audio review : Zingalamaduni ( album ) … Arrested Development

audio review : Zingalamaduni ( album ) ... Arrested Development

You don’t have to be an advocate for Africa in order to appreciate Arrested Development. Their main objective is to uplift African people, yes, but they do it with music that’s catchy and charming enough to appeal to all races. “It’s not just race,” Speech declares on the United Minds starter song, “We’re all in this together.” That is perhaps what inspires the title; a Swahilian term he says means “a beehive of culture”.

This is the group’s second album, not including their MTV Unplugged set, and it’s considerably better than the first. The production, while still packed with stereophonic quirks and spur-of-the-moment ad-libs, is less frantic and more focused; the vocals more melodic. When Speech’s singy raps go back and forth with the (black) female voices of his sidekicks over a hip-hop soul groove, you can’t help but vibe to it.

There’s an unnecessary FM radio concept started on Baba Oje’s prelude. The fictional station is called WMFW for We Must Fight (And) Win. Having two unrelated songs with titles that both start with “United” as close to each other as they are makes for a somewhat awkward playlist. Those are relatively minor offenses though on a hip-hop album in which almost every song is musically, perhaps culturally, delightful.

my rating : 4 of 5