I get an awful lot of submissions here at FMF. In fact, I get many submissions that totally miss the mark. Either people don’t read, have never read my reviews, or have a different perspective on “the way we live”, a philosophy I adopted over the years I have been running this site. I realized that personally, not only am I mostly driven by the vinyl and records culture of Funk, Soul, Jazz and Reggae, but also my love of real, Golden Age Hip Hop (and it’s modern day accompaniments), DJing, sampling, and producing as well. That’s where I get “the way we live”. Some people get it, most people don’t. Here’s a mix that does. This latest submission comes from Larry Achiampong aka Black Ph03nix with Meh Mogya (Sample of Me). With many records being sampled to death (although there is still no shortage of things to sample, ask DJ Shadow), many have turned to African records, specifically Funk, Soul and Afrobeat straight from Africa to do their sampling. I recently reviewed Max Tannone and his Ghostfunk project, which mixed the vocals of Ghostface with the beats constructed from all African records. And why not? Isn’t Africa the birthplace of the drum, the birthplace of rhythm, and an important contribution to music history? Here’s what Achiampong has to say about this effort:
” ‘MEH MOGYA’ or ‘MY BLOOD’, when translated from Twi/Akan (a principal native language of Ghana) to English symbolises my intention to build a beat tape that focuses on the Ghanian musical genre known as Highlife, in particularly, music produced between the 1960s and the 1980s.
This unique style of dance music that peaked between the 50s and 70s, was made popular by artists such as Alhaji K. Frimpong, African Brothers International and Ebo Taylor. It is also known that Afrobeat legend; Fela Ransome Kuti birthed the Afrobeat style by merging Highlife with Jazz.
This exciting fresh project represents my interest to investigate, navigate; sample and re-present the African musical heritage and legacy connected to my origins. This amalgamation of history and contemporary flavour creates a new fresh dynamic sound that is both raw and catchy. The cultural and political elements that surrounded the nation are also brought to light and are made relevant in the record via sampled vocals of Kwame Nkrumah who gained Ghana’s independence from British colonial rule in 1957.”
“This amalgamation of history and contemporary flavour creates a new fresh dynamic sound that is both raw and catchy. ”
The project throughout is really tight, with tough hitting beats fused with African string instruments as well as chopped up African traditional vocals adding the spice of the flavor. Tracks like “Adowa”, with the off beat drum timing and bass licks will actually take you to the dancehall, daring you not to try to keep your feet still in an unsteady rhythm pattern. “Tuntum” hits hard with the drums and claps and is a head nodder for sure, while “Kenke” contains a great horn riff and vocal paired together before breaking into a superbly crafted breakdown of beats before the vocals kick back in. No cut is more than 2 and 1/2 minutes (another short beat tape), but blended all together you can really get the sense of an updated version of, and not only the history of Highlife, but the culture and political significance tied to it. Music has always been a source of inspiration and continues to be so today. Whether it be here in the United States in the 1960’s with civil and social unrest or a thirty plus span in Africa, freedom and independence have been associated daily with music. Music is freedom, and in so many countries where you can not express yourself against the government through your art, it’s refreshing to not only hear a great project like this, but get educated along the way. Stream the entire project below.
Download individual tracks or the entire project here.