My Tribal Roots
Reviewer: MACK DA KNIFE
ONE of the best hip-hop albums I’ve heard all year ain’t from Detroit, or Atlanta, or New York. Hell, it ain’t even from the good old US of A. It’s from right here in Malaysia ... from Kota Kinabalu to be exact.
Remember the time when Too Phat scorched the airwaves with its take on Anak Ayam? What made the song so popular was that it sampled a well-known and well-loved Malaysian tune and re-interpreted it in a totally different way.
Sabahan-born Atama (whose real name is Andrew Ambrose Mudi) does the same thing, only much, much better.
My Tribal Roots is cool, catchy and irresistibly fun, in a large part due to Atama’s ability to fuse tribal sumazau music with modern hip-hop beats.
At first glance there appears to be 19 tracks on this album, but eight of these are interludes that are excerpts from a bedtime story session. Of the remaining songs, the standout has to be the one that has had radio listeners hooked ever since it was released last year. Yes, I’m talking about Throw Your Hands in the Air, in which Atama samples the superb John Gaisah number, Taragang Rasuk.
Other songs that are bound to do well at nightclubs are Can’t Stop the Sumazau and Saputangan Keningau (Muli Oku Hilo Kampung Remix), both of which are pumped up with infectious beats and vibrant music.
But Atama proves that he can also tone it down or heat it up according to his whims and fancies. Listen to the exciting and testosterone-fuelled Panagzou Headhunt Raider or the slow and easy Guangku Mangkakada (Body Bumpin’ Remix) if you want to get what I mean.
Also notable is Ika Noh Butia, which introduces the talented AmberRose lending her pipes to the project.
All in all, it looks like Atama, who used to spin at the best clubs in Kuala Lumpur, is now proving his talent on a bigger stage. Good luck to him, though with this kind of music, he really doesn’t need much of it. Visit www.kadusmusic.tambalut.comto buy the CD.