So you sit down at your table and select your starter but now have a choice to make. Do you go for the standard steak (well done), with peri peri skin fried chips (US citizens: see fries), Caesar salad and a coke with ice? Or do you opt for the pan fried spicy Tilapia & spice fried seaweed with rice, laced with a chilli and peanut sauce (damn I’ve gone all Masterchef on you)? Well if your Blitz the Ambassador and your – to carry through the analogy- cooking up a feast for the ears, then you give your restauranteurs a mix of both with your latest dish, Afropolitan Dreams.
At the heart of all the tasty goings on, is an album founded on Hip Hop’s base elements in all their forms. There are some very recognisable drum patterns, samples and interpolations to be found on tracks like ‘Make You No Forget‘ and ‘Call Waiting‘ featuring the legend that is, Angelique Kidjo. Blitz himself is as dynamic an MC as any connoisseur could want, and he needs to be; because on top of those base ingredients is a smorgasbord of energy, vivaciousness and just a hint of flamboyance.
That multitude of different sounds cascade through every song, and there is a vibrancy that is simply not present on any other Hip Hop album I have listened to in recent years. Take my standout ‘Africa Is The Future’. Opening with a mass of stuttering strings and eerily shrill vocals, the song then breaks out into a cacophony of percussion led melodies, melding together to make a gorgeous fest for the ears, and that formula is maintained throughout.
That precedent is set right from the start with the live boom bap drums and cattle clacks of ‘The Arrival’ and Blitz does not allow it to dwindle. From the uplifting flute and horns of ‘Dollar And A Dream‘ to the hectic stuttering snares, bass line and cow bells (with the rhyme scheme to match) of the brilliant ‘Internationally Known’, there is simply no time to dwell on what you have just heard because the next song offers up the same conundrum. Even by far the albums most contemporary song, ‘Love On The Run‘ has a superb session sound, a thunder of a snare and some lovely tabla (I think) at its climax.
On top of all that, is Blitz global maturity that shows through in both aspects of his talent. His worldly wisdom and socio-political standpoint is frequently pushed to the fore, and his darts are such that they aren’t Unfathomable to anyone tasting the Ambassadors cuisine for the first time. The cataloging of ‘institutionalised’ internal racism from his “supposed” peers (which is disgraceful in itself) while first breaking onto the scene, over the vivid horns of ‘Success’, is a perfect case in point. Even the skits, to an extent, carry a digestible message.
I’m not sure if ‘textures’ is a word I should be applying to a music review, but that is the only word I can think of, to fully give justice to what Blitz has put together. All the instrumentation, no matter how much or how little a particular aspect is used, adds up to arguably the richest, lushest, all consuming album I’ve heard for a quite a while. Packed with the type of song (‘All Around The World’, the already mentioned ‘Internationally known‘) that are simply not being heard or put together in this way on other Hip Hop albums, Blitz has also shown himself to be one of The genre’s best kept production secrets as well a supreme talent with a mic (equipped with the Ghanaian flag) in his hand. I shudder to think what would have become of most of these songs if Blitz was signed to a major label.