Brooklyn is home to a dense, pan-African presence and the diaspora is turning out hot new music. Blitz the Ambassador is Africa’s native son incorporating hip hop and the music and perspective of Ghana, at home in NYC’s biggest borough.
Blitz the Ambassador plays live with the Embassy Ensemble, rhyming overAfrobeat, highlife and soukous. His lyrics honor traditional storytelling and riff on politics. African struggles and triumphs are documented in Brooklyn-crafted verse.
Growing up in Accra, Blitz honed his rhyme skills and was embraced by Ghanaian producers and fans. There, the golden age of hip hop had a longer shelf life. Young people rallied around a fresh and defiant expression of their concerns and perspectives.
“When you hear young people have such a command, speaking so assertively about how they feel, it resonates with you no matter where you are,” reflects Blitz. “Especially if you live in a stricter society with strong social codes where young people’s voices aren’t heard, hip hop can be a major outlet.”
Blitz came stateside for college and made Brooklyn his home, starting his own label, Embassy MVMT, and using the borough as launch pad for global tours. His latest record, Native Sun, led Blitz to make a short film set in Ghana. It maps the transformation of a boy from marginal village orphan to master of his destiny, through a global cinematic lens.
“Native Sun the album is a journey backwards, back through hip hop, the Caribbean soundsystem culture that preceded it, back to its African roots, with the final kora,” notes Blitz. “The film looks forward, to what could be. Both are about the longing for home we feel in the diaspora, and about letting go of old notions and embracing new ideas.”
Africa Now! at the Apollo includes performances by Nigerian-German songstress Nneka, Congolese troubadour Lokua Kanza, and Cape Town’s multi-racial pop sensation Freshlyground.
Blitz the Ambassador and the Embassy Ensemble play Africa Now!, the Apollo Theater, Saturday, March 16 8pm.
Blitz The Ambassador plays the Soul of Brooklyn/Afropolitan Dreams Block Party, May 4