Does MC Sankofa sleep? Is there any downtime for this Midwest rapper? If you check out the list of albums he’s been putting out at a record pace I’d say no. If he’s not plotting the next album with some killer production courtesy of some amazing producer friends, he’s dropping videos of him freestyling over beats. And in-between that he’s dropping dope hats, sweatshirts, stickers, socks, to promote his artistic endeavors(I’ve got a Sankofa sweatshirt and beanie, natch.)
But really, none of that matters if the music isn’t tight and the rhymes aren’t next level. Sankofa does not put out subpar music, and his latest BLKTCHP is truly next level. Maybe one his best albums yet? For sure. At least until he drops the next one.
Sankofa always brings a certain amount of gravitas and brevity in his work, but his latest also carries with it some darkness. Both the sparse, scrappy production and Sankofa’s razor sharp vocal attack slap you immediately in album opener “Until The Demons Cheer”. phdbeats supplies gritty beats for Sankofa to rhyme over, leaving him plenty of room to fill the spaces with thoughtful lyrics. The soul-inflected vibes of “Those Who Came Before Us” gives Sankofa a solid foundation to pay tribute to those that paved the way for him and so many others. “The Flow MacGyver” is Sankofa laying some labyrinthine rhymes with nothing more than a paper clip, chewed up twine, and a microphone.
Listening to BLKTCHP I’m reminded of the production work of Madlib and J Dilla, as well as early Nas and even EL-P’s Fantastic Damage. I love that scrappy, lo-fi vibe of Sankofa’s work. He puts his voice and words front and center, allowing the story and message to take precedent. The production here is concise and gut-level, something that has been consistent in Sankofa’s work over the last 15 years.
BLKTCHP is yet another stunning long player from Sankofa. It stands up to the amazing work that’s come before(Ink From Rust, $5,000 Flashlights, Weird Summer to name a few), as well as paving the way for the next slab of hot wax he’s got cooking up for us.