It’s a pleasure to work with Rocky Marsiano on what may be his most personal work to date, an EP where he set aside his MPC, to focus instead on the sound he has developed with Meu Kamba Sound. In his own words:
“Meu Kota is an EP that has been directly inspired by my live performances throughout the past year, whether as a DJ or with my Meu Kamba Sound collective. The key members of my collective like the percussion wizard Toni and my scratch DJ Sr Alfaiate are present on most of the tracks, while all the vocal cameos make it a real pan-afro-european affair. We have Prince Wadada representing the Angolan dance-hall scene, Milton Gulli bringing his Mozambican flavor, Nelson da Costa, old school guitarist from Guiné-Bissau, delivers some incredible licks, while Sagaz and Karlon represent the very best of crioulo rap made in the Lisbon ghettos.”
“Sampling is almost completely set aside this time around, making this a step into a different direction from the previous Meu Kamba albums.”
About the songs:
1. Meu Kota (feat. Karlon, Toni, Nelson da Costa)
This track was inspired by the times I played MHD’s track A Kele Nta at some parties. I thought: this is fresh – an MC spitting on this type of beat. So when I cooked up the core of this track, I sent it over to Karlon and “challenged” him to drop some verses in his own style over a more dance beat. I knew he would kill it and he did. Baaaaam! Karlon used to be one half of legendary duo Nigga Poison – probably the best ever crioulo (from Cabo Verde) rapping hip-hop group ever. He just released a very nice album called Passaporti, heavily influenced by music from Cabo Verde. Meu Kota means “My Old One” and is a reference by Karlon to myself – I am from the first generation of Portuguese MCs (in case you didn’t know) while he is from the second.
Guitar licks by old-school guitarist Nelson da Costa (brother of Manecas da Costa, he has played with most legendary bands from Cabo Verde in the 80s and 90s) and the percussion by Toni (of afro dance troop Batoto Yetu) were recorded during one big studio session back in January.
2. Chama Chama (feat. Milton Gulli)
I had the beat only: drums, percussion sounds and breaks, and then added a bit of the synth bass to it. I liked the afro-beatish kind of raw sound of those elements and then Milton Gulli of Cacique ’97 – Portugal’s leading afro-beat band – came to my mind. I sent him the beat to Maputo, where he now lives, and a few weeks later I was surprised by how much love he put back into his contribution: all the guitars, bass line and synths were played and recorded over the original beat. All I did afterwards was find the perfect vocal sample to complement Milton’s input. I’ve been playing this track live with my Meu Kamba collective and it’s a real banger.
3. Vem Dançar (feat. Prince Wadada & Toni)
Some Brazilian samba breaks, mixed with Toni’s percussion and Prince Wadada’s raw dance-hall voice with a heavy Angolan accent? Why not. This track has a really nice swing to it and the sampled vocals are by Melo D from an old recording I had. The percussion was recorded during one big studio session back in January while Wadada sent his vocal stems from Luanda.
4. Deste Lado (feat. Sr Alfaiate & Toni)
This is a deep kind of b-boy breaks meet afro sounds type of track. What made the whole track sound from another planet was Toni’s percussion. We layered congas and djembés on top of each other. The kalimba was played by me and my scratch DJ, Sr Alfaiate (happens to be Toni’s brother) – Portugal’s finest in his craft – recorded some very dope cuts on a break. The percussion and the cuts were recorded during one big studio session back in January. All the guitars are from an old recording I did with South African band BCUC while they were passing through Amsterdam years ago. The recording never saw the light of day so I am happy I could still use these very nice guitar licks.
5. Free Fallin (feat. Sagaz & Sr. Alfaiate)
Sagaz is my favourite MC from Lisbon. He is a pioneer when it comes to rapping in crioulo from Cabo Verde and an incredibly talented writer. We recorded these vocals back in 2013, together with a bunch of other vocals that ended up on both Meu Kamba albums and I changed the original beat to this one. It has some nice berimbau samples during the chorus, adding some extra tropical flavor to the hard and bassy beat.The cuts were recorded during one big studio session back in January.