Malik Al Nasir has been on our cultural radar for a long time. A member of the Etc. #LiverpoolLessOrdinary club, the music he makes, with Malik & The O.G.’s, has also started making a splash – particularly following the release of a debut double album that the songwriter and activist has toured around the world. He’s back with an EP of tunes from the critically-acclaimed record now and can hear Africa calling. By Alan O’Hare.
“Though I travel as an Englishman, I’ve been searching for my fatherland.”
There’s a powerful start to the title track of Malik & The O.G.’s latest EP, ‘Africa’. The tune has been around a while and has become a favourite of those who follow the Scouse activist’s music. With instrumental and A cappella versions of both ‘Africa’ and the hypnotic ‘Cherish The Good Man’ all included on the EP, this is the release fans of The O.G.’s have been waiting for.
“We want to produce music that is equally enjoyable and relevant to kids today, but is not derogatory or disrespectful of women or humanity,” says the main man. “I want to bring change without bringing harm to people – raise consciousness and provoke thought in a constructive, not destructive, manner.” The music moves with grooves good enough to make you think twice – but it’s Malik’s lyrics that will grab you. ‘Cherish The Good Man’ is secrete enough to sweeten its roots reggae inside a swinging summer melody and offers a tune so full of bounce that you’ll be humming it until the beaches are open.
With new mixes of the standout tracks from the critically-acclaimed debut double album, ‘Rhythms Of The Diaspora Vol’s 1 & 2’, the ‘Africa’ EP is another shot across the bow from Al Nasir. Focusing on drums, percussion and voice, these are tunes to take things back to the earth and infect you with change. “Lots of today’s music is electronic beats and lyrical content delivered in a way that’s very negative on children,” says the man known for being a protégé of the late, great Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets. “I had very negative influences in street life as a child… but music made my world a better place. Now there are others who feel hopeless and need the inspiration that can be brought to them through powerful, positive and organic music. We hope to influence a lot of people.”
The EP is filled with optimism. ‘Africa’, the song, opens up with a drum roll of an invitation to a party that celebrates its literary influences on a bed of fusion reggae. The tune never stops moving and guest vocalist, JD Smoothe, brings the writer and producer’s words to life over a lilting beat that works just as well on the instrumental version on offer. It’s those words we keep coming back too, though. “It’s a cruel earth we live upon, everyone is familiar with the situation,” goes the riff to ‘Cherish The Good Man’, before asking us to “cherish the mothers of the world” and “cherish every land and sea”.
Good advice for us all – especially on an EP that celebrates the mother of mankind.
Pic by Peter Chin