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Various Artists Afrolution, Volume 1: The Original African Hip Hop Collection Review

Compilation. Released 2006.  

BBC Review an insight to a world beneath the headlines Afrolution is invaluable.

Adam Webb 2002

Defining the music of an entire continent must be a pretty thankless task. That said, the compilers of Afrolution Vol 1 have made a fine stab at it, showcasing the diversity of hip hop currently being made in countries as far afield as Nigeria, Senegal and Malawi.

Split roughly into Francophone and Anglophone nations, the sheervariety of music demonstrates the versatality which has made the genre such aglobal phenomenon.

Highlights include the South African crew Cashless Society and their extraordinary "Taxi Wars" - in which a skittering bass dirves the track ever onwards, while the rapper manages to rhyme 'pyramid schemes' with 'geen wrapped in banana pills for 50 beans'. "Mjanja", by Kenyas Wawesh, is also worthy of mention, as is Begotten Sun's Gil Scott-Heron-sampling "Revolution" (from Zimbabwe) and "Ghetto Noir" by Smokey (from Gambia).

The political undercurrents and intelligence inherent in the majority of these tracks puts most bling-obsessed US hip hop in the shade. Funky, illuminating and smart - as an insight to a world beneath the headlines Afrolution is invaluable. Volume 2 is awaited with interest.

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