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Solo's Priorities Have Changed

South African rapper Solo's new album, C.Plenty.Dreams, marks the end of a trilogy and the beginning of a new era.

If "stick to your plan" was a person, it would be Solo. In 2008, the South African emcee decided he would release a trilogy of albums that will chronicle his journey as a human being and his chosen career of being a rapper.

"I decided on it in 2008," says Solo, a day before the release of the last iteration of the trilogy, C.Plenty.Dreams in September. "I started applying my mind in 2009, and I did it. I also got tired of it halfway through. Simply because as a person, you grow and you're like, 'ah, now I'm stuck with having to do this thing I decided on when I was a teen.' It's the reason why you didn't see [Lupe Fiasco's] L-U-P-end and [Kanye West's] Good Ass Job. People evolve. I'm quite happy that I was able to finish what I started."

C.Plenty.Dreams is the last instalment in the trilogy, which kicked off with .Dreams.A.Plenty, his stellar 2014 debut album. The album, which was preceded by the EP No Shades of Grey (2011), revealed Solo as a highly conceptual top tier lyricist. In the album, Solo shared his ambitions and idealistic views on his chosen trade.

.Dreams.B.Plenty followed in 2016. Solo, who was now an award-winning artist after scooping Best Newcomer at the South African Hip Hop Awards in 2014, exhibited more aggression while giving his listener an update on his journey.

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Amsterdam Ticket 1987 line-up, from left to right: Africanova, Canjo Amissi, Aloys Gasuku, Tula Walupini, Diamond Ilunga. Seated: Member Bruno S., Goretti Habonimana, Amida Hassan V.,Chantal Nibizi. Photo courtesy of Afro7 Records.

A Rare Album From Burundi's Most Popular 1980s Group, Amabano, Resurfaces

1987's Amsterdam Ticket sees the Burundian group blending psych & funk influences with Congolese rumba and Burundian traditional music. It's getting a reissue from Afro7 Records.

Even though African music of the past four decades is being rediscovered, catalogued and reissued by foreign labels at an accelerating speed, music from the East-Central African nation of Burundi remains somewhat of a blind spot to collectors who are not from the region.

Western audiences have long associated the country with pop hits by singer Khadja Nin (based in Belgium since 1980) or even with "Burundi Black" (1971), the worldwide hit by French pianist Michel Bernholc (alias Mike Steiphenson) that sampled a recording from 1968 of traditional Burundian drumming. There are two vinyl releases from 1980 and 1987 that hint at the unknown history of Burundian pop music, records that have gained grail status among collectors, even though the story behind those LPs has never been told in full.

The first is a 7-LP box, released by Radio Nederland in 1980 (only 80 copies were made), containing the 100 entries to a band competition that the station organised for undiscovered talent from the Francophone African region. Among them was Amabano, the group that would become one of the two winners of the Concours du Moulin D'or (Golden Windmill contest), and who were invited to pick up their trophy, tour and record an album in a well-equipped studio in the Netherlands. The four tracks featured on the promotional vinyl are dreamy, mid-tempo psych-funk grooves with a touch of jazz and rumba, sung in the Kirundi language. The other LP, by the same group, was released in 1987 on the Soviet Union's Melodiya label in two different editions, each limited to 1000 copies, and now near-impossible to find. 'Gasuku' was not a delayed release of their previous Dutch recordings, but a new set of songs, put to tape by a Soviet team that had travelled Burundi for the occasion. Like their 1980s contest entries, the 'Gasuku' album had a musical approach that was deeply rooted in psych, funk and rumba of the 1970s.

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Michael Kiwanuka Teams Up With Tom Misch for Disco-Inspired Single 'Money'

The British-Ugandan musician explores the dangers of money on an infectious new collaboration with British producer Tom Misch.

It's been a while since we heard from British-Ugandan soul singer Michael Kiwanuka, but he's back with a new single and we couldn't be more here for it.

The artist teamed up with fellow British musician Tom Misch for the funk and disco-inspired single "Money." The mid tempo song is one made for chill summer nights, as Kiwanuka soulful vocals pair smoothly with Misch impressive guitar work. The '70s influence comes off strongly on the nearly 5-minute track.

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OkayAfrica's Weekend Guide

There’s a deluge of cool events happening across Africa and the diaspora this weekend and OkayAfrica’s weekend guide is where you’ll find them.

There’s a deluge of cool events happening across Africa and the diaspora this weekend and OkayAfrica’s weekend guide is where you’ll find them.

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