Audio

DJ Juls 'Raise My Flag' Ft Ko-jo Cue, Blackway & E.L

Ghanaian producer DJ Juls releases 'Raise My Flag' the first single of his forthcoming debut EP.


Less than 48 hours after dropping the murky social commentary-laced "Inflation" with Sarkodie, Ghanaian beatsmith DJ Juls comes through once again with "Raise My Flag," the surprise first single off his as-of-yet unnamed debut EP. We've been following the handiwork of the elusive UK-based producer for a while now — both volumes of his Jungle Book Beat Tapes and  Afrobeats mixes have been longtime favorites around the Okayafrica offices — so we're definitely looking forward to a complete collection of brand new DJ Juls tracks to put on rotation.

Juls' crisp programming shines on "Raise My Flag" as he drops a Ghanaian-tinged hip-hop beat anchored by the jubilant warmth of horns that seem straight out of a highlife classic. Juls rounds up newcomer Blackway and fellow BBnZ affiliates Ko-jo Cue and E.L, a cast of slick spitters whose stellar guest spots on the track solidify them as some of the brightest MCs to keep an eye on in the GH scene. Ko-jo Cue is the first up on the plate and he gives a detailed timeline of his rise within the rap game before ending his verse with a jab at the Mahama-led government's mismanagement of the cedi, though he makes sure to note that it's all love despite the current economic hardships being experienced. Blackway then swoops in on the hook with the hungry bravado of one determined to chisel their name into the annals of Ghanaian hip-hop history. The Brooklyn-based newcomer vies for his spot in the rap dynasty with a verse chock-full of his dreams of lyrical sovereignty. Finally, E.L. swaggers through on the closing verse to regale us with tales of his more nefarious associations while reasserting his claim of being the 'best African rapper.'

Stream "Raise My Flag" below and get familiar with DJ Juls' beatwork over on his soundcloud before the EP arrives.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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