Artist: Wale OyejideTitle: Africa Hot!: The Afrofuture SessionsRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Dustin Glick
Nigerian beatmaker takes listeners on a voyage of afrobeat, Hip-Hop and brokenbeat futuresound.
Nigerian-born producer and vocalist Wale Oyejide lets you know just what to expect from his new album with its title: Africahot! The Afrofuture Sessions (Shaman Work). Oyejide has already experimented with instrumental Hip-Hop and afro-beat on his first two albums, and his latest effort attempts to combine both genres along with the occasional brokenbeat groove. While Hip-Hop diehards might be unhappy with the album’s scarcity of straight up rap songs (three), AfricaHot! should prove a worthy listen to anyone looking to take a well-mixed voyage through different musical styles.
The album’s best feature is derived from Oyejide’s ability to transcend genres and emotions. The title track makes you want to hit the dancefloor with pounding nu-afrobeat rhythms, while “Maybe You & I” mesmerizes with chill, jazzy brokenbeat grooves. “H.I.V.” provides Oyejide a serious soapbox to expound upon Africa’s AIDS crisis, while guest stars Ta’Raach and Lil’ Sci rock smooth rhymes on “One Day, Everything Changed” and “Keep Shining”. Yet despite all these various influences and sounds, the album never feels scattered, as Oyejide’s beats and vocals tie everything together with an unmistakably African vibe that never ventures into world music cheese.
The only downside to AfricaHot! is that it only briefly touches afrobeat influenced Hip-Hop. As fans of both genres can attest, it’s clear that the potential here is great, and while Oyejide cracks the door another few inches, it would be nice to see someone swing it wide open. However, Oyejide succeeds in his goal, smoothly transitioning from earthy afrobeat to re-imagined Hip-Hop to groovy brokenbeat, all in one album. If AfricaHot! truly does represent the future of afrobeat, then that’s a great sign.