Google+ Beathearts: Amerigo Gazaway - Fela Soul


Amerigo Gazaway - Fela Soul

What do you get when you put together afrobeat legend Fela Kuti and rap pioneers De La Soul? You get Fela Soul; a musical tapestry created by Gummy Soul artist Amerigo Gazaway. Fela Soul is an 8-track, 33 minute journey into the world of afrobeat rhythms, funky horn riffs, and classic hip-hop gems. Using dozens of hand-picked samples from the Nigerian instrumentalist and political figure Fela Kuti, and 8 carefully-chosen acapellas from the Native Tongue rap trio De La Soul, Amerigo seamlessly intertwines the two into something completely new and original.

The amazing mash-up tape is available for free over at Amerigos bandcamp!

Words from Amerigo:

Fela Soul
I came up with the concept for this project in fall of 2010. At first is was just an idea, but over time it eventually began to manifest itself into reality. There were certain moments when it felt as if the songs were creating themselves. I wanted to follow through with it not only because it was a good idea, but because of the powerful impact both these artists have had on me and my music. Afrobeat, jazz, funk, and hip-hop are already so interconnected, and I always thought it would be exciting to work on a project that combined all of these elements together.
I now have such a profound appreciation for both Fela Kuti and De La Soul's music. Both of these artists are timeless in their own respect, and their lasting impressions can still be heard in many of the musicians and artists of today. I hope this project will help to bridge the gap between hip-hop and afrobeat, and serve an introduction for hip-hop fans and music fans alike who are unfamiliar with Fela Kuti and/or De La Soul's music.

Fela Kuti
Fela has always had a huge influence one me as an artist and producer. He combines so many different layers, and the grooves are so rich and syncopated that I can just sit back and get lost in them. Fela's influence on hip-hop is also undeniable. As Questlove of The Roots once put it, "It's the story of taking nothing and making into something".
I admire Fela Kuti not only for his music, but for his message. He is a prime example of someone who used their musical platform to evoke response and bring about social change. I feel like this is also a defining characteristic of hip-hop, and that is why it seemed appropriate to combine the two genres together.

De La Soul
De La was way ahead of it's time and still is. From the Prince Paul days all the way to Grind Date, they have continued to evolve while still maintaining the high quality and innovation that makes them unique.
De La Soul was also one of my first introductions to hip-hop in the 90's; In middle school, while all my friends were listening to No Limit Soldiers and Cash Money, I was somewhere bumping De La Soul is Dead and Low End Theory. At first I was just listening to the beats, but as I got older I began to understand even more why i was drawn to their music. It wasn't until I started making my own beats and rapping that I began to truly appreciate what De La was doing.


1. Stakes is High
This is a song that absolutely HAD to be on the project. It took me a minute to track down the acapella, but eventually I found a good copy of the record on Ebay. I was definitely going for a Dilla vibe on this one. It started out as something completely different, but after going back and listening to the original I realized I had to flip it a certain way. I found some drums, slowed the sample down a whole lot, and threw a low-pass filter on it. Boom!
2. Trouble in the Water
This is an old DJ Honda/De La Soul track that I always used to hear my brother and his friends playing back in the day. I'm sure the original can be found on a Dave Parker mix CD somewhere. Great song, great lyrics, and the original beat is sooooo hot. Please listen to it if you get a chance. You'll thank me later. I used some old De La drums on the remix just to give it that dusty breakbeat feel.
3. Ooh feat. Redman
When I was like 12 or 13 my mom took me to NYC for the first time. While we were there, De La Soul happened to be doing an in-store performance/CD signing for their release "Artificial Intelligence" at the Virgin Record Store in Times Square. This track was the lead single and I remember being young as hell and knowing all the words to it. I also remember Plug 1 trippin at how young I was when I came thru to get my CD signed. Definitely had to flip this one for old times sake.
4. Rock Co Kane Flow feat. MF Doom
For this one I was basically trying to recreate the Jake One beat using Fela Kuti samples. I found a cool horn stab and pitched it up and down to make the main melody. Then I added drums, bass, percussion, organ, and some saxophone riffs. This one was kinda difficult, especially because the original song slows down at the end of every 8 bars. And because they rap weird.
5. Itsoweezee
This joint sounds nothing like the original. I went for a reggae vibe just to switch things up. The sample wasn't reggae, but I moved it over so the pianos fell on the 2 instead of the 1 (music nerd isht). Then I found a bassline and some dope ass horns and it was on. Itsoweezee!
6. Interlude
Just a cool little loop I made using the "Water No Get Enemy" sample. Didn't end up using for anything so I threw it in extra.
7. Much More
These are the same drums Mos Def used for the intro to "Black on Both Sides". I always thought that shit was hot, so I was super excited when I found them. I also used some of the horn solo from the De La track "I Be Blowin". Sounds nothing like the Preemo version, but that's ok : )
8. Breakadawn
Classic track. I really wanted to remix at least one old school De La joint, and I'm glad it was this one. Random hip-hop trivia: this Fela sample was used for the last track on Common's "Like Water for Chocolate".
9. Feel Good Inc.
As if this song wasn't strange enough already! Found these drums on a Fela Kuti/Billie Jean mashup by Afrodisiac Soundsystem. Crazy story huh?

1 reactions:

Anonymous said...

amazing project!!!....very creative, amerigo gazaway should be commended for such great work. Thank you for giving the world a special gift.