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2013-10-04 19.30.25

Before heading over to Lux Lounge and Timaya late on Friday night, I attended an earlier show at Tropicalia.  That venue has hosted several Internationally Known hip-hop nights over the past year, and Friday’s was the first that I was able to attend.  Sahelblog and a couple of African music watchers from the VOA were also on hand, although the crowd was heartbreakingly small (come on DC!).

I briefly spoke with Magee McIlvaine, one of the creative minds behind Nomadic Wax and the Internationally Known series.  He was incredibly chill and open.  I commend him for the work he is doing to bring African hip-hop to the US and look forward to future events that he brings to the area.

The event featured a  number of performers, representing Senegal, Zimbabwe. Sierra Leone, Mali, and a couple of Western diaspora countries as well.

Waterflow of Senegal opened. Some Senegalese students in the audience were very excited by his presence and I have to admit that he was the highlight of the night for me as well, with a deep-throated delivery that somewhat resembled DMX.

He was followed by Dumi Right,  who I understand is of Zimbabwean descent and grew up in several southern African countries before coming to the US.  Dumi engaged in quite a bit of call and response action and was the primary emcee of the night.

Two emcees received primary billing on the show. The first was Chosan, a Sierra Leonean raised in the UK who has since relocated to the US.  Chosan employed quite a comedic streak between his songs and I found his delivery and reading of the crowd to be quite humorous.  However, he concluded his set with a very poignant track about Trayvon Martin.  Toward the end of the show, he briefly thought that he had lost his Ipod and expressed quite a bit of worry (it was found however).

Chosan

Chosan

Amkoullel, a Malian rapper who is gaining increasing prominence closed out the show.  One of the VOA employees in attendance informed me that he was a trained lawyer.  In any event, he was able to deliver extremely rapid fire lyrics, resembling a Malian Twista.

To conclude the show, all four came back out and delivered verses to the MOP ‘Ante Up’ instrumental.  It was a great show that bridged the divide between Africa/the diaspora and Anglophone/Francophone countries.  I hope that future shows will be better attended, step up DC!

Amkoullel

Amkoullel

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