Pasa Tempos LargeUp Mix Series Vol. 1: Afro Soca Mixed by DJ JamCentral and Adia Victoria’s Beyond the Bloodhounds
LargeUp Mix Series Vol. 1: Afro Soca Mixed By DJ Jam Central (OkayAfrica) Supposedly, “Afro Soca” is a term coined by original Fela! cast member Shakira Marshall, who appears on the cover of this pleasantly raucous mixtape. In this genre, for the most part, the beats are pure West African pop, while the patois-steeped vocals, steel drums, and dancehall-inflected synths come to us straight from the Caribbean. For newcomers, this mixtape includes the hit “Ojuelegba,” the brilliant tri-national collaboration between Wizkid (Nigeria), Skepta (UK), and Drake (Canada) that borrows from British grime and American hip-hop while remaining essentially a Nigerian romantic coo in both style and substance. Other standouts here include Machel Montano and Kerwin Du Bois performing a reggae-reworking of Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s “Possessed.” Davido, an Atlanta-born Nigerian vocalist who has found widespread success on three different continents, collaborates with South African experimentalists Mafikizolo on “Tchelete (Goodlife)” to create a sensual, soca-based ballad. It’s not an exact fusion. Most of the heavyweight tracks sound like they were cooked up in Lagos and Johannesburg and sent to producers in Port of Spain for some soca sonic add-ins. But it’s an excellent guide to the new micro-genre that is sweeping dance clubs and ever so slowly trickling its way into mainstream American Top 40. — Casey Sanchez
ADIA VICTORIA Beyond the Bloodhounds (Canvasback/ Atlantic) From Rihanna’s flirtation with country music on “FourFiveSeconds” and “Higher” to the Drake-like, hip-hop infused rhymes emerging from bro-country star Sam Hunt, it’s clear that soul-steeped country infusions are having a moment in a way we have not seen since Ray Charles released Modern Sounds in
Country and Western Music in 1962. Enter Adia Victoria. With a babydoll punk caterwaul and country-blues guitar licks, Victoria draws on the South’s twin musical traditions to deliver a raw, densely lyrical album that reckons with the South Carolina native’s own conflicted feelings about her birthplace. “I don’t know nothing about Southern belles/ But I can tell you something about Southern hell,” she laments on “Stuck in the South.” Like most first albums, there are some derivative detours — “Mortimer’s Blues” is pure Moon Pix-era Cat Power. (That’s no insult.) She’s clearly channeling PJ Harvey on the epic “Sea of Sand,” albeit with blood-curdling lyrics that wonder about how we survive everything from personal breakdowns to racial violence. Is this goth country, as some hashtagcrazed reviewers have called it? Nah. Like Dusty Springfield or Shemekia Copeland, Victoria’s a genre-hopping chanteuse who, for now at least, has jump-started her artistic ambition by crossing the wires between country and soul, funk and punk. — C.S.