The NYC-2-Africa riddim was produced and recorded in West Africa, NYC, and Jamaica by Emch of Subatomic Sound and Benny Beats of Nomadic Wax. Striking right to the core of our very existence: Survival, corrupt politics, preserving authentic culture, and the destruction of our environment are the topics of the three heart wrenching vocals delivered straight from the souls of Anthony B (Jamaica), Jahdan (NYC/Guyana), & Bajah (Sierra Leone) on this crucial release.
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Do you know about the new subway line connecting NYC, Jamaica, and Africa? No? It may not exist yet, but thanks to producers Emch (Subatomic Sound System) & Benny Beats (Nomadic Wax), this vision already has a soundtrack: The NYC-2-Africa EP was recorded in New York City; Kingston, Jamaica; and Dakar, Senegal, using a single original riddim to trace the diaspora back through history from hip hop’s inception on NYC’s gritty streets to its Jamaican dancehall reggae roots, and from the Jamaican dancehall to its foundation in African rhythms—represented here by a battery of Senegalese sabar drums.
The politics, culture, and environmental awareness fundamental to this musical history are represented vocally by three artists crucial to the diaspora, each delivering what people are calling some of their all time best performances: Jamaican culture dancehall superstar Anthony B; NYC’s reggae/electronic/hip hop firebrand Jahdan Blakkamoore, of Smif ‘n Wesson “Soundbwoy Burial” fame & winner of iTunes 2009 reggae album of the year; and Sierra Leone, Africa’s #1 rapper and bonafide musical hero, Bajah of the Dry Eye Crew. The combination of this music and history is explosive.
Anthony B’s politically charged anthem is particularly riveting because it called out JA’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding at the time he was struggling with civil war surrounding the United States-requested extradition of “Dudus,” a don from the Tivoli Gardens garrison district of Kingston and a leader of the Prime Ministers main constituency—an obvious point of hypocrisy. Anthony B recorded his vocals in Kingston in April 2010, as the the city broke out in riots capped off by the Tivoli Gardens extradition raid. Tensions were further heightened by a drought that led to water supplies to many of Kingston’s residents being cut off for days at a time. When Anthony first heard the African drums, his eyes lit up and he and his crew began a classic African call and response chant to the beat. After listening to the riddim over and over on repeat, he demanded to go straight into the studio and, without a word written, delivered a blistering performance, waiving his lighter and literally jumping off the walls of the vocal booth while singing like a man possessed by inspiration.
To make this dream a reality required a truly international collaboration, spearheaded by NYC label Subatomic Sound, a cornerstone of current dub and bass culture, in conjunction with African hip hop label and documentary film makers Nomadic Wax out of Brooklyn (producers of the controversial film “Democracy in Dakar”) and also longtime roots and dancehall foundation label, Peoples Records from Kingston, JA. Bajah appears courtesy of Modiba Productions and One Haven Music. NYC-2-Africa subway art conceived by Emch, design by the MTA, artwork courtesy of Angelo Gastelum aka El Poeta.
This digital release features political, cultural and environmentally charged vocal versions by Anthony B (Jamaica), Jahdan Blakkamoore (NYC/Guyana), Bajah (Sierra Leone), plus the dubbed up instrumental, and a combination medley of the versions (for DJs).