Wednesday, August 10, 2011

From The Granite To The Sky With No Limits

To start i'd like to quote the black Jack Johnson a.k.a Flako Bey that's the bidness, he said "We Are Alive In Amazing Times, Delicate Hearts, Diabolical Minds". He says a lot of things really, i think The Ecstatic is very much underrated. Suppose it has much to do with our obsession with grandeur and glamour, that we care less for anything that alludes to reality or requires the sober mind to engage and challenge what is being presented in the music.

As I write this i'm confronted with news of riots in London, which according to reports were initially a reaction/protest of the shooting of a local man in Tottenham. This is somehow overshadowing the Famine in Somalia, currently responsible for the death of thousands of women and children. But in the politics of the world, the crisis in Somalia is of less importance, as it doesn't much influence the bottom line (especially not at a time when the stock value in Frankfurt took a serious knock leaving global markets shook).

But something's got to give. Africans if anything are ashamed of the famine in Somalia, and intrigued by the riots in London. It's like watching a movie. The famine however doesn't help us get over our self loathing and disdain for our neighbours...makes us even less proud to be African.

We're good at being worldly, sophisticated and well informed about new developments and trends in the west...even the east. But don't ask us to be African. We don't even know what that means.

That said let me draw your attention to this new video by Evidence - Same Folks ft. Fashawn. Shot on the boardwalk on Venice Beach, California where both rappers are from. You may know Evidence from Dilated Peoples "worst comes to worst, my peoples come first". The video starts with DJ Babu telling them "You're Never Gonna Blow Up" as the two are busy burning cd's on a laptop and replacing Walkman batteries. Watch the video to see how it plays out, but more importantly. Pay attention to the lyrics and hear the message. pure skillz!!!!

On the higher end of Hip hop/rap the long talked about release of one of the biggest collaborations in music history has finally hit the market. Pop culture icons, Jay-Z and Kanye West together known as The Throne, have dropped Watch The Throne after teasing fans with the album art and track-list feat some top notch producers like Q-Tip, 88 Keys, Swizz Beats and RZA. Don Jazzy, a Naija boy who recently signed to Yeezy's G.O.O.D Music alongside D'Banj also made the credit list. A great achievement for any African hip hop artist.

The project in itself is quite ambitious. Jay and Ye are both mega figures in the entertainment world. The pressure to out do themselves, real or perceived is daunting. I get a sense that their both very concerned about their legacy and at times very defensive, Ye especially. No doubt this album will be dissected and talked about for a minute as The Throne celebrates it's position as the regal icon of black american excellence. But don't be fooled, if the album didn't live up to your expectation, i'd like to know what you were expecting.

Intro track opens with Frank Ocean "Human beings in a mob. What's a mob to a King? What's a King to a God? What's a God to a nonbeliever? who don't believe in anything, will he make it out a live? alright...alright, No Church In The Wild."

I will ask you to understand that chorus, to put things in perspective as you go through the rest of the album. All I will say is I hope that people don't just ride the hype and actually pay attention to what's being said. And i don't mean quote lines you like, but understand the ideas, thoughts, emotions and messages expressed in the music. don't just skim through it.

you can stream Watch The Throne here: ""

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