||The trans-Atlantic experience is one that has come to define the American
landscape for over 500 years. Immigrants -of their own volition or by forcemade
the arduous trek across the water with a one-way ticket and little
thought given as to whether or not they would return to the land of their
families, their ancestors and their roots. However, social, political and
cultural movements began to transverse the Atlantic as more and more
people started to develop awareness and identity with the lands they were
several generations removed.
Nowhere was this more apparent than on the continent of Africa. Actors
and activists began to influence many of these newly independent nations
in a reciprocal manner, giving back to the land of their forefathers with
independent philosophies standing in the face of injustice. Music played a
crucial role in disseminating these ideas across the ocean and connected
people like no other medium. Artists like Paul Robeson, Harry Belafonte,
and Miriam Makeba challenged the political and social tyrannies of South
Africa and the United States by risking their careers as well as their lives
to better those of the oppressed, the marginalized majority suffering and
struggling, but still listening and using their music as a soothing balm
from life’s travails.
Hip Hop has since provided a common thread spanning the continents
communicating by way of this “universal language.” Kev Brown has
continued this legacy with his return to Africa –specifically South Africa on
this visit- for a second time and his music, as evidenced from its inception,
embodies the foundation of African music since time began: drums. The
“boom-bap” ethos, if you will, runs heavy and it undergirds all of his music
connecting it back to a time when the drum was the only instrument, the
first instrument. This trip with DJ Roddy Rod began with the best intentions
of developing an entire project of the two producers concocting beats and
songs derived solely from South African artists.
As good ideas give way to the reality of hectic schedules, Kev strove to give
fans a musical taste of his life-changing experience on African soil. For the
aptly-named “Makeba,” the producer/MC chopped up a little something he
copped at a local record store, programmed the drums and captured a
soulful feel that fans around the world will surely gravitate to. The guitar
plucks and drums are simply infectious!
The flip side “Party People Dedication” evokes the emotion of looking at a
citizenry in a foreign land whom you know neither name nor background,
but connect with nonetheless. Language, ethnicity, nor location can
separate that bond and the emotive piano chords only reinforce this fact.
Two songs cannot detail an entire trip, but they can bring you into the
artist’s world, allowing the listener to vicariously absorb the experience.
Equipped with his portable microphone and MPC 2500, Kev Brown invites
you to take a ride with him on one of his sonic excursions. The producer
from Landover, Maryland shares his adventure as someone fortunate to get
that round-trip ticket back across the Atlantic and share his music with a
continent that inadvertently birthed his. The drums are slowly rumbling on
the horizon and this time they are venturing from west to east, homeward