The spirit and influence of famed music makers/activist Bob Marley, Fela Kuti and Bob Dylan will be spread to a new generation of listeners with the release of a five-part series of new music from mixtape DJ/producer J. Period and international rapper KNaan.
The first release from the offering, titled The Messengers, will be a three-song digital EP that will feature a remix to one song from each artist.
The EP will be followed with individual tributes to Kuti, Marley and Dylan as well as the release of The Messengers album in its entirety.
According to KNaan, The Messengers project strikes a personal nerve as he sees parallels between his personal and musical background and the struggle and hope relayed in the music of Dylan, Kuti and Marley.
"This project is really special to me. Not the product of ego but of passion, said the Somali-born rapper, who achieved success despite being raised in war-torn Mogadishu. Far from a marketing tool, it is an honest musical offering. Nothing gives a better window into the root and concept of my own sound than The Messengers."
The arrival of The Messengers comes amid the release of KNaans sophomore album, Troubadour.
The A&M/Octone Records offering, which debuted at No. 32 on Billboards Top 200 upon its release in January, generated a buzz through the content of KNaans lyrics and protest songs.
Despite current dissatisfaction with the state of Hip-Hop, J. Period believes the music of the culture is still active with potential for increased creativity.
A lot of people say Hip-Hop is in a stagnant place, but I see few actually doing something about it, the beatmaker shared in a statement. I love the The Messengers because the concept is completely unique, but still true to the original spirit of Hip-Hop: combining the best elements from everywhere to create something fresh, to make a new statement. Fela, Marley and Dylan proved that when great music meets a powerful message, the result lives forever. I hope KNaan and I have done their legacies justice with this project.
Guests on the album include M1 of Dead Prez, Kardinal Offishall, Bajah of The Dry Eye Crew, Steele of SmifNWessun, Zion Is Zumbi ,Game Rebellion front man Netic the Rebel, bassist Brian Satz, and producer DJ Preservation. The Messengers EP is available now.
The tribute to Kuti will be released on Sept. 1, followed by the Marley tribute on Sept. 8 and Dylans tribute on Sept. 15.
The entire Messengers album, which will include additional bonus tracks, is slated to come out on Sept. 22.
All Messengers releases will be available for free download at http://www.jperiod.com/knaan.