Various African Underground Volume 1 – Hip-Hop Senegal

Originally a local cassette-only release entitled Deglul, this compilation of underground hip-hop from Senegal contains a number of songs that shot up the radio charts, and a few that were even integral in removing Diouf’s corrupt regime during Senegal’s first successful democratic election in 2000. Nomadic Wax label head Benny Herson, who discovered the music while writing his college thesis, started recording the many rappers who made the trek to his makeshift studio in Dakar, Senegal. Aside from the language barrier (the majority of the songs are recorded in Wolof, the native tongue of Senegal) and the emphasis on politics, Hip-Hop Senegal could pass for one of many American underground hip-hop compilations. It has even been dubbed "the Soundbombing of Senegalese Hip-Hop,” according to the liner notes, which also help with song explanations. Shiffai hits the jackpot with his smooth, autobiographical "Shiffai” and the soulful tribute to his childhood friend and partner in rhyme Tipse on "Never Forget.” BMG 44 and Slam Revolution (the latter group features founding member Shiffai) both deliver strong tracks with the hyperkinetic "44” and the quirky, political posse cut "Wax Degg,” respectively. And they also come together for "Begumma,” Senegal’s "Fuck tha Police”-style anthem. This first collection of African hip-hop is a nice cross-section of Senegal artists that is sure to please hip-hop fans unafraid of foreign language lyrics. (Nomadic Wax)