Audio

Afrobeat Airways 2: Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983

We review Analog Africa's latest Ghanian release "Afrobeat Airways 2" featuring tracks from 1974-1983 Ghana.


Accra, like Lagos, is a coastal city with a prominent afrobeat community. However, it's not nearly the only city in the West African country where musical roots run deep as evidenced by the 13 tracks that appear on the latest Analog Africa release Afrobeat Airways 2: Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 . The label, which is based in Germany, has an inside track to Ghana's music since many of the country's musicians defected to the European nation after political upheaval in the late 1970s.

In mid-70s Ghana, dancing was a central theme worth cutting a song over. De Frank, an extraordinary drummer, is represented in two different groups on the compilation, De Frank's Band and De Frank And His Professionals. The aptly-titled "Do Your Own Thing," from the former band, melds solid organ-based riffs over a strong rhythm section. Possibly inspired by American-based R&B groups like Isaac Hayes and Charles Wright And The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, who each had similarly-titled hits, De Frank's Band urges listeners and potential dancers to clap their hands together and to "do it funky." Similarly, James Brown's brand of funk had an impact on The Cutlass Band, whose syncopated bass riff lends to hip shaking of the highest order; various other instrumental solos ensue from trumpet to sax to flute to organ. The track only clocks in just beyond two and a half minutes, but its insistent groove lingers even longer.

K. Frimpong employs a band with jazzier leanings on "Abrabo" while Complex Sounds add a funky gospel element on "God Is Love" proving that musical tastes were as varied in 70s Ghana as anywhere else.

One of the strong points of this compilation is the essay written by Afropop senior editor Banning Eyre.  With many of the revivalists of the beloved genres afrobeat and highlife including groups such as Antibalas, Souljazz Orchestra, Karl Hector and the Malcouns, and Black Market Brass, the historical cultural impact imposed upon the music is often not fully understood to the uninitiated listener. Liner notes, an almost forgotten artform, may not feel as necessary for a familiar genre, but when a listener decides to expand his musical horizons, the need for such a companion guide is paramount.

So it stands out when Eyre delves into topics such as the producer of The Cutlass Band thinking that Kumasi artists have more talent than their brothers in Accra, the nation's capital, and then exploring the topic based on a group of Akan languages potentially being a factor in marketability. Or when he notes that political messages embedded into songs, a cornerstone of cementing the legacy of Nigerian Fela Kuti, would flop commercially in their homeland.  Those are only a couple of examples laid out amongst 40+ pages of liner notes that accompany a multitude of rare photographs, one of which can be viewed below.

Uppers International pose outside in and around their tour bus.

Afrobeat Airways 2: Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 is now available in CD and vinyl formats with a digital release scheduled for next week.

Yes, Shaquille O'Neal Dropped A Diss Remix of 'Mans Not Hot'

"The real" Shaq responds to British comedian Big Shaq's viral grime hit. The ting goes skrrraaa.

Today, in things you didn't know you would ever hear (or needed to), NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal has dropped a diss remix to British comedian Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq aka Roadman Shaq aka MC Quakez's "Mans Not Hot."

The track's a response to Big Shaq's ultra viral freestyle on BBC Radio 1's "Fire in the Booth" segment, where the comedian first dropped his now timeless "the ting goes skrrraaa" lines. Since its release back in August, the clip's gone beyond viral—Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq's even released an official version of the track.

Fast forward to last week, the NBA's Shaq went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, in which The Roots played "Mans Not Hot" as his walk-on music.

Well, with all the attention on the track, it seems the OG Shaq's taken notice and, in his own tongue-in-cheek way, has fired off some bars at the comedian taking his name.

To make things even more confusing, he's also joined by Toronto rapper ShaqisDope on the comedic diss track.

"There's only one Big Shaq," the NBA star rhymes.

Check out Shaq's diss and the original video below. skrrraaa pap bap bap.

A Nasty Boy Magazine's 'Creative Class of 2018' Highlights 40 African Creatives Who Are Disrupting the Status Quo

For its inaugural list, the trailblazing Nigerian publication highlights 40 creatives who are disrupting the norm through art, photography, writing and more.

With it's emphasis on unapologetically interrupting the status quo and championing all things striking, artistic and unconventional, A Nasty Boy is the rare and severely necessary publication shaking up Nigeria's conservative media landscape.

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Erykah Badu Curated A New Fela Kuti Box Set

Badu: "Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius. Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn."

To celebrate Fela Kuti's birthday and the many Felabrations going down across the globe, Knitting Factory Records has announced the upcoming arrival of their new Fela Kuti box set.

The new box set, which will be the fourth installment the label has released from the king of Afrobeat, will be curated by none-other-than Erykah Badu.

"Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius," Badu writes in a press statement. "Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn."


Erykah Badu's selections include her "favorite Fela Piece of all times," 1980's Coffin For Head of State, alongside Yellow Fever (1976), No Agreement (1977), J.J.D. (Johnny Just Drop) (1977), V.I.P. (1979), Army Arrangement (1984), and Underground System (1992).

The box set will be limited to only 3,000 copies, which come with a 16" x 24" poster designed by Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu, the creative force behind 26 of Fela Kuti's iconic album covers, and a 20-page full-color booklet. The booklet features seven personal essays written by Erykah Badu.

Previous Fela Kuti box sets have been curated by Questlove, Ginger Baker, and Brian Eno for Knitting Factory Records.

Pre-order Erykah Badu's Fela Kuti box set now.

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