Audio

Kwabs 'Pray For Love' Produced By Plan B

Kwabs teams up with Plan B on his latest single "Pray For Love," due out May 5th.


Just a month has passed since Kwabs' chapel-room, electro-crooning on the Wrong Or Right EP. It's only fitting that the next chapter in the Book of Kwabs would introduce a more overt element of religiosity to a catalogue and voice that has thus far rendered comparisons with gospel music. On "Pray For Love," which premiered today on MistaJam, dungeony percussion introduces a further level to the demon-fighting depths of Kwabs' pipes. The track sees London's Ben Drew (aka Plan B) stepping out of his MC shoes to cook up grandiose-snared production for his former tour-mate. "Pray For Love," which you can listen to below and catch the lyrics over here, is due out May 5th. We presume it will find a spot on Kwabs' forthcoming (and potentially still in-the-works) full-length debut.

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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