We've been waiting so long for this, it's hard to believe it has actually arrived: a truly distinctive hip hop record made by Africans based in the UK.
JJC- Johnny Just Come - is the term given to newcomers from Nigeria by the people who've been here for a while, and Fela Kuti had a song of this title. I don't know much about the rapper JJC except that hes a member of the Big Brovaz posse, and he has his own global hip hop show on the BBC digital radio channel, 1Xtra. What he establishes with this album is that he has wide tastes, a unique vision and a mischievous sense of humour. What more do you need?
"Finally, after many obstacles, it's a miracle, I've made the album now", says JJC in the intro, and he then helpfully lists the ingredients that he has brought together: hip hop, R&B, soca, salsa, garage, mixed with African flavours. And we're off into the exhilarating surging rhythms of the title track "Atide". A salsa piano figure threads through the infectious chorus sung by a female vocal group led by guest vocalist Cherise, as JJC talks his way through the lyric, exhorting his people to come together, to feel good in each other's company. It's an anthem for a very different idea of Nigeria than the one we've been reading about in the papers recently.
"Gbao" admonishes Nigerians in London who mimic Jamaicans, while also making fun of the conmen who come up with schemes for us to share in illegally siphoned government funds. "Malemicita" is a very ingenious salsa-meets-highlife-meets hip hop, with a catchy chorus that could put the song on pop charts worldwide. Where hip hop is so often the vehicle for an egocentric bully, nasty to women and threatening to other men, the good natured banter of this album conveys the opposite spirit of collaboration and inter-dependence.
All in all, a great party album that will play in any situation. --Charlie Gillett
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