Album: Emmanuel Jal, Warchild (Sonic 360)

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The Independent Culture

There's a springiness to the beats and an optimistic vibe to the tunes on this Sudanese, ex-child soldier's second album. But much as it's refreshing to hear a hip-hop artist – wherever they might be from – rapping about peace, equality, and beauty, Emmanuel doesn't have the songwriting skills or the breathtaking lyrical sophistication of Somalia's K'naan whom, idealistically and biographically, he is most comparable with.

Also, I sometimes wonder why African hip-hoppers don't make more use of the myriad polyrhythms that are part of their musical heritage. But what do I know?