So yesterday I FINALLY got the latest issue of Wax Poetics in the mail, and it's devoted to Africa with Fela Kuti on one cover and Tony Allen on the other (could you imagine any other poster boys for African music?). While I haven't cracked either cover open yet, it's got me all excited to share a basketful of African music that's been gracing my speakers lately. To start off the safari is Nneka, a Nigerian singer who has since moved to Germany, and who has been making music for the last five years. Her latest release, Concrete Jungle, her first album for US shelves, just came out this week but has been in heavy rotation in my house for a few weeks now.
While much of the album is shaped around Nneka's homeland of Nigeria, but it certainly isn't what one would think of as a stereotypical African music album. You'll feel African rhythms more heavily in some songs such as Africans and From Africa 2 U, but you'll also find some island beats a la Bob Marley in Come With Me as well as reggae painted tracks like Kangpie. Listening to other parts of the album also made me of an album I wrote about almost a year, Terry Lynn's Kingstonlogic 2.0, although perhaps a bit more melodic and not quite as in your face of sharp edged. Another contemporary comparison which seems apt is with Erykah Badu. Any way you cut it, it's an enjoyable mix of African roots, Caribbean spices, and hip hop beats that brings African music into the 21st century.
Below you'll find The Uncomfortable Truth, the album's second track, and probably most single-friendly number. Take it as an entry drug into the rest of the album and be prepared to go deeper as you explore. The second comes from her first full length album (from which the new album actually pulls some tracks from).