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Rap Group Da Brains Set to Release Fifth Album

204x_mg_pwobg_zz41As the band’s members have matured their sound has evolved. Aside from the standard party tracks Da Brains also tackles politics, poverty, peace and African unity — issues that originally led the group to hip hop.

Senegal’s poor economic conditions have fueled frustration with the government and many people find hip hop to be an enjoyable outlet for their grievances.
The group’s evolution and maturity can be heard on its just-completed fifth album, “Welcome to Senegal.” It features the instant classic “Welcome to Senegal,” an upbeat track that celebrates the culture and people of one of Africa’s most culturally vibrant countries. The video for the song, which was shot in and around Dakar, can already be found on YouTube.

The mellow track “Nice” carries the group’s signature lyrical style and a chorus of children singing the hook, a la Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life.” ,Two other tracks “Sicap,” an homage to the group’s Dakar neighborhood, and “Niew Len,” featuring French rapper Sefyu are two of the more classic hardcore hip hop tracks on the album. The band features fierce lyrics over strong, bass pounding beats. While many of the songs on the new CD have elements of different styles, the track “Ladies” has a strong reggae vibe and features the melodic vocals of group member Bakhaw.

While speaking with the members of Da Brains in Dakar it was clear they have a love of not just hip hop, but all music. They also have a respect for Senegal’s hip hop culture. Djiby spoke of the overall positive nature of Senegalese hip hop. He said although he respects American rap, he thinks that Senegalese rap lacks much of the drama and beef that is often found in the American rap scene. Djiby said Americans, on the other hand, generally are unfamiliar with African hip hop, unlike European hip hop fans.

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The members of Da Brains are brothers. including MCs Djiby and Bakhaw. They bring different personalities and styles to the group. Their roots are in Senegalese mbalax music but beyond that the difference is clear. Djiby is more laid back and serious while Djiby’s style and strong presence is classic hip hop. One of the rappers in the United States that Djiby respects is Ludacris. Bakhaw, with his signature dreadlocks, represents the blending of hip hop and reggae. Bakhaw is featured vocally on many of the group’s reggae inspired tracks. Some of the artists Bakhaw listens to are Akon, Jay Z, Buju Banton and 2Face Idibia.

Da Brains is a well respected group in Senegal with a strong fan base at home and in Europe. While in Senegal group members remain a part of the neighborhood they grew up in. During a recent interview, band members often stopped to speak to fans and friends and seemed to love the community as much as the community loved them. With its fifth album completed and set to release after Ramadan the group is looking forward to working on future projects. For now their videos and music can be found on YouTube and their MySpace page.

Credit: modernghana.com

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