Video

Video: Blitz the Ambassador feat. Corneille "Best I Can"

Yesterday Blitz the Ambassador dropped his brand new album, Native Sun, which we've been talking about for a minute over here at OKA. To compliment the full album stream, Blitz has just offered up this new video for "Best I Can" featuring Corneille, a soul singer from Rwanda with a sticky-sweet voice.


As Eddie "STATS" said over on Okayplayer - "Based on this and the Baloji joints, I don’t care if you are from Yonkers–from now on ALL rappers should shoot their videos in Africa. It makes sense though, cause this song seems like kind of a mission statement for the ambitious goals Blitz set for himself with Native Sun–doing the whole damn diaspora proud–and it does not disappoint. Musically speaking, it sounds like he heard all these “Sabali”-based tracks that Theophilus, Damian & Nas and everybody have been jumping on and said, Maaaaan, I don’t need to sample no Afropop. I am Afropop! Now where is this dude Corneille‘s number, na…"

Check below for info on two Blitz shows, one TONIGHT in NYC @ S.O.B.s and the next Thursday night in D.C. @ Club Liv

Get tix to see Blitz live at S.O.B.s on Wednesday, May 4th - just CLICK HERE.  For tix to the D.C. show @ Club Liv, CLICK HERE.

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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