phone feat Benie Man & Barrington Levy"...Suga Roy and Conrad Crystal drop She Call Mi Phone on the Fire Ball label as a teaser for what's to come on their second full length album, which will be out soon. Wicked combination track with Beenie Man and Barrington Levy as they refix Jah Screw's Intercom / Black Rose riddim issued originally for Barrington's massive hit on the Time One label Here I Come.


4. BID : "Na Noite Se Resolve" - Bambas & Biritas vol. I... Sublime modern funk from Brazil -- a really wonderful album, done without gimmicks or tricks -- in a mode that really stands out from the pack! BiD's got a style here that's clearly influenced by generations of soulful Brazilian artists in previous years -- delivered with a 21st century sense of the current global impact that can be made by Brazilian music.

5. UP, BUSTLE & OUT : "Corazon De Leon (Subrock Mission Mix)" - Mexican Sessions... Featuring cover-art no doubt meant to evoke 'The Motorcycle Diaries', Up Bustle and Out's eight album sees the band traveling south of the border to collaborate with a ruck of artists whose Mexican heritage is flagged up loud and proud throughout. Originally setting off to meet the platinum selling Hip Hop band Control Machete in Monterrey, Mexico, Up Bustle and Out soon found themselves on something of an odyssey - with new artists and unexpected collaborations arising all over the place. Taken as the foundation for their new album, 'Mexican Sessions' does at times feel more like a compilation than a artist led affair - but what it lacks in cohesion is made up for with the eclectic mix of sounds competing for your attention throughout.

6. CHOCQUIB TOWN : "Somos Pacificos" - Somos Pacifico... These are some funky cats! Out of the San Antonio Neighborhood of Cali, Colombia, their spirit for hip hop is proper gritty and real...plus their album features some innovative production and is strong, and strongly recommended. Check this...


7. IAM : "Nes Sous la Meme Etoile" - L'Ecole Du Micro-Argent... IAM is a French hip hop band from Marseille, created in 1989 and a great primer for French hip hop's more political and Afrocentric crews with themes bubbling with ideological currency...Africa, Islam and radical right politics is where they level their aim. Check their website for something really fresh.

8. TINA & SKISSY : "Mapito" - Bab Kubwa - Mapito... Hip Hop, Tanzanian stylee. In releasing Bongo Flava: Swahili Rap from Tanzania Out Here Records have cottoned on to this phenomenon coming out of Tanzania. The 14 tracks give anyone outside Tanzania and the East African region a feeling for the scene today -- a sense of the sheer number of artists out there and the variety of rap styles and sounds they're producing.

9. BHANGRA HITMEN : "Track 7" - Bhangra Hits... I know very litle about this album, can't find a whisp of a reference online. But I do knowit's an awesome cd. Hip Hop approached from the perspective of a dj, mixing the traditional indian vocals with some bangin' beats...how do you say remix in Punjabi?

10. K'NAAN : "Soobox" - The Dusty Foot Philosopher... Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, K'naan is a bright light for African Hip Hop. Critics have said K'naan has "a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip hop, and brilliant protest poetry." His voice and style have been compared to Eminem, but his subject matter is very different; according to K'naan, he makes "urgent music with a message", talking about the situation in his homeland of Somalia and calling for an end to violence and bloodshed. He specifically tries to avoid gangsta rap clichés and posturing,saying:

"All Somalis know that gangsterism isn't to brag about. The kids that I was growing up with [in Rexdale] would wear baggy [track] suit pants, and a little jacket from Zellers or something, and they'd walk into school, and all the cool kids would be like, 'Ah, man, look at these Somalis. Yo, you're a punk!' And the other kid won't say nothing, but that kid, probably, has killed fifteen people."

This statement was made to explain his position on the world of difference which exists between where he grew up, and the ghettos of the first world. Nonetheless, K'naan denies that he is overtly political, instead explaining that he "[shows] the state of the world [and] if you call it like it is you're being political." His own opinion of his music is that it's a "mix of tradition and [a] kind of articulation of my own life and [..] my past experiences."

And a great way to end this edition of Sound Travels.