Various Artists

Yes We Can: Songs About Leaving Africa

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This album is summed up nicely by its title. It's a compilation of tracks by contemporary African artists, all of which address the diaspora/immigrant experience through their lyrics. It's not an album of laments over slavery; it's entirely modern, heavily weighted toward hip-hop and showcasing performances in a variety of languages from a wide range of countries. Some tracks deal with quotidian realities of the immigrant experience, like wiring money home ("Unité 75" by Senegalese hip-hop group Daara J, "15 Minutes Away" by Somali-Canadian rapper K'NAAN), while Rapturous' album-opening "Money Talk" is a howl of pure materialism, talking about coming to the West to make a dollar. Still other tracks address the bias against African travelers from customs and immigration authorities (Modenine's "Green Passport"), or the larger political issues (Wanlov's "Green Card," in which the narrator wins the titular document by marrying a wealthy older woman from Texas, or V.A. Capsi Revolution's more serious "Immigration Clandestine"). Out of the 15 songs on this disc, 12 are previously unreleased, making it a crucial document for fans of African hip-hop, regardless of one's level of interest in the subject matter.

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