February 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Asheru – Sleepless in Soweto

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Asheru
Sleepless in Soweto
Guerrilla Arts Ink
Street: 11.12.13
Asheru = Fela Kuti + Common
Asheru delivers his vision of global African unity in Sleepless in Soweto, and if it weren’t for the blending of rapid-fire rhymes combined with elements of Afro-beat and American hip-hop, I would have been bored by the amount of R&B present in this album. “Simphiwe’s Theme” opens the album with a message of progress and enlightenment and speaks of this realization after Asheru’s time spent in Africa. With a rhyme style reminiscent of Soup from Jurassic 5, Asheru slams out “It’s a struggle for the progress, victory’s in the process/Gonna make change systemic like the real blackademic.” “Sleepless,” rich with implications of spiritual awakening, uses a complicated but ear-pleasing set of homographs: “The artist might use all his might to blow you all away.” The beat in “Guateng” draws on Asheru’s hip-hop roots in ’90s rappers like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, though hard-hitting “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” saved the album for me with its energetic, quick rhymes. –D. Russell
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