Blitz the Ambassador
A blindingly bright clarity drives Blitz the Ambassador. With a spot-on sense of flow, he name-checks Basquiat and Lumumba, evokes lovelorn sighs on Accra buses, émigré alienation, history’s shadows. All set to swirls of brass, distorted guitars, and the crackle and pop of old amplifiers.
With a lightning-fast mind, the political boldness of Chuck D, and the sixth groove sense of Fela Kuti, the Ghanaian-born, New York-based MC, composer, and producer unleashes psychedelic Afrobeat colors and triple-time rhymes on Native Sun (Embassy MVMT; May 3, 2011). The album was sparked in Accra yet forged in the African diaspora.
Native Sun—as both musical journey and a striking short film—unfolds from a kaleidoscope of perspectives, with help from a Rwandan sweet soul singer (Corneille on the track “Best I Can”), from sleek Francophone sirens (Les Nubians on “Dear Africa”) and from Congolese and Brazilian samba-loving MCs (Baloji and BNegão on “Wahala”). Blitz even got a boost—including an invite to play at a packed Central Park SummerStage show—from Public Enemy’s Afrocentric thinker and rapper Chuck D himself (whose shout outs grace “Oracle”).
“Native Sun the album is a journey backwards, back through hip hop, the Caribbean soundsystem culture that preceded it, back to its African roots, with the final kora,” notes Blitz. “The film looks forward, to what could be. Both are about the longing for home we feel in the diaspora, and about letting go of old notions and embracing new ideas. The sound in itself speaks to that.”