Hitting all the right notes

Various Artists

The Rough Guide to African Rap (World Music Network RGNET1126CD, 2004)

Like all hugely proliferating music forms, rap, in its many guises
all-too-often comes with a silent ‘c’. So it comes as a blessed relief that
Rough Guides, who aren’t always guaranteed to hit the nail on the head, have
come up with an absolute sure-fire cracker. Compiler Graeme Ewens is an
Afrophile since time immemorial (not wishing to be rude about his age) and it’s
as much a testament to his continuing good taste filter and the high, high
quality that can be separated from the drivel in African rap music that a
compilation of this strength can come about. He’s delved, too. Here are some
names that all-too-few on the international scene have heard of to date:
Zanzibar’s X Plastaz, K-Melia from Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghanaian
wordsmith par excellence Reggie Rockstone are all names we’re going to be
hearing more from in the future.
Alongside the movers & shakers we find good historical content too, including
early Positive Black Soul vibes and seminal Nation Records darlings,
Durban-based Prophets Of Da City. This album just blasts along from the first
beat to final blip and, despite it’s good length, seems over and demanding to be
re-started in no time at all. Wondering where to start? Start here. Missed out
on some of the greats? Try here. Looking for the scene stealers? Here Bert, this
is the place.

Author: dave atkin