News

Boom Africa Premieres 'The Love Affair' EP With Okmalumkoolkat, Kalaf (Buraka Som Sistema) & More

Stream Boom Africa's first thematic EP 'The Love Affair,' featuring Okmalumkoolkat, Kalaf of Buraka Som Sistema, Nastio Mosquito & more.


Artwork by Neals Niat.

Back in the summer of 2012, South African rapper Okmalumkoolkat, Buraka Som Sistema member Kalaf Angelo, Angolan provocateur Nastio Mosquito, Gery Mendes, and producer Bamba Nazar linked up in Amsterdam to experiment & collaborate at Red Bull Studios. The fruits of those recording sessions created Boom Africa, a platform that aims to bridge the sonic gap and create artistic dialogue between the African continent and its diaspora. Boom Africa's first thematic release is an ode to the love affair, inspired by Malick Sidibé's photographs of  dancing lovers in 1960s Bamako night clubs. The 3-track The Love Affair EP kicks off with the slightly comedic, spoken-word critique "Africa Today," then follows with the guitar-laced "Good Morning Sunshine" and the gypsy melodies of "Lobolo." Stream our premiere of Boom Africa's The Love Affair EP, presented by Metro54 and African Hip Hop, below and check out the striking accompanying artwork by Cameroonian/French artist Neals Niat.

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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