This week, we’re staying #GlobalFromHome by looking at music around the world, from Jamaican dancehall to Nigerian Afrobeat. Here are three things you should listen to, watch and play this week.
“I’m a soldier,” Yellowman declares early in my visit, and repeats shortly before I leave, as if to bookend our conversation with an image he wants to inscribe in my memory. But he need not insist: it was his perseverance, his dogged resistance against obstacle after another, that brought me to his home. In 1984, as he jumped on the global stage, he was diagnosed with cancer and given a few years to live. Corrective surgery took away the tumor and a significant portion of his face, but seemingly none of his wit or fight. He’s still here. Still here: that phrase, said to me with gumption and gratitude, had the ring of a mantra. “I can’t stop. I cannot stop. I don’t see myself stopping because I grow with this in me, music. This talent is not influenced by anybody, this talent handed down to me by the Almighty.” That’s him, assuring me that he’ll never stop performing, reinforcing his belief that music is bound up in his DNA, as if by divine fiat.
DID YOU KNOW
The hip-hop revolution in Japan can be traced to a pivotal event in 1996 known as Thumpin’ Camp. Over 30 artists performed at the invitation of rapper-activist ECD. As the festival kicked off, ECD declared: “I killed J-Rap”—ending the era of pop melodies and bringing in a new harder, “purer” version of hip-hop.