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Various Artists Africa Underground Vol 1: Hip-Hop Senegal

DJs from LA to Bergen are championing this essential compilation, which radiates sinister undertones with its minor chords and muddled beats, and whose lyrics are swarming with political and social consciousness. Slam Revolution takes the police to task on "Begguma" while Yat Fu channels "Sunday Bloody Sunday" for its backing instrumentation on "Art Attendan." On the standout track "Shiffai," Shiffai ("the remedy" in Arabic) raps in a mix between Wolof (Senegal's national language) and English, and his laid-back beats and playful lyrics evoke something of a Senegalese Jay-Z. Senegal shows the rest of the world it's time to step up on this aggressively graceful CD.

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