One of the most prolific Fort Wayne artists is easily Sankofa. There’s a monolithic creative force behind the man known in everyday life as Stephen Bryden. When he grabs the notebook, the mic, and puts on the fly kicks he becomes one of the finest rappers in the Midwest. With a catalog years deep and continually growing, as well as a small army of dedicated and equally talented collaborators always willing to make dope art, Sankofa is that late night diner where the sign is always buzzing “open”.
On his latest release, the dark and hard-hitting BLKTCHP2, Sankofa comes off more urgent and direct than he has in some time. After BLKTCHP2 dropped in June of 2021 producer phdbeats was ready to drop a follow-up. After finishing up a few more projects in-between Sankofa has given us that follow-up. It’s a heavy dose of that “menace medicine”.
I don’t want to say BLKTCHP2 is bleak, but there’s a sense of walking home late at night with the shadows stalking your every move. There’s a sparseness in the production; skeletal beats put Sankofa’s flow front and center. Tracks like “A Thousand Watches” and “No Time For Highnesses” put you inches from the action. ‘Kofa laying words out like barb wire, putting you in the crosshairs of his angst and precision rhymes. “Ghosts Start Running” features longtime collaborator and MC JON?DOE and there’s no lull as these two MCs trade barbs. phdbeats gives them an MF DOOM esque-inspired beat to lay waste over.
There’s plenty of back and forth with past collaborators, including Chuck Brown(“A Soul To Sell”) and G. One and Walter Liveharder(“Through With The Garbage’), but Sankofa doesn’t need to fill an album with guest MCs. Tracks like “Al Jourgeson”, “Shoutout To Muggs”, and “Katana Blade Academy” stand on their own as some of the MCs most concise and direct raps yet.
BLKTCHP2 continues a prolific creative streak for Sankofa that began back in 2017 with Ink From Rust. One next level album after another has followed, raising the question is Sankofa man or machine? Regardless of the answer, the hits keep coming and BLKTCHP2 is another Midwest hip hop classic in the books.