Monday, February 27, 2012

Eyes on Africa -- musical selections and walking that line of liberated or colonized

My attention has moved towards the DJ and Soundsystem music found throughout Africa. What drives me to enjoy the music is the design of riddms and that carry away from Western dance vibes. Yet I'm also fascinated that many artists and labels walk the tightrope of sounding way too Western with Golden-Era, Dubstep, and House beats used on their tracks... sounding like U.S. rappers with accents. But the tear becomes that many of the same acts drop some very unique drum and riddim patterns, utilizing isms that are not found in the rest of the world. 4/4 beats are hidden underneath polychromatic drums, bright synths used in the West are utilized differently, and rapping is found throughout. 

I'm sure there are more traditional sounds to juxtapose, and other nu-skool African soundsystem musics, such as Congotronics, place their epicenter much closer to traditional African structures. In that respect, DJ/Soundsystem artists become part of a larger tapestry that we on the outside cannot really work out, grounding their more Western flows in the same tradition as Ricky Martin and Shakira are still "Latin Music" despite their soaked uber-West vibes. I'm a fan of the interloper and the catalyst... so I'm fascinated by where folks in the Root's OkayAfrica stand. It's sort of like the Roots' version of Diplo's Mad Decent. The question then arises about the relationship between Black Americans and Black Africans. At one moment, its seems logical, other times the problem of cultural imperialism and Western culture (which arguably is embedded in the U.S. Black experience) sticks out to me. I'm not sure how this works... but I'm thinking it runs along the same lines in the Caribbean and Latin America... 

I encourage you take a look at a few of my favorite finds below. They promote more of my style of musical boundary pushing next-level soundsystem music. I highly suggest you start with OkayAfrica's soundcloud for excellent mixes.

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