H Is For Hip Hop And Its Queens

H in the A to Z of fusion goes to Hip Hop music – leaving aside here the other core elements that make up hip hop culture.

Hip Hop earns its place because its creation definitely involves the refined art of fusion. From DJs mixing records they spin to studio producers/beat makers sampling, chopping, looping, sequencing, recording and mixing-  the beats, sounds and grooves that make up hip hop music are found and blended together from a broad range of worldwide music sources including funk, soul, rhythm and blues, disco, jazz, rock, heavy metal, reggae, salsa, cumbia, soca, pop and well, any other genre you choose really.

The evolution of hip hop music is long and involved. Its characters and contributors are many. Its history fills pages you can find elsewhere. Sufficed to say here its original roots are found in Africa and since its formation in New York in the 70’s the hip hop phenomena has spread far and wide throughout the world. Erykah Badu perfectly describes its contemporary influence in ‘The Healer’ when she sings “It’s bigger than religion, hip hop. It’s bigger than my nigga, hip hop. It’s bigger than the government”.  And thankfully so.

“The Healer” by Erykah Badu – New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)

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It’s the hip hop Kings of the world who’ve generally been the most heard and celebrated. Check out “essential hip hop” albums to find most are compilations of tracks by male artists. But of course there are female artists all over the world creating hip hop music whether they be DJ’s, MCs, beat makers or producers. Sampled below are songs featuring just a handful of those many hip hop Queens – some widely known and celebrated, others less so.

The usual warning applies: versions you find here are just dirty, compressed mp3s. Get the real deal on hard copy from your local music store, in their sweetest of forms on vinyl.

Erykah Badu (U.S.A)

Erykah Badu - Worldwide Underground

“Love Of My Life Worldwide” featuring Queen Latifah, Angie Stone & Bahamadia – Worldwide Underground

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Fugees (inc. Ms Lauryn Hill) (U.S.A)

Fugees - Blunted On Reality

“Some Seek Stardom” – Blunted on Reality

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ChocQuibTown (Colombia)

ChocQuibTown - Somos Pacifico

“Somos Pacifico” – Somos Pacifico

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Georgia Anne Muldrow (U.S.A)

Georgia Anne Muldrow - A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

“Monoculture” – A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

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Ladi6 (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Ladi6 - Time Is Not Much

“Give Me The Light” – Time Is Not Much

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Nneka (Nigeria/Germany)

Nneka - No Longer At Ease

“Halfcast” – No Longer At Ease 

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Telmary (Cuba)

Telmary - A Diario

“Ando” – A Diario

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Yep, blessed are we for the birth of hip hop music and its ongoing fusionary evolution since by artists all over the world.  Thankful are we for both its Queens and its Kings.

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Nneka Live & With Love In The Eutropia Sanctuary

I’ve discovered that when in Rome in the Summertime, the good-vibes, open-air, artistic sanctuary of Eutropia Festival with its killer line-up of music artists seems like the only place in the city to be. Also that when in any part of the world at any time there’s a live Nneka concert to be found, that is most definitely the place to be.

Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

Nneka live at Eutropia Festival 2015

Having loved Nneka’s unique fusion of soul, reggae, Afrobeat and hip-hop music for a long time and having made it my [very-out-of-the-way] mission to get myself to Rome to finally have myself the blessed live Nneka experience, my hopes and expectations for her Eutropia show were incredibly high.

What Nneka and her four-piece band gave (their All), and what the audience received at the gig from the moment they stepped on stage until the last note of the encore played nearly two hours later, went far above and beyond all those hopes and expectations.

with Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

with Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015Gros Ngolle Pokossi with Nneka live at Eutropia Festival 2015with Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015The five artists with their combined talents, performed nearly all songs on Nneka’s recently-released album My Fairy Tales as well as a handful of her most well-known tracks from Soul Is Heavy and No Longer At Ease.

Despite the serious lyrical content of those songs, one dedicated to “all the refugees who’ve drowned at sea just trying to find a better home, and all the blood shed for religion”, the music and its delivery lifted the Eutropia crowd higher, higher and higher again. As Nneka herself pointed out to the Eutropia crowd, to constantly battle against the world’s injustices is tiring – and to throw love back at those causing the suffering is a much more productive and uplifting exercise. From start to finish positive energy and love were undoubtedly flowing to and from the stage.

Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

Both seeing and hearing the young but seemingly old-soul Nneka, open her self-described (‘Halfcast’) “big lips” and “big mouth” to sing her politically and spiritually charged lyrics with the most truthful and naturally flowing emotions from heart and soul, with her incredible voice, mesmerized me like no other female artist has done before in the live arena except for the divine Erykah Badu.

Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

Get a glimpse of the very special live Nneka experience with this here footage from her Eutropia show. The first song ‘Shining Star’ is a single from her 2011 album Soul Is Heavy, and the second ‘Babylon’ is from the new album My Fairy Tales.


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You can also listen below to a compressed mp3 version of the track ‘Book of Job’ from My Fairy Tales, two more here (‘Believe System’ + ‘Local Champion’) and songs from past Nneka albums here. Remember you deserve to hear and have the hold-in-your-hands, uncompressed hard copies in you music collection to love forever after, and in whatever form you choose to get them, Nneka and her musical collaborators deserve your financial support.

Nneka - My Fairy Tales (2015)
Book of Job by Nneka – My Fairy Tales (2015)

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Concerts in the good-vibes sanctuary of Eutropia L’Altra Città Festival 2015 continue until September (check out the program here). If you can only get to one, be sure to make it the George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic show tonight 🙂 .

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My Fairy Tales By Nneka

Once upon a time at the beginning of the 80s, a beautiful and intelligent girl from the Nigerian kingdom of Warri was born. She was named Nneka Lucia Egbuna, and was destined to bring much musical goodness to the world.

Nneka grew into a passionate, socially and politically conscious woman.  Also a special music artist with a unique vocal style and moving voice.

By 2011 Nneka had blessed the world with three albums+ of the delightfully soulful, hip hoppy, skanking kind [listen here].  Through those songs she told stories of suffering and injustice that needed to be told; and was a musical messenger of the kind that the all-too-troubled world needed more of.

Nneka - Soul Is Heavy (2011)

Soul Is Heavy (2011)

Nneka - No Longer At Ease

No Longer At Ease (2008)

Nneka - Victim of Truth

Victim of Truth (2005)

 

 

 

 

 

The world and its people who heard Nneka’s music were better for it. And, so it became that Nneka was decreed a living music legend.

Four seemingly long years later, and not so long ago, Nneka finally gifted the world with another album she named My Fairy Tales.

Nneka - My Fairy Tales

My Fairy Tales (2015)

Nneka fans of old found less of the soul and hip hop flavours in My Fairy Tales than past albums. They got more Afrogroove highlife, reggae and dub; even a dash of EDM to end the story. Some folks felt that overall My Fairy Tales didn’t have the same ‘bite’ as other Nneka creations. Others said the new album’s sound was more cohesive and consistent than albums which came before.

No matter what was said, everyone agreed on some things: it was an absolute pleasure to hear Nneka’s impassioned voice singing nine new songs; the music sounded like no other in the world; the bass lines in My Fairy Tales hit them deeply like bass should; and importantly, that it was good to be reminded that despite the suffering, corruption, violence and injustices inflicted on Africans (and people everywhere), the response must always remain the same: education, compassion and the Almighty Love, in abundance.

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People all around the world listened to My Fairy Tales and loved it. They felt refreshed and grateful to hear new music of the high quality and conscious kind.

Believe System by Nneka – My Fairy Tales

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Local Champion by Nneka – My Fairy Tales

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The people bought My Fairy Tales and other Nneka albums on vinyl where they could, or at least on cd; and treasured them in their music collection forever thereafter. They admired Nneka’s paintings –  remembered the music and messages of dearly departed Fela Kuti – pored over the lyrics in storybook font and discovered the names of Nneka’s many musician and producer collaborators – felt touched by Nneka’s voice – heeded her messages, and danced.

Nneka - My Fairy Tales (2015)

The extra-blessed also found themselves the live Nneka experience somewhere around the world in 2015.

For My Fairy Tales and all other Nneka music experiences before and beyond, the people lived, and died when they’re naturally supposed to, happily ever after in peace and love. 🙂

The End.

…of Beaver’s Fairy Tale.

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Nneka: Must Hear Music

I have preordained this woman as being on the list of Musical Legends. Whether or not whoever it is that decides legend status actually ever decrees it on Nneka, she will forever remain a legend in my own musical world. If you don’t already know about this incredibly talented artist and her music, you are missing out on something special.

Nneka - www.beaveronthebeats.com

Nneka is Nigerian-German.

Her collection of music released since 2005 is a diverse and sophisticated blend of mostly soul, r&b, hip hop, reggae and afro beat.  Each Nneka song is different – in its mix of musical styles – and with tempos ranging from soulful ballads to more upbeat tracks awesome to dance to.

Nneka’s voice, when singing and rapping, is unique, and beautiful.  Her lyrics are conscious ones.  She tackles important issues of political and social injustices, spirituality, and the importance of recognising and accepting the polarities of light and darkness in the world whilst focusing on love and positivity over hate and negativity.

Nneka - www.beaveronthebeats.comNneka has collaborated and toured with incredible artists around the world, including Damian Marley, Tricky, The Roots & Nas. That might give you some idea of the high calibre of talent Nneka is. I have no idea how popular Nneka is around the world – but I have the feeling that it’s not nearly enough – and that many more people need to know about her music, and will love it as much as I do.

Nneka - www.beaveronthebeats.com

Here are some sample listening tracks. Extra strong MP3 warning for Nneka- there is so much more sound goodness to be heard on the original CDs, all of which are easy to buy online. Buying these Nneka albums is some of the best spent money in my lifetime.

Soul Is Heavy (2012)

Soul Is Heavy (2012)

Sleep (feat Ms Dynamite) – Soul Is Heavy

My Home – Soul Is Heavy

Concrete Jungle (2010)

Concrete Jungle (2010)

Walking – Concrete Jungle

Suffri (Band Version) – Concrete Jungle

Kangpe (feat Wesley Williams) – Concrete Jungle

No Longer At Ease (2008)

No Longer At Ease (2008)

Focus – No Longer At Ease

Gypsy – No Longer At Ease

Victim of Truth (2005)

Victim of Truth (2005)

Africans – Victim of Truth

Confession – Victim of Truth

Material Things – Victim of Truth

The Uncomfortable Truth (2005)

The Uncomfortable Truth (2005)

Heartbeat – The Uncomfortable Truth (EP)

 

I absolutely must see Nneka live when I get the opportunity. Until then I’ll have to be satisfied to watch this video of a recent live show at and by the Sziget Festival in Hungary…

 Surely after hearing the music and seeing the footage, you agree that Nneka should be decreed a Musical Legend?

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