Style

This Streetwear Brand Just Released A Dope Jersey For Mansa Musa, "King Of Kings" Of The Mali Empire

Streetwear brand Modern Pharaoh releases a jersey dedicated to Mansa Musa, the 14th century "King of Kings" of the Mali Empire.

All images courtesy of Modern Pharaoh


California/Massachusetts-based apparel and lifestyle brand Modern Pharaoh is back with a crisp, black-and-yellow jersey detailed with their signature emblem of a female pharaoh. The item is the first in a collection of jerseys dedicated to "great figures of African history." Its inspiration and namesake is Musa Keita (Mansa Musa I) the tenth Mansa– or "King of Kings"– of the Mali Empire, and the richest human being in history according to this study. "From Mansa Musa, we take the hope for progression amongst our people, and humility in every success," the label writes in an introduction to the release.

Founded by Liberian-born creative Adam Smarte (a former MLS player who spent his childhood between Accra, Ibadan, Côte d'Ivoire and Sacramento, California), the brand released a line of t-shirts commemorating Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon's World Cup bids in 2014. Earlier this year they launched a series of Rugby Collection snapbacks for Kenya and South Africa.

Head to the Modern Pharaoh website to shop their new Mansa Musa Jersey. For more, keep up with the brand on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram.

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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