Along with the beloved J. Dilla, Madlib may arguably be one of hip-hop’s most inventive and prolific producers and artists. Along with his production work, Madlib released a series of instrumental beat records under the name Beat Konducta. And each installment of the series focused on a particular genre or a particular area of interest – Movie Scenes is pretty self-explanatory as far as what it focused on; Beat Konducta in India focused on found sounds from Bollywood and other Indian genres; A Tribute to J. Dilla focused on the work of the legendary J. Dilla; Beat Konducta in Africa focused on the African rock scene of the 70s with an intense focus on Zambia’s Zamrock; and the fifth installment, Rock Konducta focused on global garage rock – including American psych rock, German Krautrock, Spanish acid prog rock and early 80s synth rock.
Interestingly, this version of Beat Konducta in Africa was also released as part of Madlib’s 13 volume Medicine Show set but has been re-released as Africa Extra and the effort’s six tracks are a swirling trippy mind-bending survey of 70s and 80s African music. As a general rule the beat tape focused on obscurities although an extremely brief Fela Kuti sample floats in and then out of the mix. Adding to the surreal psychedelia of the mix, Madlib uses a sample of a woman explaining not just the elements that influenced the popular African genre of Highlife but also the philosophical underpinnings of the genre. These six tracks should remind every hip-hop head of why Madlib is so extraordinary as he pushes the limits of what hip-hop should be and should sound like.