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African Music Roundup #3

It's been a fun few weeks with the festival of football that was the African Cup of Nations (congratulations to Egypt the host). Watching all the footballing talent on display made me proud to be an African. So we look forward to Ghana '08 and all the beautiful things the Gold Coast has to offer. It's only appropriate I start this roundup with the music phenomenon that is Ghana‘s very own Hiplife

The Hiplife Complex, who spent a year in Ghana making a documentary on the genre, blogs on the thoughts of everyday people on hiplife and it's effects on Ghanaian youth.

“This guy is worried about profanity in hiplife lyrics and its effect on Ghanaian youth. He gives us a laundry list of hiplife's good and bad contributions to society, making many of the statments I heard repeatedly from a variety of players in the industry.”

The Hiplife Complex concludes his post with a link to Maximus Ojah‘s entertaining and thoughtful insights on Hiplife in Ghana

One of hip hop's best and prolific producers JayDee a.k.a JDilla passed away two days ago. This is a great loss and his extensive talent will be missed. rest in peace my brother JayDee. pays tribute to the great man on his blog and drops a dope selection of his work on I couldn't say it any better. makes a departure from his usual music blog format to present an audio interview Kareem Edouard. Kareem has made an impressive and educative documentary called Bling: Consequences and Repercussions which explores the deadly trade of conflict diamonds.

“What does this have to do with you? Well, if you’ve watched a rap video in the past 7 years, you’ve probably seen someone that is (probably unbeknownst to them) helping to fuel the conflict diamond trade. If you’ve already seen the documentary, this should provide some more information and background on what the production and whatnot are all about.” also provides a link to a free 11 minutes download of the documentary.

Negro Please waxes lyrical about Red Hot + Riot, a cd dedicated to the music of Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti, the Nigerian legend who died from AIDS-related complications in 1997:

“As this album plays, it's funk and jazz blended with traditional Nigerian root music and these contemporary artists singing or rapping above it, I know, without a doubt, that I am both African and American. I feel this music at my core.”

Naija Jams highlights one of the songs off the Red Hot + Riot album, a remake of Fela's hit “Zombie” by Bugz in the Attic and Singer Wunmi. He gives an interesting background to the song:

“In 1976, the planning of the Second World Black Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC77) was underway and Fela was invited to part of the Organizing Committee.
He soon realized that many of the involved were interested only in lining their own pockets & pulled out, staging a protest performance at The Shrine running concurrently with FESTAC77. It was here that Zombie made its public debut.”

Naija Jams has removed a link to the remake but the song can still be heard on aurgasm‘s music blog.

Continuing on the afrobeat theme SoundRoots did a roundup of the current players on the afrobeat scene.

“Anyone with an inkling of musical curiosity has at least heard of Afrobeat. It's the funk-drenched, politically charged Nigerian music pioneered by Fela Kuti. For some reason, lots of this anti-establishment music tends to be available for free download around the internet.”

SoundRoots has provided links to free downloads on Afrobeats acts like Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and Akoya Afrobeat

I'll sign out by linking to the's African music top 25 chart for feburary '06. enjoy the week.

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