Music

One of South Africa’s Oldest Hip-Hop Crews Black Noise Releases a New Project ‘Black Noise Matters’

Listen to Black Noise's new album 'Black Noise Matters.'

Black Noise's new EP is titled Black Noise Matters, and consists of 10 songs. The project is the first of an ongoing series of three EPs the Cape Town-based crew is releasing to commemorate three decades of its existence.


Black Noise Matters includes the 2013 single "Black is Back" which was originally supposed to appear on a project the crew promised for the same year to commemorate 25 years since their formation in 1988.

Read: Emile YX? Shares Some Gems About South African Hip-Hop History, Its Relationship to Capitalism & More

All but one song, the title track, on Black Noise Matters feature different guests which you may or may not be familiar with—Burni Aman, Nikki Autumn, Monox and Terror MC are some of the names who contribute verses and hooks to the highly socially conscious release.

Messages of self-love, standing up for self, caring for one another, preserving our cultures, racism and colonialism are prevalent on Black Noise Matters. For instance, the song "We Belong to the Land" featuring Burni Aman from the group Godessa, touches on the burning issue of land reform. Burni Aman and Black Noise members Emile YX? and Jay P each share history lessons on how colonialists stole land from the original inhabitants of the south of Africa.

Sonically, Black Noise Matters is primarily boom bap and funk, with songs that will be accessible even to non-hip-hop fans, but still the project doesn't compromise on an artistic integrity and expression.

Stream Black Noise Matters below:



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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