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Video + Audio: Art Melody’s “Béog Kamba” & “Kienrib Laadamain”

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It’s hard to categorize a rapper like Art Melody. If pressed I’d say he’s like a Burkinabé DMX, but that comparison ends at their rapid fire bursts of throaty lyrics. Art Melody raps almost exclusively in Móoré and Dioula, and as a result his flow is rough but alacritous. He uses his guttural voice to address social and political issues that plague his native land and he frequently laces tracks with speeches on colonialism and Burkinabé politics.

Art Melody’s latest album, Zound Zande, takes the artist on an eclectic musical journey that marries a number of West African musical traditions with old school, boom-bap hip-hop beats and funk. Production was provided by French producer Redrum (how the hell is he the first guy to snatch up that name?) and Dave Cooley of Stones Throw Records. The two singles we’ve presented here show the wide range of sounds that Melody was shooting for.

The first single, “Béog Kamba,” reflects a variety of influences. Art Melody raps in a style reminiscent of traditional African chants, while the beat itself is simultaneously booming and hypnotic. The video features psychedelic images of masked dancers, though the song is actually about education (watch the vid, above). Melody really lets loose on the album’s second single, a funky track called “Kienrib Laadamain.” I dare you to take a listen to that track and not play it back three more times...minimum (listen below).

Art Melody’s Zound Zande is available now on iTunes.

Kienrib Laadamain (prod. Redrum) 2011 by ART MELODY

Interview

Malian Rapper Ami Yerewolo Rises Against All Odds

Ami Yerewolo reflects on her hard-won rap career, new album AY and why she insists on creating support spaces for young female rappers in Mali and beyond.

"No one is a prophet in his or her own land!" This is an accurate way to describe Ami Yerewolo's career to a tee. The Malian rapper's music has not always been popular in her home country, where female rappers are generally frowned upon. Instead, it has taken off abroad. Yerewolo's upbeat sound mixes traditional Malian elements with fast drums, contemporary beats and significant lyrics that compel listeners to reflect on life — all of which makes her songs carry a universal appeal. Her new album, AY (titled after the rapper's initials) has just been released by the label Othentiq.

Yerewolo shares her frank thoughts below...

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