Chillin Villains: We Represent Billions
Chillin Villain Empire
Nyege Nyege has compiled tracks from the forgotten LA hip-hop crew Chillin Villain Empire (C.V.E.). Active during the 90s, more precisely between 1993 and 2003, the band was influential, self-producing sounds without using available samples, pioneering stream of consciousness type of lyrics and performing at the Good Life Cafe, a health food market and cafe in Los Angeles which held open mic nights. It later evolved to become Project Blowed hosting the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube. The crew gravitated around the trio which included NgaFsh and Tray-loc and Riddlore. The latter went on to become a Nyege Nyege resident in 2014 which is perhaps the catalyst to thank for this satisfying compilation.
KOA II, part 1
Kabza De Small
Following his Ziwangale EP, which saw the self-proclaimed King of Amapiano explore gqom alongside DJ Tira and Dladla Mshunqisi, Kabza de Small has unveiled the release of KOA II, Part 1 (read King Of Amapiano II, Part 1). A return to the man’s roots as he helped pioneer the genre and later cemented his spot in the scene with the release of I Am The King Of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust, a 27-track double album. Shorter than its predecessor, his latest album still contains 18 tracks for a total duration of 2 hours and 11 minutes. Six tracks were released in advance including “Rekere 2” with Stakev, a fully instrumental track, the touching “Isoka” with Nkosazana Daughter and Murumba Pitch, “Ingabe”, a soulful song with Spartz; a collaboration with Njelic, Simmy and Mhaw Keys on “Eningi”, the swaggered “Bathini” with Young Stunna, and “Khusela” with Msaki, already making waves in South Africa.
Madalitso Band is a Malawaian duo formed by musicians Yobu Maligwa and Yosefe Kalekeni twenty years ago who, to achieve the sound they were looking for, decided to make their own instruments. Together, they devised a four string guitar, a cowskin foot drum (that is thumped with the heel) and a humongous rectangular homemade one-string slide bass called a Babatone (which doubles as a chair as shown in the album cover). The brand new album Musakayike was recorded in Malawi last November. The goal was to capture Madalitso Band’s groove and infectious energy on stage. Not an easy task as their songs usually lasts well over ten minutes, which they managed to fine tune and trim back for the purpose of this album. The title-song encapsulates the band’s good vibes with a playful groove and the pair’s harmonising vocals, creating a sound that defies their stripped back set up.
The Afro House ambassador and Ancestral Soul precursor Boddhi Satva unveils his new album Manifestation via BBE Music. Conceived as the last opus of a trilogy, this latest project brings to a close the first Ancestral Soul cycle that started with Invocation and Transition respectively released in 2012 and 2016. The album was described as “both easy-listening and club-ready, with more urban sounds (R’n’B, Soul, Trap, Amapiano) intertwined with the frantic rhythms of large African cities such as Bamako, Dakar or Nairobi”. “Manifestation truly represents my musical evolution through my 21 years of career in the music industry,” Boddhi Satva said. Manifestation is a very lengthy album with its 31 tracks but it is not a one-man project. For the records’ purposes, Boddhi Satva called on many other artists to showcase “atypical voices that will send listeners on a journey from the United States through South Africa, East and Central Africa as well as many European countries”.
Ballad Air & Fire
Sierra Leonean artist and producer Lamin Fofana unveils Ballad Air & Fire, the first instalment of a tryptic which will be followed by Shafts of Sunlight on July 29th and The Open Boat on August 26th. This latest project is a highly conceptual piece that consists of two tracks: “Ballad Air & Fire”, a 31-minute long title-song, and “Unfinished Elegy” (even if allegedly incomplete, it is still 10 minutes). Inspired by the eponymous poem written by American writer Amiri Baraka, Ballad Air & Fire deals with the concept of slowed time, the immeasurable and unfathomable use of static noise. It is about finding new temporalities by slowing down long enough. “Over the last year, I have been working/conspiring/sabotaging with and against time,” explained Lamin Fofana. “With the global pandemic and the world slowing down/shutting down/“lockdown, I find myself using slowness as a de/re/composition tool, to heighten, to intensify, to deepen certain contradictions in music, in time, in my practice, in an attempt to generate something new, something that gives way to new perceptions.”
This week we also listened to:
- EPDEB by Juçara Marçal
- Vesta by Azu Tiwaline
- Gemini by Prince Kaybee
- Pas de Problèmes by Mohamed Lamouri
- Bumayé by Lass
- Borga Revolution! Ghanaian Dance Music In The Digital Age, 1983-1992 (Volume 1) by Various Artists
- Visions al 2ard by Taxi Kebab