Fela Soul - Gummy Soul Mixtape by Amerigo Gazaway

In a world overwhelmed with shitty remakes and re-hashings of past ideas (see the remakes of Charlie's Angels, Beauty and the Beast - the Linda Hamilton one, not the Disney one, and George Lucas' BluRay re-release of the all 6 Star Wars films now with EVEN MORE digital effect tampering) it's pleasing, hell, wonderful, to see the mixtape revolution occurring in our music world. Of course, all the mash-ups and mixtapes are really re-hashings of bygone material. And yes, this type of manipulation, taking the already created by someone creative and turning it into something new potentially reeks of the same stink emanating from the "genius" outlined parenthetically above. But the beauty of this new sub-culture is that it requires an immense amount of skill to do properly. A fine mash-up or mixtape requires intimate, broad knowledge of the groups involved. Now, I made a case like this when reviewing Girl Talk's All Day, but he is a man who deals primarily in volume. You have to know music to be Girl Talk. You have to understand the pieces and understand narrative structure so when you drop Boston or Bell Biv DeVoe mid-track, it has to hit hard but not take over. That's a different skill set.

With Fela Soul, a mixtape via Gummy Soul, built by Amerigo Gazaway, and featuring Fela Kuti and De La Soul, the skill set is far different. More difficult, perhaps, perhaps not, but certainly different. What Gazaway does so well on the 9 tracks is assemble brand new, stand-alone works that also call-back credibly to their original source. It helps that Fela Kuti's jazz, afrobeat, fusion tracks fit well with the syncopated early beats of De La Soul, but Gazaway doesn't just put them together, the common mash-up problem, he lovingly paints with each on a single sonic canvas. So, it's only two groups combined, unlike the Girl Talk excess, but it's also done with such authority and knowledge that neither feels underwhelming, or underutilized. What comes out is one of the most enjoyable mash-ups of 2011. By far, too. It's just really fucking good. You will lose yourself in the bright, cascading horns and fire-starting rhymes. Add in the inclusion of MF Doom on "Rock Co.Kane Flow," Redman on "Ooh," Yummy on "Much More" and a special cover of the Gorillaz' "Feel Good Inc." featuring De La Soul, and there's no denying the quality and the excellence.

So, really, this is less a review than a thank you note to Amerigo Gazaway, Gummy Soul and their great efforts. Of course, we thank De La Soul and Fela Kuti too. And the Gorillaz. And the muthafuckin' internet! Listen to Fela Soul in the stream below. Download it for free. Own it, love it, and cherish the new movement in music.

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