Enterprising, Uprising, Surprising – Afu-Ra
January 16, 2007, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Album Reviews

It’s crazy some of the things that you sleep on. Despite Afu-Ra’s status as a protege of Jeru and production by Primo, Da Beatminerz and Muggs, ‘The Body Of The Life Force’ slipped under my radar for a considerable period of time. I would not say that this is an outstanding album, but it is a demonstration of the fact that hip hop still had something left to give post-millenium as this was released in late 2000. Having said this, perhaps the key to its success is that it sounds like it could have emerged from the scene in the mid-’90s, with instantly identifiable Premier beats and Afu’s rhyme style that covers notions of consciousness as well as more stereotypical braggin’/maintain’ content.

Much in the same way that Jeru was brought up by Gangstarr, Afu’s come-up was aided by his closeness with everybody’s favourite dreaded hip hop MC. Making appearances on both ‘The Sun Rises In The East’ and ‘The Wrath Of The Math’ introduced him into the hip hop conscience, and with 1998’s ‘Whirlwind Thru Cities’ he looked all set up to break into the scene with vigour. The album as a whole rarely reaches the standard set by his first 12” release, but there is enough here to keep your average head interested with a well-timed skip here and there.

‘Defeat’ is a bangin’ track that could not have been produced by anyone but Premier and Afu’s intelligent wordplay twinned with a relatively aggressive delivery suits the production well. ‘D&D Soundclash’ utilises a skanking guitar and roots-style vocal sample paired up with a heavy drum track and is a fine example of how when done well, the two genres can be combined to great effect. ‘Mic Stance’ and ‘Equality’ are two of the other Premier joints on the album and as you would expect are highly enjoyable. I particularly like the Ky-Mani Marley vocal on ‘Equality’ which continues the rap/reggae crossover feel that permeates some of the album with real flava. In fact, given that I feel that these are the strongest cuts on the album, I realise that it is essentially Primo’s presence on ‘The Body Of The Life Force’ that really makes it.

I wouldn’t really call any of the tracks genuine skipping material, but there are a handful of cuts here that when sat next to the stronger selections on the album feel a little weak. Still, this is well worth a purchase and is an album that will have you boppin’ that head and refuting the notion that hip hop died somewhere in the mid-’90s. For that fact alone it is a work that demands coppin’. Copy and paste the link, hit return and enjoy.

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