Author: Zoe Ettinger
Yonkwi’s track, “Salsa”, (featuring the Bangante Voices), melds Cameroonian vocals and rhythms with hip-hop beats. Also, he mixed and produced the track, which is pretty damn dope.
This unexpected pairing produces a unique sound that brings the beauty of African music to the forefront. Yonkwi’s sound highlights the fact African rhythms and beats greatly influence hip-hop music. These sounds range from all areas of the African diaspora. Yonkwi incorporates multiple different samples in “Salsa” to exhibit his production and mixing talent. Additionally, the song itself has such unique elements from Cameroonian music that it sounds like a sample you may hear in a deep house or electronic song. It uses rhythm in both traditional and modern ways, through both drum beats and electronically produced beats. This makes for a cool international aesthetic, something we definitely need to see more of in our hip-hop repertoires.
Yonkwi notes that he wrote Salsa after a trip to a famous strip club in Mount Vernon called Rendezvous. This is no surprise since the song starts with a high pitched sample of a man’s voice singing “The lead singer of my band makes all the girls want to take off their underpants”. I’m giving Yonkwi some creative space here. Let’s be honest, a huge number of hip-hop tracks have deeply problematic lyrics, and we don’t let that get in the way of getting down. Beyond this intro through, it’s a cool track with a groovy rhythm. Personally, my favorite part comes at the end of a track where Yonkwi samples a deep voice that’s from an old Cameroonian artist his uncle and dad used to play named Douleur. This sample really gives the song texture and substance.
I’m excited to see what Yonkwi has in store for us next.
Check out the song here: https://soundcloud.com/yonkwi/salsa