Blitz The Ambassador – Native Sun | Album Review

Even though the international popularity of Hip Hop has seen many heavyweight acts perform in Africa, what captivates the Motherland even more is an artist whose music is enriched by the traditional sounds from the continent. Whilst Talib Kweli and Nas have made several references to Africa, none have been more fully immersed in the culture than Ghanaian-American rapper Blitz The Ambassador. Lauded for his delicious blend of African Jazz, Hip Hop and poetry, Blitz is a favourite of many critics and with his new album, Native Sun ready for release, the Ambassador hopes his unique offerings can break into the paint-by-numbers realms of mainstream success.

The slow stirring intro to ‘EN-trance’ awakens Native Sun, as its gentle saxophone blares and DJ scratches are proceeded by a wild jazz offering and Blitz blesses the track with a solid verse in the Ghanaian dialect Twi. Blitz goes back and forth between his native tongue and in English which bridges the gap between not only the language barrier, but also the various musical forms he embraces.

‘Akwaaba’ warmly embraces newcomers to his African culture as its lush, jazz productions are meshed with some rapid spitting from the Native Son. Production on Blitz’s latest offering is superb, often blending the Motherland’s Makossa with B-Boy beats and scratches.

‘Victory’ is probably the track closest to resembling a typical Western Hip Hop track, but the Brooklyn-based performer still squeezes in more Twi dialect and African musical influences. Guest names most recognisable on hand come from French African sister act Les Nubians, who sweeten the already moving ‘Dear Africa’ love letter from Blitz.

Blitz The Ambassador ft. Les Nubians – “Dear Africa”:

The second notable appearance comes from Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, who gives a brief shout out on the instrumental interlude ‘The Oracle.’ Even with its constant uplifting vibes, Native Sun is still haunted by a subtle sadness, explored in full on ‘Dear Africa’ as well as on ‘Accra City Blues’ which depicts a lost love set to a beautiful guitar led score.

Whereas Wyclef Jean, Nas and others have been the most recognised acts to embed their roots within their music, what Blitz succeeds in doing which the others haven’t done is fully submerging his material into the culture. This results in a rich, warm and enlightening listening experience and removes the invisible barriers which would have initially defined this album as a Hip Hop record.

Whilst Blitz provides solid verses with deeper meanings, it’s the soundtrack which really grabs the listener and whisks them off to the continent of Africa. A welcome release during a time in which the popularity of Afrobeat continues to grow, Native Sun not only opens the eyes of many to the land of Ghana, but it explores the limitless boundaries which the genres of Hip Hop, Jazz and African music can take.

Blitz The Ambassador – Native Sun
Released: May 3, 2011
Label: Jakarta Records
Buy: iTunes (US) / Amazon (UK).