The one that started it all. I'm assuming that this record has been a long time in the making for Brian Shimkovitz and his Awesome Tapes From Africa project. Obaa Sima was the tape that launched the label's eponymous blog with the track "Moma Yendodo." It's a frenetic blend of blend of DC go-go beats, synthetic sounds and Ata Kak's rapping in his native Ghanaian Twi dialect. There's not much like it out there. Originally released in 1994, you could say this is a pretty singular take on hip house, but there seems to be more to it. There's the raw, bass line driven "Daa Nyinaa" which we were first introduced to on the great "African Shakedown 2." It sounds more like a lost African disco banger than hip hop, you're sure to slay a few dancefloors with this one. And album closer "Bome Nnwom" is more leftfield ghetto house masterpiece than anything else. We owe it to Shimkovitz who spent years tracking down the man who released this bizarre cassette. He finally found Yaw Atta-Owusu in Ghana, a self-taught musician who got his start as a drummer in a Canadian highlife and reggae band. Atta-Owusu recorded Obaa Sima in his home studio in Ontario where he blended influences from reggae and dancehall, Ghanaian highlife and American soul and disco, and of course, hip hop. Surprisingly this was all done with little knowledge of the Ghanaian rap movement that was gaining traction in his homeland at the time. Perhaps that helps to explain the heavy house and ragga influence on the recordings. Whatever the case we're more than happy to be enjoying this music 20 years after it first came to be. Recommended.
- music label: Ata Kak 1994 / Awesome Tapes From Africa 2015