A new and ambitious EP from west London MC Akala looks at the history of black people’s oppression—and their resistance.
Set alongside a comic book by the same name, it begins with a track about Akala’s struggle to reconcile the contradictions of living in a world where millions starve in order to enrich a small minority. The middle tracks are sensitive accounts of street life.
The standout piece is Chapter Four. It gives a sweeping and breathless history of black people in the space of eight minutes and sets the background for earlier tracks.
Akala’s deep knowledge of anti-colonial movements and black history are on display here, as well as his lyrical dexterity. Powerful passages about the transportation of Africans in slave ships come before lines about Duke Ellington and Mohammed Ali.
The ground the EP covers is remarkable.Perhaps it tries to cram too much into a small format and would benefit from being extended to an LP.
This is a great record from one of the most politically astute artists in Britain.
Available online at akala.moonfruit.com
Akala is on tour in October and November.
For more information and tickets go to bit.ly/2vLjJeI
Ghosts of Grenfell
A new track by rapper Lowkey pays tribute to the dead of the Grenfell Tower fire. Entitled Ghosts of Grenfell, the powerful video includes local activists and residents.
It includes images of the tower and hints at the trauma the fire has had on people in the area.
Lowkey is on tour in September. For tickets and information go to bit.ly/2vWcK27
Mercury Music Prize 2017
This year’s Mercury Music Prize shortlist features a commendable mix of music, from grime to guitar pop.
However, artists with huge commercial success such as Ed Sheeran and the XX rub shoulders with up and coming artists such as Loyle Carner. The judges need to justify the award’s reputation for fostering young talent.