News

Audio/Video: K'naan 'Coming To America' + 'Is Anybody Out There' Remixes

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K'naan drops another lyric-video for More Beautiful Than Silence track "Coming To America." He dished on the making-of the song in our interview:

We were in the studio, me and Chuck Harmony, messing around talking about Eddie Murphy’s flick. And I mentioned to him I have this idea of doing a song about that. Kind of the non-comedy version of it, the real serious version of it. Then he pulled out some samples and we used that real prominent sample. That stereotype of Africa, what they hear when they think Africa — that Paul Simon Graceland, you know. That kind of sound. I wanted to slip that in, so we made that song.

Elsewhere, house producer/DJs Richard DinsdaleCutmore, and MYNC have remixed MBTS's "Is Anybody Out There ft. Nelly Furtado." Hear a cut below.

[audio:http://www.okayafrica.com/wp-content/uploads/Is-Anybody-Out-There-Richard-Dinsdale-Dub.mp3]

"Is Anybody Out? There ft. Nelly Furtado" (Richard Dinsdale Club Mix)

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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