Jace Clayton's Enkutatash: Homeland Security Threat Levels As Ethiopian Song

Jace Clayton's 'Enkutatash' performance in DC interprets homeland security threat levels as Ethiopian song for the Ethiopian New Year.

A deeply inquisitive and ingenious artistic force, Jace Clayton a.k.a. the Brooklyn-based DJ /rupture is at it again with his latest sound experiment. Enkutatash, which takes its name from the Ethiopian New Year may be Clayton’s most socially important and musically thrilling project to date. Taking place this September 11th (the day of Enkutatash) as part of the 5x5 Festival in DC, Enkutatash turns the color-coded threat alarms of America’s Homeland Security Advisory System into a score based on the Ethiopian five-note scale, effectively transforming the frightening into the beautiful. To be sung in unison by DC a capella choirs joined by the audience, the piece spans the nine years (2002-2011) of the national alarms in just 45 minutes (every note is a threat level and every day is a second). Clayton’s own rendition of an East African harvest song featuring the masinqo (a type of lute) will also be performed. The first chill of fall is soon coming, but Clayton is taking the jubilee outdoors, setting up shop in a vast, wood-decked space (which you can peep above). More than a live performance, Enkutatash will also bounce the “global booty beats” of Anthology of Booty, DC’s all-female DJ group, and will serve up vegetarian Ethiopian dishes in honor of the holiday. Like Clayton’s past endeavors, Enkutatash seeks to both engage and inspire, confronting fears while pushing through them.

>>>More details on Jace Clayton's Enkutatash can be found here

To make the wait easier, Clayton has dropped a new mix under his DJ /rupture name. Opening with some fuzzed-out, sharp whips and featuring everything from a Kendrick Lamar sample to the brooding horns of Colin Stetson, “Loops in the 24-hr News Cycle” is Flying Lotus eeriness, J Dilla inventiveness, and pure DJ/Rupture joy. Listen on below, and download the mix here.

Image supplied.

Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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