I’ve been following Midwest rapper Sankofa for a few years now. I can remember hearing his praises by local music writers well over a decade ago, but hadn’t really locked into the world of hip hop just yet. Not that I’m an expert now(far from it), but I know what I like when I hear it. And Sankofa? I like.
The thing that blows me away about Sankofa, aka mild-mannered father/husband/educator Stephen Eric Bryden, is that he seems to constantly be writing and creating. Whether he’s dropping albums on his own or he’s collaborating with producers and DJs, Sankofa is always writing and creating.
Sankofa is locked into pulse of the world. He’s what I’d call a humanist hip hop artist. His work is socially engaged. He’s got both eyes on society and speaks from his heart and mind through his raps and lyrics. In his raps there’s hope despite the shadow of hopelessness that looms over us.
Back in September Sankofa collaborated with producer Chef Mike. That collaboration is 313260, which was released on Icy Palms Records. The album is a shot of old school hip hop vibes. What does that mean? Well, Sankofa works with only the best beat makers, and Chef Mike makes the best beats. Old school vibes that put me in mind of Wu-Tang, Nas, and A Tribe Called Quest. Sankofa is given primo real estate to lay down his rhymes layered in truths and real world tales.
Here’s what Icy Palms Records had to say about the release:
313260 is exactly that, a journey taken by two different people traveling from different spots whose guidance is a shared vision. These are songs, songs born of travels, songs reflecting life, from back then until right now. 7 tracks from a couple guys who teamed up because being dope is as dope as being humble. Being both is the best of all worlds and parallel universes. With Chef Mike repping 313 on the beats and Sankofa repping 260 on the raps, they brought in Dap One to lay cuts, because scratches are the BASF of fresh rap tracks. Sit back, relax and bump the goodness that is this journey.
If you like your hip hop with old school vibes and socially relevant rhymes, look no further than Sankofa & Chef Mike’s 313260. Download it right here. Then go hit up Sankofa’s Bancamp and deep dive into his incredibly solid discography.
And if I had to guess, Sankofa is probably readying something new as I type this.