Sekou Sundiata

Long Story Short

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Before there was Run-D.M.C., before Grandmaster Flash, before Afrika Bambaataa, rap's true infancy existed with a few black radicals like the Watts Prophets and Gil Scott Heron. For artists such as these, flow, beats, or danceability didn't matter as much as the message did. They were political poets who were more effective with a musical background. Sekou Sundiata picks up this torch and carries it on, years after rap has gone the way of MTV, dance clubs, and innocuous million sellers. The latest prodigy of Ani Difranco's Righteous Babe label, longstoryshort is "rhythm 'n' news." Tracks like "Droppin' Revolution" expose the lack of political activism in pop music: "People be droppin' 'revolution' like it was a pick up line/You wouldn't use that word if you knew what it meant." And for all of the naming names and biting liberal commentary, there is a hell of a musical backdrop: Loungy organs, funkified guitars, agile bass, and impeccable drumming create an aura worthy of any blaxploitation film. While the mood is sweet enough to lose the lyricism, Sundiata's brilliantly urgent message will make sure that you listen and think hard about his point of view. No small feat.

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