Sons of Kemet have never been known to stay stuck in the same path. The band is more of a collaborative effort, that has changed through the years, but guided by the brilliant jazz mind of Shabaka Hutchings. On Black To The Future (Impulse!, 2021) the saxophonist and clarinet player has with him Theon Cross on tuba and Edward Wakili-Hick and Tom Skinner on percussion. In addition, the jazz music they create is, on some tracks, fused with spoken word, song, and rap.
The opening track sets the theme. Under a build-up of horn instruments and percussion, poet Joshua Idehen performs a powerful spoken-word piece that explores the past and present of his people’s oppression. He’s certainly angry and tired which he makes clear.
“Thank you For refusing me that inch Because now I do recognise your yardstick The scales have toppled The curtains have collapsed The blonde baboon’s arse is bare in the open And I am a field negro now I do not want your equality It was never yours to give me And even then it was too minor, too little, too late Pull the balaclava over my heart and set it running My revolution rides a black horse and it is stunning”
Another track, Hustle, has a deep, strong beat to it that makes one want to stand up and march in rhythm. The chorus, “Born from the mud with the hustle inside me”, repeats in such a way that it becomes a mantra that one can imagine thousands of people chanting on the street while demanding change.
For those that think jazz can be heavy on the ears, have no worry. This is not as experimental as Hutchings could easily have made it. This is more dance-able and if anything, full of fire. A subtle type of fire that will make you want to move your way in rhythm to the protest.
For any hiphop artist getting started in the rap game, it is a great feat to make it to Sway Calloway’s radio show Sway In The Morning. During the pandemic, Sway started giving rappers and lyricists from around the world a chance to step onto his virtual stage and show their talents. One of these rappers comes all the way from India and his name is Armaan Yadav. We here at Shouts are familiar with Armaan as we have been following his protest rap for a while.
Armaan seems to always feel compelled to pen down words about the injustice he constantly witnesses in his home country of India, which he then shares with the rest of the world. For the outside world, it is a great thing; that there are artists that journal what is going on so we can all become more informed, more empathetic humans.
Armaan’s latest offering is a full steam protest tune available for anyone looking for some energy boost during their resistance.
As per usual, when a song is banned or when an artist is oppressed by a tyrannical government or authority, we at Shouts do our best to show that work of art and free artistic expression to the world.
This time we present the song Mama by Tanzanian rapper Nay Wa Mitego. After Nay sent in the song to the Tanzanian government for review (as government’s rules dictate) the officials deemed this song unfit for the public for its alleged provocative content. This kind of oppression can understandably take a toll on a creative mind.
“I sometimes think of quitting doing music because of these kinds of struggles, this system will make some of the artists to not do their work. You cannot edit songs penned down by artists in the name of review, when that happens, the song automatically is disclaimed by artists,”