Coming from a very conservative and anti-music family, Mdou Moctar has become an unlikely ambassador for Tuareg music. Since then, he has continued to deliver his message while informing his audience about the situation in his country, Niger. This new album marks a fusion between rock and the 70s, tinged with poetic meditations on love, women’s emancipation, injustices, religion and the colonial exploitation of West Africa: “What I would like to explain to the world is immense and no title or album would be enough to do it. So I wrote ‘Afrique Victime’ to be able to express myself through journalists, and to complete my message. I did it in French so that they could understand directly that we are in great difficulty because of the exploitation by France.” On the eponymous track “Africa Victim” he sings, “Africa victim of so many crimes, if we say nothing, it will be our end.”
The Moroccan singer has concocted a particularly romantic record dealing with the joys of love on “Call Me” but also with heartbreak, as in “Ghi Nsayeh,” meaning “Just forget him.” She also takes up a commitment to women’s rights, in opposition to the patriarchal gaze and issues related to reputation in society on “Niya”: “It’s nothing if I stay alone, rather than living a lie.” An ode to all women, whether in a relationship or single, who question their freedom.
BLK JKS delivers a retro-futuristic album: “A fully translated and transcribed obsidian rock audio anthology chronicling the ancient spiritual technologies and exploits of prehistoric and post-revolutionary Afro-bionics, as well as the sacred texts of the Great Book of the Arcanum, by young Kushites from Azania, linked to the 5th dimension and the 3rd dynasty.” This new project celebrates the tenth anniversary of their first album After Robots. Grooves, horns and guitars serve a plurality of genres, from spiritual jazz to kwaito to post-apocalyptic funk. Metal and traditional South African music are also present. Guitarist Mcata states: “Forget the idea that we’re going to make the rastas like our rock. If you have a gig, call us. A jazz event, anything, we become the color of the gig. We don’t have a home.”
The South African rapper has released his very first album at only twenty-one years old. Having survived on daily freestyles during confinement, he channels it all into B4Now, which he provides context for: “I tell people a story about how things happened – I stayed in Durban for a while, then came to Jozi to work out a plan to do everything. It’s basically an introduction.” In it, he opens up about his family, over lyrics embellished with amapiano and trap.