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Sankofa The Tortoise Hustle ObeseAmerica • 2007

Latest album from the man who came from Down Under years ago and has now settled in Fort Wayne ('I call Fort Wayne my home in damn near every song'). Where? Fort Wayne, that’s in Indiana…Hoosier State, The Komets, anyone? However, no matter the place, no matter where he’s from, 'The Tortoise Hustle' is the album you need in your boombox (that’ll be iPod for most of you) right now. Not only material that will turn James Brown fans into hip-hop adepts and a patriotist into a sceptic leftist ('Obese America where war is never enough') but an album for a wide range of rap fans across the world, whether they are from Kuala Lumpur or Snaaskerke.

'The Tortoise Hustle' has Sankofa’s wit, his unexpectedly revealing and brutally honest self-and world-portraying lyrics, while at the same time, he’s sharing his love for Adidas ('Speaking In Tongues') and Big Daddy Kane ('The Zoom Zip') with the listener. In the first song, he’s shouting 'you’re not a listener, your just a customer', a chorus clearly not aimed at the listeners of this album, but at commercial radio-junks. An agitating funk beat lays underneath it all, fixed by El Keter, the one who is mostly known as founder of the imageyenation website (for which Kofa is also a contributor), pulling out his best production work, reminding mostly of Ant’s (of Atmosphere) latest creations. Combining uplifting beats with melancholic funk joints, he’s able to keep up the pace where necessary while with other beats he tosses up a horroresque, even morbid, mood to darker themes such as war pain ('They All Die') and young girls being exploited ('Shiny'). The dark side of the album is furthermore represented by the song 'Section8', produced by Mic.Dagger, featuring a list of (un)known underground heroes such as Jon?Doe, AthenA, Ryan Officer, Nick Sweepah, Adru the Misphit, RhymeWise37 and iCon The Mic King.

At the end of the day we keep rewinding to the little master pieces as there are 'Hoping', a magnificent ode to his hometown, brother and especially mother, laced with a superb aching flute loop. On a more relaxed vibe is the title track with Sankofa joyfully (don’t take that too literally) rhyming over a bumpy bass line ('I’m waiting to win the lotto with that ticket I never purchase, bringing heart to the beat, speak stronger than a stack of curses, the laughter urges me to work harder, writing to beats') or '32106', the love-of-my-life song of the album ('You went to 6 stores to find my brand of toothpicks'), or 'Taken', where he travels into the past to depict his urge to rap and how he used to listen to his favourite music aka hip-hop ('Call me slightly nuts, maybe escapist, the kid with his trachea traded for an insane machine, that would spit raps at the wick wack in their Mabelline, The Flavor Unit, before Channel Live became wack, Black Sheep number nine, goosebumps, the train track') The album ends with the magnificent 'Crease' holding an electric guitar whining and giving thanks to the people who support(ed) his career ('Still heating up after all of these years, success and I'm calling it weird, bald with a beard, scalding the ears of those cool enough to show the support, and no fragile additives, just me, formerly invisible new statuses, feeling strange when the folks call me by my rap name').

The last song exemplifies the trials and tribulations he has tackled in his career, now feeling relieved and rapping like he has never rapped before. Freely talking about whatever he likes to talk about, with clever lyrics from the mind, being carried by an excellent soundscape, Sankofa has come to a level that transcends his earlier work with more bravura, venom, finesse and technique than ever before. Great content wrapped in a great shape, it’ll make the talent scouts at Rhymesayers nervous that they looked over this Fort Wanye warrior. Keep an (imag)eye out for this one! Obeseamerica.com!


POSTED ON 10|06|2007 by cpf

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