June 21, 2006


Ever since we started introducing our little blog on the myspace website, we get a lot of, daily, invitations from bands that like to be added as our friend. A lot of them get turned down, simply because they don't qualify as "Lock it Down" proof. Yes sir, we're a tough nut to crack.

But every once in a while a band does get through and make it onto our list of friends (cocky, eh?), and sometimes one of the groups even succeed in impressing us just a "little" bit more than the average band that does so. Prince Wadada was the first, but we invited him after we heard his tracks. So that makes AIFF the second, but actually the first, "ultra impressive" find since we didn't know they existed untill they told us so.

A quick glance over the band members of this afrobeat group tells us there are two members of the dutch groove combo "Soulsnatchers" involved in this project, but the two don't sound alike. Whereas the Soulsnatchers indulge on the heavy, rambling "deep funk" sound, AIFF takes it easier, make the whole lot sound jazzier and therefore more groovy and a hell of a lot more sophisticated. Sure, there are the odd Fela Kuti influenced parts, but what makes AIFF more favourable than all the other afrobeat combo's out there is their sound. It's more "acid jazz with an afrobeat touch" than the common "afrobeat with a bit o' jazz" style we hear so often. And that make 'em...alright, alright... not unique, but shure 'nuff exciting since we haven't heard a decent acid jazz record in an updated formula for quite some time now and got a bit bored with all the Fela clones out there. AIFF seems to have found a way to incorporate both styles, and a bit more, into a sound of their own and that is quite an achievement by itself.

To put it in their own words: "it's only a matter of time before our afrovirus will infect you."

"Afrovirus"....... Amen to that!

check here

June 15, 2006


Jamaican music lost another of its stalwarts on Saturday night when Ruddy Thomas collapsed on stage while performing as part of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission show in Portland.

"He was performing his hit song "Loving Pauper" and in the middle of the song he collapsed," Boris Gardiner, Thomas' friend of many years and himself a veteran musician, told the Jamaican Observer saturday night.

Read more here

June 07, 2006


It's good to know that in times like these, wherein the majority of producers and fans of reggae music solely seem to focus on roots reggae or fierce dancehall tracks, there are still some people out there with a love for both lovers and rootsreggae. Former Wizkidz production member, Oxman, is one of them. This SoulJazz Soundsystem mc already showed his love for loversrock by compiling the beautifull Studio One Lovers cd on SoulJazz Records, but now takes it a step further on his new imprint: Dill-Ox international. His first riddim, Lolo Bell, proves to be rough enough for the roots-reggae adepts with its fat, thick bassline and heavy one-drop, but by ensuring his riddim was topped by none other then Chezidek, Daville and JanetLee Davis, Oxman created loversrock in a 2006 stylee: an updated, rougher edged, yet comfortable familiar sound that is more than welcome. This music somehow feels like a homecoming party: long gone, but good to be back. Being a fan of both loversrock as well as rootsreggae, Oxman also recorded Prince Malachi and Mark Wonder, who ride the riddim in a more rough 'n tough, conscious roots kinda way.
The combination of the two styles works splendid and make a set of "Lola Bell" 7"s very worthwile to purchase. We sure hope to hear more of this promising new label in the future.

Check out the "lola bell" lovers side with these artists riding it:

Daville - A good woman

Chezidek - Gwaan so gwaan so

Janetlee Davis - My everything

June 05, 2006


For those that liked the first part of African Music On The Rise: here are three more interesting artists. In the meantime we'll just keep on searching and who knows, maybe we'll present part 3 in the near future.

Prince Wadada
Prince Wadada, a reggae dancehall artist born in Angola but currently residing in Portugal, already shared the stage with musicians like Damian Marley, Gentleman, Patrice, Lee Perry & Apha Blondy. Adding to his career are participations with Germaican records and Digitaldubs Sound System. The basics rights of the people are the main focus of attention in his work. His discography already shows three albums recorded which are all sung in either Portugese or Angolian dialect.

We are deeply in love with: "Aldeia" (featuring Bezegol)
Check sound here

Zolile Matikinca aka Zoro was born in the township of Guguletu outside Cape Town, South Africa. The apartheid regime labeled his adress Native Yard 9. Being the first-born son in a musical family, music came natural. At the age of six he started singing in choirs, but kept listening to his uncles banned reggae collection.
In 1989 Zoro was shot by a policeman, when he tried to stop the police from hitting a woman. This paralyzed him from the waist and down. Through determination and faith, a year later, he finally got the strength to leave the wheelchair and walk again. Through the nineties Zoro established himself as a major reggae voice in the Cape Province. Together with the Chronic Clan he created a trademark sound of conscious dancehall and R&B from his studio in Guguletu.

We are so into: "Azania"
Check sound here

Wagëblë was formed in 1997 in Thiraroye, one of the most unfavourable suburbs in Dakar. The rappers Eyewitness, Waterflow and Begun met at various battles in Dakar and quickly understood that they had the same point of view on music, life and the problems Senegal was facing. The group managed to record one track for a senegalese compilation before Begun left the group in 2002, to persue a high school education in the United States. Back in Dakar, Eyewitness and Waterflow met up with Fred Russel, a norwegian talent scout looking for artists for potential projects. They decided to record an album together with norwegian producers Rumblin and Crizmo, resulting in their debut ”Wagëb’ Rap New Generation”, released in Senegal in 2003.
In December 2004, their follow up album was recorded in the house of Eyewitness, with equipment brought over from Norway. The record is dedicated to their motherland, Senegal, and is a snapshot of the daily life of the majority of it’s population.

We prefer the track "Senegal"
Check sound here

June 03, 2006


After two great compilations on African music focussing on the nowadays vibes instead of looking back, both African Rebel as Lagos Stori Plenti were good for a very positive shout-out on this blog, we figured it's also time for Lock it Down to look ahead. So instead of reviewing an album already released, we now bring you an update of artists that should fit perfectly well on a future comp. Trust us, if these tracks were to be released on a compilation, it would be a killer. For the lazy ones amongst you: stop reading, because this topic involves a lot of forwarding, a lot of reading and a lot of listening. Cha, what else is new...

check 'em out:

Fafadi was born in June 1975 in Ziguinchor, a town in Senegal’s southern region of Casamance. At nine years old, Fafadi started singing with his family, who were inspired by the music of Toure Kunda, a traditional Senegalese musician also from Casamance. Added to this was the influence of Reggae from Gambia. These two music styles combined to create Fafadis unique musical style. From 2000 to 2004, Fafadi was featured on many albums including Toure Kunda, Bideew Bou Bess, Bibson, and Samuel Winchester, a Jamaican man based in Senegal. In Novemeber 2004, Fafadi released his first album, Vitamine A, which focused on the topics of love, peace and Allah.

We prefer the track "Siga."
check sound here

Ahlou Bi
Ahlou Bi is a hip-hop, dancehall duo founded by Sang B and Ras Narone, formed in 1993 in Pikine, a suburb of Dakar, Senegal. The focus of their message is on the injustices of discrimination, the power of God, and love for all humans. While the majority of youth in Senegal gravitate towards hip-hop music, African Akhlou B broke away from this trend to find a style that would stand out and spread their message. Dancehall reggae became their primary sound, but to it they added some real African flavours. A vibrant mix of singing and toasting.

We prefer the track "Drugsida."
check sound here

Meta & The corner stone
Meta, born in Senegal, reggae artist and also a very skilled hip hop artist, moved to the U. S. in the spring of 2000, residing in Detroit. Meta's powerful writing and his deep singing voice have gained him great respect and recognition both nationally and internationally. Meta speaks 7 languages fluently and has been very innovative in creating new ways of communicating by combining two or more languages together thus creating his own "patoie". When Meta first began performing on the streets and stages of Dakar, many people were very resistant to this style of music along with the political content of his lyrics. In the year 2000, when Meta released his 1st album, "Yalla Suuren" (God Bless) the government tried to ban the album release. Despite the opposition Meta succeeded. Meta since then has performed on many stages, along with numerous interviews for television shows, radio shows and newspaper media in Africa, France and the U.S.

We prefer the track "Struggle" (familiar riddim, ain't it?)
check sound here

Gokh-bi System, aka GBS A, was formated in 1994 with three members: Mamdou Ndiaye, Pape Bathie Pouye and Diasse Pouye, who all grew up in the same neighborhood, or to be more exact: practically in the same house. The original sound of the group was based on rap backed by synthetic beats. Two years later, the group fused a traditional sound with the rap through the music of the ekonting, played by Sana Ndiaye, and traditional drums, played by Backa Niang. Not long after, the group invited Abdou Sarr to bring an additional energy to the music through local dance styles. GBS has been performing internationally since 1999, in Senegal, Guinea, Gambia, and the United States. Currently, GBS is the most well known African hip-hop group in the United States, the result of 8 US tours in 22 states in five years.

We prefer the track "Unity Laobe"
check sound here

As Malick
As Malick El Hadji Malick Mbaye, aka As Malick, is a young artist who grew up in HLM de la Gueule Tapee. In 1993, As Malick started his first musical group, TMT, with neighbourhood friends in the suburb of Thiaroye/Pikine. Later in 1993 he joined another band in the same neighborhood called Gestu Gui. In 1998, As Malick decided to embark on a solo career. By the year 2000, he had joined up with two other R&B singers, Seydiman and Carlou D to form the group Ska Blue. It was working with Ska Blue that broadcast As Malick’s beautiful R&B and Reggae voice across Senegal. This recognition came without having a record on the market, but through being featured on numerous other artists’ albums. Many of the songs that featured As Malick were hit singles in Senegal. In 2003, As Malick recorded his first hit single entitled "Yaye Bagn." In 2004, As Malick released his long awaited first solo album: Benene Vibes.

We prefer the track "Number One"
check sound here

Wa Flash
A group of friends who share a passion for music, the members of Waflash live in a town called Thies, 60 miles east of Dakar.In 1988,Senegal experienced a crisis in which students went on strike to demand better materials for their studies. As a result, many students did not go to school that year. This became an opportunity for the members of Waflash to focus their attention on music. As a result, in 1990, Waflash completed their first recording. The music of Waflash is a mixture of African, European and Asian music styles that speaks to the themes of love, environment, women, and a united Africa.

We prefer the track "Linke Diyo"
check sound here

For now, we'll leave it at that. This list doesn't yet make up a complete compilation album, merely a good start, but hey: undiscovered artists are hard to find! Recommendations are, ofcourse, always welcome. In the meantime make sure you are on the lookout for tracks of Awadi (no website, no myspace, no record: but killer group!) who made a crucial appearance on the "roll back malaria" dvd.