Saturday, January 15, 2011

Negash Ali: We Get By + Feel The Heat

The best hip hop artist to come out of Denmark, the gifted Negash Ali has the chops to make a name for himself outside Scandinavia, and the release of his 2009 debut album "Asmarino" in the US through La Jolla, California based Raw Poetix Records in 2010 will hopefully help to make that happen in 2011. His 2009 album was partly recorded in California - he is currently recording his second album.

[following edited bio taken from]:

Negash Ali first surfaced from the underground as part of Danish hip hop supergroup Majors along with DJs Noize and Static and MCs J-Spliff and Nat Ill on their eponymous 2008 release. Talent almost never denies itself, and building on his contribution to Majors, Ali cemented his status as one of the bigger artists out there with his 2009 solo debut "Asmarino". [The term 'Asmarino' refers to a person born in the Eritrean capital Asmera.]

At an early age Negash Ali fell in love with hip hop and original soul. Born in 1990 shortly after his mother came to Denmark after fleeing Eritrea towards the end of the country’s conflict with Ethiopia, his life has been shaped by the challenges an African (or any) refugee faces in new and very different surroundings. These challenges as well as his family are recurring themes in the personal and always strong lyrics, along with more common reflections of a young man like restlessness and being sick of school. His solid flow and characteristic voice add another big, personal plus to his debut album.

[End of bio]

The outstanding track "We Get By" and its accompanying excellent video are all too rare positive and insightful contributions to the often volatile discussion and media coverage of the immigrant/refugee experience in Negash Ali's adopted home country of Denmark. It is also a song/video that many immigrants and/or refugees outside of Denmark - including the US - will no doubt relate to and a powerful example of what hip hop artists can do in terms of bringing an important message to their own back yard and to the world in general.

The second track "Feel The Heat", with its thumping beat, memorable guitar riffs and keyboard chords features Copenhagen hip hop band The Gypsies and proves that Negash Ali can throw down in the kitchen with the best hip hop chefs out there.