Boomkat Product Review:
Crucial reissue of this 2007 CDR from Niger hip-hop innovators Mamaki Boys, who transpose hypnotic traditional percussion, plasticky ringtone melodies and syncopated flows to forge a completely unique "tradi-moderne" sound. Huge recommendation.
Formed in 2002 by hip-hop fanatics Aziz Tony, Bachou Issouf, and Salif André in Niger's capital city Niamey, Mamaki Boys was a direct response to the genre's surge of popularity in the country. As their peers were content with regurgitating American or French rap modes, Mamaki Boys recorded "Patriote" in an effort to assert themselves as distinctly Nigerien artists. To achieve this, the trio pulled in help from established local musicians to play traditional instruments like the duma, a resonant tuned gourd, and kalangu, an hourglass shaped drum meant to mimic human speech. These sounds were sampled and infused with Mamaki Boys' anti-globalist rhymes and folk-inspired chants.
It's the lilting, neck-snapping rhythms that initially draws you in; each beat is based on a Nigerien traditional dance, and this helps the band center their cultural identity before they've even begun speaking. The words themselves are even more complex: layered takedowns of colonization, demands to take back resources from the globalist powers stripping oil, uranium and minerals and powerful calls to their peers to keep speaking up in the face of adversity. "Patriote" is charged, unique music that links history, politics and culture without losing sight of the dance. Almost fifteen years after it was released, it sounds more relevant than ever - this is protest music!