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Blitz an ambassador for political hip hop

By: 
D'Arcy Briggs

May 2, 2012

Blitz the Ambassador‘s album Native Sun Reviewed by D’Arcy Briggs

Popular media has not been kind to hip-hop. What started as a cultural movement of urban and racialized youth has been put into a genre which has come to emblematize excess and commodity fetishism. Blitz the Ambassador is just one of the many artists who stays true to the original messages of hip-hop and uses his music to comment on contemporary political struggles. He is a Ghanaian-born and Brooklyn-based hip-hop artist who has already made quite a name for himself. His music is driven by live instrumentation which blends jazz, afrobeat, and funk together with hip-hop and traditional African rhythms.

His last album was titled Native Sun and was released in 2011. It was also
produced as a short-film. The film was made in Ghana and maps the transformation of a young boy from marginal village orphan to master of his destiny, with a political awareness rarely seen in music videos today. His lyrics are also written and performed with a passionate and strong understanding of the political world today.

The track Dear Africa is a letter written to a long-lost friend. The song goes “Swiss bank accounts, they hiding all your funds/ Instead of education they
patiently give the children guns/ So while I write you this letter, I need some
clarity/ People think that Africa’s synonymous to charity…”

Another track titled Free Your Mind has Blitz singing “From the World Bank, it goes to the IMF/ And the puppet politicians are supporting their policies / Selling out their own people to the government overseas / So whatever they do, we do / Whatever they think, we think / It’s so insane / How the richest continent got most of the poor people / They pillage us and wonder why we are not equal”

There seem to be no shortage of viral videos being thrown around the internet asking us to send money to various charitable groups (some of them funding corrupt militaries and US imperialism). However, Blitz gives us a look back at the political roots of hip-hop and Africa’s long colonial history.

Blitz is not the only hip-hop artist making these political demands, but it is a voice often muffled by popular media. We should encourage artists who are asking the tough questions and looking back to history as we search for art and politics that make the demand: people before profits.

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