Video

Video: Strut Brings Us 10 African Cuts To Soundtrack Your Summer


As things are heating up for the summer (it's already pretty sweltering here in NYC right now), music seems to become an even more inescapable and vital part of daily existence. We over at STRUT have been getting through this heat with the help of some choice cuts. You hear it coming from windows of passing cars, from your neighbor's backyard, emanating from businesses, street corners, what have you. Somehow the music becomes more evocative with the heat, taking on the power of a familiar aroma to transport you subconsciously to another place or time in your life. The phenomenon of the "summer jam" is built off of this idea; that each summer at least one piece of music emerges that even on later listens will instantly take you back to the sunny afternoons and sweaty late nights spent in its presence. While not all destined for summer jam status, below are the TOP 10 songs that have been soundtracking our summer so far. #1, above, kicks us off with Dan Boadi & The African Nationals – "Money Is The Root Of Evil" (Aestuarium 12”). Check out the rest of our summer jam picks after the jump!

2. The Hygrades - "Somebody’s Gotta Lose Or Win" (from ‘The World Ends’ album) (Soundway)

Be There - Skyf

3. Audio: Skyf - "Be There" (from ‘Next Stop Soweto Vol. 3’ album) (Strut)

4. Etoile De Dakar - "Esta China" (from ‘Once Upon A Time In Senegal’ album) (Stern’s)

5. Ahmed Fakroun - "Nisyan" (Les Edits du Golem Re-Edit) (Les Edits Du Golem 12”)

6. DJ Mujava - "Mugwanti / Sgwejegweje" (from ‘Ayobaness! Album) (Out There)

7. Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou - "Mi Ni Non Kpur" (from 'The Vodoun Effect' album) (Analog Africa)

8. Segun Bucknor - "Smoke" (from ‘Poor Man Get No Brother’ album) (Strut)

9. Dick Khoza - "Chapita" (from ‘Chapita’ album) (Matsuli Music)

Techno Rumba (Uproot Andy Remix) - Chief Boima

10. Audio: Chief Boima - "Techno Rumba" (Uproot Andy remix) (from 'Techno Rumba EP') (Dutty Artz)

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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