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Audio: Black Ph03nix Samples Margaret Thatcher In 'News Of A World'

Black Ph03nix, alter ego of Larry Achiampong releases new track, 'News of a World' as a part of his new Phoenix Rising project.


If the name Black Ph03nix isn't immediately ringing a bell, perhaps its because it is the alter ego of Larry Achiampong — and if you're not familiar by now, we'll help you out anyway. Achiampong is the London-based producer behind the excellent Meh Mogya and More Mogya series of LPs that drew upon the Ghanaian rhythms of Achiampong's parents music growing up, chopping up the vintage highlife records of his youth to dope effect. The music being released under Achiampong's Black Ph03nix moniker represents the next phase of the project, this time finding Larry cooking up tracks from the other various sounds that shaped his childhood, including the news, video games, and films that have seeped into his subconsciousness over time. Entitled Phoenix Rising: Unfinished Business, this continuation of Achiampong's exploration of his personal musical sound scape is commissioned by basic.fm, where you can find a deeper explanation of the whole project. "News of a World" is one of the Phoenix Rising tracks, and features audio samples from recently passed Margaret "Megatron" Thatcher and Neil "Optimus Prime" Kinnock (nicknames conferred by the Black Ph03nix himself) and is giving us a Madlib feel that's straight dopeness. Check out "News of a World" below and stay tuned for more on the Phoenix Rising project.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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