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A Busy Year for Curren$y and Fiend’s JETS Crew

We begin with your once-every-five-years Fiend update: The ex-No Limit rapper-slash-grizzly-bear-throated drug linguist is still making records—mixtapes, mostly, charming on the whole. If you grew up during the break-up of […]

RAM of Haiti: A Leaf Too Far

It was just a song about a leaf, but at a certain time, I’m told, like seemingly anything in Haiti, it could get you killed. “Fèy” was that kind of […]

Weird Voodoo Tales: Figuring Out Die Antwoord

Lost in the riddle of who South Africa’s most eminent Afrikaner gangsta rappers truly are and aren’t, is the thought of how fraught with imposters and racial shapeshifters entertainment has […]

The Search for Baaba Maal

DAKAR, SENEGAL—I pass my first two weeks in this cosmopolitan desert city looking for Baaba Maal. The world music giant, singer behind nine records sold internationally, UN youth ambassador and […]

Iko Iko: In Search of Jockomo

One afternoon, 1965, the three Louisianan sisters/cousins who gave you “Chapel of Love,” unaware that the studio’s tapes were still rolling, recorded for posterity two minutes of delightful historical intrigue […]

Liz McComb, The Spirit of New Orleans (GVE)

On the eighth track of her third record, ex-blues singer Liz McComb joins in the company of stomping piano chords and squealing electric organs to proclaim she’s “happy, happy working […]

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80, Think Africa (Disorient)

Poor Ziggy Marley, poor Femi Kuti. The two chosen sons of the world music industry spent their youth dutifully catering to the expectations bequeathed to them by their fathers, superstars […]

Native Tongues

Here’s a statistic courtesy of National Geographic: Of the 7,000 languages spoken on Earth, nearly half are facing extinction. Consider the artistic and anthropological repercussions. If 3,500 languages are fading […]

Various Artists, Umalali: The Garifuna Women’s Project (Cumbancha/Stonetree)

As a CD, Umalali: the Garifuna Women’s Project offers the kind of cross-cultural immersion that an mp3 can’t match, a complete package with vivid photography documenting the female Garifuna singers—Central […]