We have a new guest column here at the Raw Music blog: Listen, Friends. Every Friday, I ask one of the musicians, filmmakers, activists, geniuses, bums or general music obsessives I've met in my travels to share what they're listening to.
First up, Salima Koroma of New York City. She's the filmmaker and journalist behind Bad Rap, a doc about Asian-American rappers that's breaking barriers all over the internet. She also runs one of the biggest Korean pop sites, The One Shots, and listens to mad amounts of music from around the world.
I've never heard any of these songs, and they're great. Check her jams below and get in touch with Salima at her website.
Stromae - “Tous Les Meme”
Mark my words: Stromae is going to be the biggest thing out of Europe since David Hasselhoff. He’s a Belgian artist who sings in French and has the musical genius reminiscent of Kanye West (just sprinkled with more electro and less douche). In “Tous Les Meme” he acts out both parts of an arguing couple and comes to the conclusion that in relationships, regardless of gender, we’re all the same shitty people. Check out “Papaoutai” and “Formidable,” and really, everything he’s ever done because he’s the shit.
Magic System - “1er Gaou”
If you’re a 1st generation African kid like I am, your parents have made you listen to this song. This Ivorian group released “1er Gaou” (First Fool) in ’02, and it killed the European charts. It’s about a guy whose ex-girlfriend wants to get back with him now that he’s rich and famous. It’s old, but since the World Cup is going on as I write this and I’m rooting for all the African teams, I’ve been going through a deep phase of busting out the African jams. This one has been on repeat.
S.E. Rogie - “Nor Weigh Me Lek Dat (Woman to Woman)”
Roughly translated to “Don’t look at me like that,” in this track the legendary Sierra Leonean “palm-wine” singer S.E. Rogie takes the role of a woman accused by another woman of sleeping with her man. This song is so visceral to me because a) it’s sung in my mother-tongue b) it’s damn good c) the sound comes from a crazy mix of West African influences, Portuguese instruments, and Caribbean calypso, all swept up when thousands of freed American slaves traveled back to Sierra Leone to settle Freetown, the current capital. Plus, the song is from an album called Dead Men Don’t Smoke Marijuana, which is dope.
Exo - “Growl”
And for something completely out of left field. I’m a huge fan of Korean pop. It’s a $10 billion industry that churns out groups full of artists who may or may not be able to sing and dance. Despite the emphasis on beauty over talent, sometimes, you get gems like this smooth R&B number from 12-member group, Exo.