The Kondi Band – Belle Wahallah
According to the blurb, this project came about when American techno producer Chief Boima teamed up with Sorie Kondi, a Sierra Leonean thumb piano player. Normally I shy away from stuff that has that world fusion vibe – too much of it sounds like easy listening for earnest SOAS gap year students for my liking. I’d rather hear some shamelessly synthetic autotuned Nigerian afrobeats than anything equating Africa with ‘organic authenticity’ – which has always struck me as patronising at best. BUT after all that chat, I’m enjoying this release, Chief Boima’s got a way of using a nasty bass pulse that keeps the rhythm raw enough to be exciting, and the mixes from Hagan and Aramic bang along in some style. Worth a look fo sure.
CXCV – Half Jamo Half Ghana / NSG – No Jamo Full Ghana
There are two major crews repping afrobeats in Hackney at the moment; CXCV and NSG. There’s a fair bit of competition between the two, although I feel like it’s all fairly good natured –keeping up with the shifting politics of Hackney street music is always hard work, but there’s definitely been some cross over between the two groups, with members popping up on one others tracks. Now the rivalry between the two has been heating up with both NSG and CXCV basing a track around flipping a sample from old skool Ghanaian legend Daddy Lumba. I feel like Stevie B for CXCV dropped his rendition first, giving his beat to Ninj and Kraze of CXCV to chat about their mixed Jamaican and Ghanaian heritage. NSG came back with a moody, trappy flip to spit aggier bars over – I’m calling it 1-1 at the moment, both tunes bang. If this beef stays in tunes only then I reckon these two crews are gonna keep pushing each other to make some amazing tracks, and I feel like they’ve already started a trend – look out for more old skool afrobeat getting sampled over the summer…
Ugly God – Straight Like That
Ugly God is a relative new comer to the American weirdo rap scene, and in the space of ‘round 8 tracks he’s already started hitting millions of soundcloud plays. As far as I can tell (and there’s hardly any info out there about him) he’s from Houston, he produces a lot of his own beats, he likes to chat about girls, and, most importantly, he’s got a song that uses ‘Bernie Sanders’ as a refrain in the way other rappers might use ‘Versace’. That’s not to say he’s some conscious rapper; he’s way odder than that – instead the Bernie Sanders tune is just Ugly God talking about how he fucks loads of girls whilst saying ‘Bernie Sanders’ every 8 bars. At one point he notes that his ‘dick game is Bernie Sanders’. It’s definitely the strangest spin off from the US election race I’ve heard yet - although YG and Nipsey Hussle’s Fuck Donald Trump gets points for sheer belligerence. The speed he’s blowing up means he’ll no doubt have a massive rest of the year, although his tracks are still to freakish for mainstream play – his vocal see saws all over the shop, he talks about his tiny dick far too much for Hot 97, and he often makes no sense at all. Still, if it can happen for Young Thug and ilovemakonnen, it can happen for Ugly God. Straight Like That came out 13 days ago, so I’ve included it here along with the truly wonderful Bernie Sanders video.
1-800 Dinsoaur present Trim
This looks like a heavy project. Grime MC Trim has teamed up with James Blake’s 1-800 Dinosaur camp to deliver a full album of left turning beats and stream of consciousness bars, produced by the likes of Airhead, Happa, Bullion, James Blake, Boothroyd, Dan Foat, Klaus. Trim’s willingness to experiment was proved on his previous singles with James Blake, and from what I’ve heard so far, he’s handling anything the 1-800 beat makers are throwing at him with ease. It’s got to hear a grime artist travelling so far outside anyone’s comfort zone, and fans of the work Kode 9 did with the late great Space Ape, or The Bug’s work with Flowdan are going to want to give this a look.