Video

Artful Dodgers: A New Film Sheds Light on Kenya’s Class of Urban Waifs

The kids in Village Beat’s upcoming documentary, Tough Bond, exist in a social limbo. While the communal fabric of the Kenyan villages in which they were raised erodes around them, they are forced into an urban environment that has no room for their kind. They must eek out a meager living amidst the slums that have already consumed lives that began with better circumstances than their own. It is a tragic lot, where even the survivors scrape and hustle among the refuse for paltry crumbs, and the only respite is the heady rush of huffing an industrial adhesive called Tough Bond.


From everything I’ve seen the film is a heart-wrenching story shot in a hauntingly beautiful style. The photography is crisp and colorful, adding a vibrancy to scenes that would otherwise be unimaginably depressing. Co-directors Anneliese Vandenberg and Austin Peck spent two years filming their subjects, traveling alongside them from the villages to some of the most squalid parts of Kenya’s cities. The film will also feature an original score by Seattle hip-hop collective Shabazz Palaces, which is sure to give the documentary a sound worthy of its subject matter.  Above, check out their video for "Blast It."

Tough Bond is due out this summer. Be sure to check out Village Beat’s website for more information on the film.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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