African and Liberian music are on the map thanks to Akwaaba and Chief Boima. Ever since Akwaaba’s  Chop Our Music release, which featured 51 tracks and was the most played item on my music player for months on, I take them very seriously. So you bet I was excited when I received the announcement about Lone Stars. Like Chop Our Music, which was day viewed with a stunning DJ mix by Dj Zhao, Lone Stars is also first previewed in an energetic mix by Chief Boima that first appeared on Ghetto Bassquake and Akwaaba Music blogs.

Lone Stars Mix by chiefboima
Chief Boima’s mix made it clear to my ear, I had to have these tunes, and few days later (10/18/11) the compilation was released. If you are not familiar with Akwaaba (where’ve you been?) and their artist base, you are up for a pleasant surprise. See, Africa is full of contemporary music, some of it never reaches the internet and the global audience (either because it is distributed on cell phone networks and takes a dedicated traveller like Chris from Sahel Sounds to upload to the net, or for a heap of other reasons like freely roaming Cheetas). This is where Akwaaba delivers big. They make music otherwise inaccessible, not only available but mastered, packaged and clearly presented with coherent information and message. Benjamin and his crew, who are located in Ghana, got their ears on the ground and it shows! Big up to you from all of us global/bass music fanatics from around the world!

With Lone Stars we are presented with the exciting music Hipco and Gbema music of Liberia.

Hipco is hip hop sung in colloquial English, ie the form of English you hear on the streets of Liberia. Although colloquial English retains a lot of English syntax, it can be a bit daunting at first because it is spoken very fast, many consonants are not pronounced, and a lot of words are borrowed from other local languages. But it has become the language of choice for young rappers. And much like hip hop, hipco has grown into its own culture, with its own lifestyle, dance moves and music. Today hipco often refers to more than just a type of rap, it’s a way of life.

Gbema is the generic term given to electronically-produced traditional music. So it covers a wide range of rhythms, most of them very high paced, reminiscent of Sierra Leonian Bubu or South African Shangaan. It’s also quite common for the rhythms to jump into half or double time.

This music, hipco and gbema, is having a profound impact on Liberia. Much like early day hip hop, hipco is a significant vector of social change, while gbema’s intricate rhythms are relentlessly challenging listeners and dancers. We called the compilation Lone Stars not only because it is the nickname of Liberia, but also because these artists are often left without much of an industry to survive. They are truly alone, with their music, striving to survive in a country still recovering from decades of destructive conflict.


Put your eargear on, hit play, and teleport to Liberia. I am already hooked on these sounds, and track #3  big j – kalaman , blows me away every time!


Get the pdf w/ full track by track description

AKW033 -Various Artists – Lone Stars Vol. 1: Hipco & Gbema.

Release date: October 18, 2011.

Compiled by Chief Boima & Benjamin Lebrave


Groove on with Shadow, Junior Freeman & African Soldier, 2 free gifts from Awaakaba

Junior Freeman & African Soldier – “Damyarea” (area song) (320kbps Download)-

Junior Freeman & African Soldier – “Damyarea” (area song) by Akwaaba Music

Shadow, “Killing Me” (320kbps Download)

Shadow, “Killing Me” by The FADER


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