So today was September. and here in Sheffield, it was like they switched off the Summer and switched on the Autumn. As i ventured out this morning, I had to wander straight back inside to get a jumper, and, however much I tried to stay out in the garden this afternoon, the wind blowing in my face and the overcast weather eventually forced me in. Worse still, when I arrived home this evening, it was so cold that i ended putting on the central heating.
I needed something to remind me of the heat of the summer, and Blitz the Ambassador has released a track over on his bandcamp page, that had me almost basking in my (central heated) house. For those unaware, Blitz the Ambassador was born and grew up in Accra, Ghana surrounded by the sounds of everything from Afro-Beat, to Jazz, to Highlife, to Motown. But it was hip-hop game changer It takes a nation of millions to hold us back by Public Enemy, that really attracted his attention.
Moving to the US for college and immediately embarking on making his mark in the hip-hop world, he found major labels were forever providing him with obstacles, or comparisons he wasn’t prepared to compromise on, so he went it alone, forming his own label Embassy MVMT.
Maybe this new track Bisa, is an example of that refusal to compromise. Partly sung in African (Bisa means ‘ask’ in the Ghanaian language Twi) it focuses on inequalities in Africa, from an insiders viewpoint. He’s drafted in two African born artist to help, London rapper Ty (who we like an awful lot) and Nigerian singer Nneka. It mixes this Afro-Beat with some future bass background with Blitz and Ty taking verses each, both with slick delivery and both with this sort of languid, listenable style. Nneka takes the hook between the verses and her voice is startling haunting, this striking fast vibrato marking her out as something incredibly special.
Yes, it raised legitimate questions about inequality, yes it showed that African music can be provocative as well as brilliant. But it made me want to turn up the central heating, but on my dark glasses and forget about the end of the summer here. And that’s got to be good, right?