CIAfrica: DJ /rupture Presents CIAfrica

Internationally renowned DJ/producer/music writer Jace Clayton, aka DJ /rupture, offers his latest mix album, presenting Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire's hip-hop crew CIAfrica.


DJ Rupture Presents: CIAfrica

Label: Dutty Artz
US Release Date: 2010-08-24
UK Release Date: 2010-08-24

What do you think about when you think about Africa? What do you hear when you listen to Africa? And what does one write about when they write about Africa? These questions are important questions. Single dimensions are rampant in many visions of Africa, particularly concerning the political and economic instability of many African nations. However, these common struggles don’t equate singular cultural expressions, an easy lens to pick up when few alternatives are offered.

African musics vary immensely, though what is often brought out of the continent is a window of African music that shines with a pop brightness most easily digestible by short attention spans and a low tolerance for abrasion. African music is Amadou & Mariam, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Fela Kuti, Ali Farka Toure, and all those groups Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel worked with, whatever their names are. These artists are legendary and important, however is that what Africa listens to? No. At least, not anymore. Since hip-hop’s rise to global prominence, most major urban centers in Africa --Nairobi, Abuja, Kampala, Abidjan -- listen to rap music. 2pac, Biggie, and Jay-Z.

Dutty Artz co-founder DJ /rupture (Matt Shadetek is the 2nd half) helms the mixing in this introduction to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivore’s rap group CIAfrica, made up of producer Green Dog (Amadou Komara) and a host of rappers like Manusa, Barboza, and Prince Abraham. There could hardly be a better candidate to create a path through their music, as /rupture is best known for mixtapes like Gold Teeth Thief, where he fused the abrasiveness of breakcore and noise with American rap/R&B, dancehall, and Middle Eastern rai, offering a worldview that motioned for cultural/musical intersection while never claiming that it was as easy as it sounds.

CIAfrica are one of the few hip-hop projects to coalesce on the African continent that provide an evocative portrayal of political turmoil, cynicism, and outrage. Often filled with the chaos of compressed snares and drums, earth-shaking bass, and lyrical ferocity, CIAfrica is the raw underbelly of West African urbanity, where political frustration and economic unrest are channeled through the global music expressions of the colonized (dancehall, reggae, hip-hop).

The album opens ominously with “Negro Politicien V.I”, where the fire and quickness of Barboza’s delivery is at nice odds with the industrial dancehall production of Green Dog; fluidity of expression amidst gnarled soundscapes. Barboza stands out as a particular highlight amongst the various MCs featured on the record, his voice a malignant, smoky rasp that is well-matched to many of the broken beats he raps over. And when Green Dog adds the occasional melody, often a terrifying high-pitched synth that could either be a war-horn from a post-apocalyptic future world or an ancient, digitized organ, Barboza and his cohorts seem lifted out of the bass-muck.

Other highlights include Manusa’s “J’Fuck”, a piece of soap-box political rap that needs no translation -- all the claims and sonic-clamor are palpable enough. A final sign of DJ /rupture’s curatorial expertise becomes apparent with two injections, each wonderful moments of musical meditation when the mix changes course. Once, early in the mix, /rupture adds a freestyle rap called “Cash” from the one female member of the CIAfrica crew, Nasty, who sounds both like a revelation and right at home among the brashness of the album's beats and bellows. The other great editorial move from /rupture comes with the only instrumental in the mix, called “Epikstar Riddim”, which threads ragga vocal familiarities like “Rub-a-dub” over dubstep-style bass rumbles and a whip-cracking hip-hop snare from the future.

Traditional West African music is nowhere to be seen here, and why does it have to be? High-life rarely seems to sound like it came from the lows of West African urban life, and with the prideful, power-hungry energy of rap, dancehall and UK grime at CIAfrica’s backs, hope can be gleaned from honesty, harrowing high-hats, and the healing power of bass.





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.