Billboard topping Ghana-born producer, Eric ‘Coptic’ Matlock has started working on his dream project to bring African and American hip hop together. The producer who brought us hits like Diddy’s ‘I Need A Girl’ and several others feels that American hip hop fans need to hear music that has come from and is still coming from Africa.
Although it has been a dream of his to do this for so many years now, he has had to take the recording slowly because there is no budget yet and most dope rappers don't rhyme for free.
Although the project is still in the preparatory stage, Coptic has already recorded some songs including: "Close to My Roots" Feat Memphis Bleek & David Mensah; "This DJ" by Smiff-n-Wessun & BuckSHot; and "Streets of Africa" with Gibril Da African & M1 of Dead Prez. He is also doing records like "Mighty Sahara", which is a sample of the Hugh Masekela.
“I keep him in the hook and bridge singing about Africa, and as of now I have the African hip hop group Zimbabwe Legit on there. I also have another song called "Fe Fe", which is a Fela sample and I also keep him in the chorus and bridge parts. Making records like these will expose American hip hop fans to great African music,” comments Coptic on his decision to include music from such great African icons on the project.
The album, tentatively titled ‘Black Star Line’ will also feature collaborations between the hottest rappers and singers from all over Africa and American rappers. One of such group of rappers is the American hiphop duo Smif-n-Wessun consisting of members Tek Elameen and Steele General. The duo debuted on Black Moon's 1993 album ‘Enta da Stage’, appearing on the tracks "Black Smif-n-Wessun" and "U Da Man". They released their first single "Bucktown" b/w "Let's Git It On" in early 1994. "Bucktown" became an underground smash, and gave the group considerable hype for their debut album, ‘Dah Shinin', released in January 1995. The album debuted in the top 5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and went on to sell over 300,000 copies in the United States.
They appeared on a number of compilation albums over the next few years, including Soundbombing 2, Lyricist Lounge 2, Game Over and Soundbombing III. In September 2005, they returned with the album ‘Smif 'n' Wessun: Reloaded’. The album received good reviews, and sold around 35,000-40,000 copies in the United States. Their fourth album, ‘Smif-N-Wessun: The Album’, was released on October 23, 2007.
Some of their past records were produced by Coptic and they are excited to work with him again on this project. They have shared some views on African music and the project in general: “I feel like African music is the mother of all music and it is an honour to work with African artists. It is important that we bring the culture 360 degrees; this is how we communicate and begin to get back in touch with our heritage. Hip hop itself is ever growing and it impacts our youth everyday for it is the voice of the voiceless and to witness it let alone be a part of it is phenomenal,” comments Steele.
“My opinion of African music is basically the same way we feel about all music, we love it. We don't like to separate music as long as it good music we embrace it. It is an honour and pleasure to be involved in this project with artist from Africa. It is something different for us, plus we get to work wit our big homie Coptic again. We are all hoping that this album would bring the worlds even closer together. Music builds and destroys, so once you tear down and eliminate all the negative, you can rebuild with positive energy,”comments Tek.
Although both of the have never been to Africa they are looking forward to visit and they hope that Coptic’s project would pave the way. Visit www.Bucktownusa.com and www.24ksmoke.com to find out more about Smif-n-Wessun.
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