Audio

Liberian-Italian MC Karima Channels Chicago Footwork On 'Bantu Juke'

Liberian-Italian vocalist and producer Karima returns with the Chicago footwork-inspired single 'Bantu Juke'


Liberian-Italian rapper, dancer and beatmaker Karima Gehnyei first caught our attention last year with her politically charged debut album 2G. The 10-track project, which served as a tongue-in-cheek indictment of Italy's racist immigration policies, was backed by eclectic production that drew from a variety of musical genres including electronica, reggae, hip-hop, bass, grime and afrobeat. Today, the multi-talented artist returns with new self-affirming banger titled "Bantu Juke."

The self-produced single, which is premiering here today, continues in the vein of the dynamic artist's political outspokenness as she encourages Africans on the continent and in the diaspora to have pride in their heritage. Speaking to Okayafrica, Karima shared that the track's production, with its use of choppy syncopated beats, looped vocals and West African polyrhythmic percussive structure was born out of her love for the juke-inspired footwork sound pioneered by the late DJ Rashad and his Teklife crew.

"The sound of juke is militant and I love everything that is militant," Karima explained over e-mail. "It is an uncompromised sound and as an aesthetic decision it takes me back to the beginning of my career when I started to get up on stage, first as a dancer, and then later as a vocalist in the Italian acid techno and house music scenes." Stream and grab some exclusive downloads of "Bantu Juke", which is set to appear on Karima's forthcoming sophomore album, below. For more, check out our First Look Friday profile on the rising MC.

>>> Download: Karima - 'Bantu Juke' MP3|WAV

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Ayra Starr Is Ready to Take Off

We talk to the rising Nigerian star about growing up between Cotonou & Lagos, meeting Don Jazzy and how she made her explosive debut EP.