Audio

You Need to Hear This New Ethiopian Beat Tape From Ras G & Azla Vegan

LA-based producer Ras G and Azla Vegan share a mixtape that blends the vintage sounds of Ethiopia with head-nodding beat work.

Here’s a mixtape to hold the beat heads down for a minute.


LA-based producer and Brainfeeder affiliate Ras G—also known as Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program—comes through with a limited edition cassette tape that blends the vintage sounds of Ethiopia with his signature "SpaceBase" sound.

In Azla Sounds Volume 1, Ras G flips and loops traditional Ethiopian music and Ethio-jazz into both booming beat works ("Hulätt," "Sost," "Aratt") and hazy electronic textures ("And," "Sïddïst").

The mixtape tape is being released in partnership with Azla Vegan, a family owned Ethiopian restaurant in South Central Los Angeles, the first of its kind in the area.

Founded in 2013 by Nesanet Abegaze and named after her mother, Azla Vegan modifies traditional Ethiopian recipes into health-conscious vegetarian dishes.

Ras G and Nesanet tell us that they “cooked up the idea for the beat tape over a plate of injera and Shiro Wot.”

We all know that Ethio-jazz samples and hip-hop go hand-in-hand—if you’re not on board simply check out these 11 Samples From Ethiopiques to get you on track.

Stream Ras G and Azla Vegan’s Ethiopian mixtape and grab a limited edition cassette over at Bandcamp. Check out a pair of promo videos for the mix above and below.

Interview
Photo: Shaughn Cooper

Ras Nebyu Is Washington, D.C.'s 'Uptown Lion Walkin'

We talk to the Ethiopian-American rapper about his new album, his Washington Slizzards crew, and the impact of gentrification on D.C.'s music scene.

Ras Nebyu is caught up in the crowd at Howard University's homecoming tailgate, where he can barely walk a block without shaking hands with another person who he knows. Although he didn't attend Howard University, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood forms as much of a part of his narrative as any student.

The Ethiopian-American rapper hails from uptown Washington, D.C., a neighborhood he uses to inform his latest album, Uptown Lion Walkin, a project that pays homage to his ancestral upbringing, as well as his thoughts on making money, love, happiness, and the government.

There's a twoness to Nebyu's identity that allows him to create from a place of historical-cultural reverence while pushing forward new ideas. He was raised in a Rastafarian household by an Ethiopian dad and African-American mother.

Nebyu doesn't hold much back when he speaks, like his music. He preaches about belonging to his community, gentrification and the diaspora. His work serves as a strong soundboard, for not only his Ethiopian community but D.C. natives.

In 2011, Nebyu co-founded the Washington Slizzards, a collective of Ethiopian creatives in D.C. What started as a joke, tacking on "slizz" to everything, became a buzz-worthy crew. Around the same time as the group's inception, he began releasing music into the world.

Nebyu first ventured into making music as a producer, but soon found it frustrating getting artists to use his beats. He decided to begin experimenting with using his own voice and hasn't slowed down since. OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss the new album and growing up uptown.

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Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty, Afro B & Mayorkun Join DJ Neptune On 'Tear Rubber' Remix

Listen to the "All Star Remix" now.

"Tear Rubber," one of the standouts from DJ Neptune's latest album, Greatness, gets a big remix that'll jump start your week.

The track, which originally featured Mayorkun, now gets a massive revisit featuring Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty and Afro B.

All three are potent additions to this laid-back and addictive Young John-produced track which was already getting a lot of spins.

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Listen to Sade's Beautiful New Song—'The Big Unknown'

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We now have two new Sade songs to shed thug tears to before the end of 2018, y'all.

The queen herself released a lyric video for her new track, "The Big Unknown." This single will be played during the end credits of Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, Widows, which is due to be released in theaters November 16, Highsnobiety reports.

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