Afu Ra was introduced to the hip hop world through Jeru the Damaja. I remember seeing his face back in the day on the ‘Playin Ya self’ video from Jeru. Since then he’s brought out a number of 12″ singles that have helped him to bring a fan base and some recognition. His old label, Gee Street, however, were holding him back. His transfer to D&D, therefore, has probably been one of the best things Afu could have done for himself. Afu is one of the most diverse emcees I’ve ever personally heard. His ability to rhyme along with any beat dropped is amazing, and his hard cut vocal sound is a mix between something you’d expect from the Wu and a Black Thought verse. The production features many noticable cats, such as DJ Premier and Da Beatminerz.
1996 – Jeru The Damaja introduced Afu to the game back in the day.
Afu Ra is a hybrid of both the Wu Tang Clan and the Gangstarr foundation. Premo produces four of the twenty tracks on the album, and Afu brings collaborations from peeps like Gza and Masta Killa. Other collaborations include that of M.O.P., Guru, Hannibal Stax and Ky-Mani Marley amongst many others. The good thing about this album though is due to the vast array of production peeps, there’s a lot of different sounds comin’ out of the album, so it can appeal to everyone. ‘Defeat’ and ‘Monotonous’ will bring you the notorius Premo sound, whereas tracks like ‘D&D Soundclash’ and ‘Equality’ bring a more reggae style to the table. As such, throughout the album you’ll find yourself just thinking about the versatility of Afu Ra and his supporting cru. Definetely a D&D production through and through. Ra is consistent throughout, and will rhyme about his emcee abilities, along with his target to master his inner self. His Taek-won-do background seem to influence his rhymes a lot, and also his style in that it’s a cutting style, almost like he’s in a constant rhyming battle.
Afu Ra has a style that is completely diverse and unique to himself. He preaches self mastery and lyrical progression.
I gotta admit, until a few months back I didn’t know much about Afu Ra. I’d seen him in the Jeru video, had heard a couple snips of some 12″, but that’s about it. This album, however, has opened my eyes completely to the kind of material you miss out on if you don’t put some research in. A recent release (seperate from the album) is called “Voodoo Child” which has two production mixes, one by DJ Cam, the other by DJ Premier. This 12″ is amazing, and I’d suggest getting it if you just want a taste of his style (the different sides give a general basis of the differing sounds on the album, even though the track doesn’t feature on it).
The album’s on double (LP), so there’s a lot to listen to. 20 tracks of solid beats and unfaultable rhymes give for and amazing album worth playing. The only thing I might say could put someone off Afu Ra is that his beats are generally more hard than anything the more commercially inclined peeps would be interested in. Definitely an artist for the clubs, rather than the charts (thank god).
2000 – Afu Ra finally brings out a tight album definitely worth buying
1. Intro (The Body Of The Life Force)
2. Soul Assassination
4. Bigacts Littleacts
6. D&D Soundclash
7. Mic Stance
9. All That
11. Self Mastery
13. Mortal Kombat
17. Bring It Right
18. [R.I.P.] Big L
19. Whirlwind Thru Cities
20. Trilogy of Terror
Reviewed By Hip Hop Network for HipHopHotSpot.Com