Sho Baraka - The Narrative Vol 2: Pianos & Politics

Published Thursday 22nd February 2018
Sho Baraka - The Narrative Vol 2: Pianos & Politics
Sho Baraka - The Narrative Vol 2: Pianos & Politics

STYLE: Hip-Hop
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 166951-26310
LABEL: Humble Beast
FORMAT: Digital Only Album

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

Back in 2016, Tony Cummings suggested in his Cross Rhythms feature on Sho Baraka that the Canada-born, California-raised rapper was no ordinary hip-hop artist and this latest EP helps back up that claim. As per the subtitle of this six-track offering, this is a politically-charged affair with Baraka tackling social injustices and misconceptions - mostly in relation to the American system - with a dignified and righteous anger. Baraka's fluid and intelligent wordplay seems to get right into the corners of thorny issues such as media-fed misinformation ("Pedantic") and the state's reaction to poverty, racial tension and street violence ("Maybe Both") all the while dropping in hints that a relationship with his Lord and Saviour is the only way forward. Elsewhere, the autobiographical "Piano Bars" is an assertive and assured self portrait of who Baraka the believer is whilst the simply stunning "Pluralism" is a stark and timely reminder that having a different point of view from someone doesn't make them your enemy with lines like "every time we disagree, they just call it phobia" hitting the nail on the head in trademark Baraka fashion. Set to the inventive backdrop of laid back grooves, slick beats and organic sounds, the man's ability to sagely shine the searchlight on what's really going on in America in an urgent but accessible way makes this something of an essential listen.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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