We don’t give enough attention to hip-hop on this blog and for that I am a bit remiss. In an effort to remedy this, I’m posting a song below by a new hip-hop group that stumbled into my life in the past few days. The song, entitled “A.F.R.I.C.A” is absolutely incredible. The artists behind the song are a Ghanian-American, born in Brooklyn, named Osei, and a Colombian-American, born in the Bronx, named E.J.
The group goes by the name 23, and have been performing together since 2000 when the two met in college. These two conscious artists are rewriting their life situations through music. The hardworking, cerebral duo use their intellectual capacities and cultural diversity to preserve their identities and put forward a message of positivism and awareness. In the words of Osei, “Our ultimate goal is to use our versatility to reach all facets of hip-hop. Our distinct sound blends African and Latino roots with the colorful metaphoric word-play of the new school while keeping the conscious, social awareness spirit of the old school.”
As for the song. It’s evident from the very first lines that Osei can flow incredibly well. His strident vocal delivery displays confidence, the prerequisite hip-hop swagger, a comfort/ease behind the mic, and sounds like something he’s been doing all his life, suggesting that perhaps he was born to do this. Additionally the chorus works really well, and the verses are a revelation. Topical, insightful, sans vulgarity/profanity, articulate and well-thought out, it is the exact song that hip-hop needs. As we know with Kanye and Lupe Fiasco, literate and bookish rappers are certainly gaining more steam, and I see no reason why Osei and his group 23 shouldn’t join them.
I for one, am crossing my fingers, this music gets in the hands of the right people. This group’s future is indeed incredibly bright.
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