Audio

Video: Tabu Ley Rochereau


The heart of Africa has produced rhythms that sentimentally match the soundscape of the continent. With piercing percussion, sensual strums, and soul-stirring vocals, the music of the Congo has stretched far and wide throughout the world, but we here also enjoy tracing it back to those pioneers of recent history who have claimed it, named it, and shared it for our auditory pleasures. One such pioneer being Tabu Ley Rochereau.

At the age of 14, Tabu Ley had begun creating the sounds that would resonate through the Soukous tradition. He joined African Jazz, where he met future musical partner, Dr. Nico Kasanda. The two would go on to create Africa Fiesta, blending Rochereau's phenomenal composing abilities with Kasanda's genius guitar playing. After only a few successful years together, they split and created their respective bands, with Rochereau establishing Afrisa International. The success of Afrisa International can be marked by several things, Rochereau becoming the first African to play at the Paris Olympia, launching the talented M'bilia Bel, and that the band is still touring and relevant today. Some say he's the Frank Sinatra of Africa, we think he's got his own lane, but check out the smooth brothers in the video!

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Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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