Published Apr 29, 2014On his third full-length studio project, Blitz the Ambassador continues to hone his inimitable diasporic brand of hip-hop. The Ghanaian-born, Brooklyn-based MC has always woven African musical influences and themes into his music, but Afropolitan Dreams is arguably his most cohesive album to date.
Taiye Selasi, author of the excellent novel Ghana Must Go, popularized the term Afropolitan. When Selasi published the "Bye-Bye Babar" essay in 2005, she was referring to young Africans who have lived and worked in various cities around the world: "They belong to no single geography, but feel at home in many." Some African creatives have adopted the term, and on Afropolitan Dreams, Blitz not only applies it to his reality as a well-travelled hip-hop musician but to the alienation and separation the success enforces. For this project, Blitz calls on some notable contributors including Angelique Kidjo ("Call Waiting") and Nneka ("Love On the Run"), whose appearances are featured on tracks that explore the wrenching realities of being separated from loved ones and families that immigrants perpetually face.
On standout track "Make You No Forget," featuring Fela's son, Seun Kuti, Blitz and his band Embassy Ensemble cook up an insatiably catchy blend of hip-hop, highlife and Afrobeat that smudges category boundaries and exemplifies the genre-blending presence throughout the record. It's something Blitz is highly aware of: on "Dollar and A Dream," Blitz rhymes "The block said I wasn't hip-hop enough/ World music had said I wasn't African enough," but on Afropolitan Dreams he turns this perceived disadvantage into a formidable strength. (Jakarta Records)