Blitz the Ambassador is ready. Are you?BY Eric Z. Camins, August 5, 2009
Blitz the Ambassador grew up in Ghana, West Africa and is a testament to the global reach of hip hop. He gets that an emcee doesn’t have to sacrifice musicality in order to convey important social issues, and furthermore, as makers, consumers and lovers of music, we shouldn’t be wasting time on mindless crap. Blitz’s use of a live band–both in the studio and on stage–is a crucial part of his distinctly African and undeniably classic hip hop sound. When it comes to sound and sensibility, he proves that we can have both, and he is kicking through the barriers on his way to the top. He challenges the conventions of what a hip hop artist can be. He’s conscious and radio-friendly at the same time, without coming off as preachy. You can nod your head to his songs, and they have depth. The music is interesting, but not too avant garde. He’s Accra, but BK all day. There’s no one else in the game handling a balancing act this complex.
There is a sense of urgency in Blitz’s lyrics. His just-released album “Stereotype” is one of the best I’ve heard in years. Granted, I may be biased. I prefer an emcee that rhymes well and cares about the world, as opposed to ones that mumble vagueties about recession-proof stacks. But don’t get it twisted, “Stereotype” bumps! The Mighty Embassy Ensemble delivers that classic boom-bap, and horns that evoke the JB’s, all while Blitz speaks on issues ranging from immigration, and Katrina, to even his own personal struggles with love. On the track Ghetto Plantation he cleverly goes after the system and creates an in depth comparison of the prison industrial complex to historical slavery. One line states “incarceration is the new plantation / a new kind of slavery, a new foundation / and it wont even cost you much / the project is the slave ship / the corner is the auction block”
Even as I’m posting this, one day after its release, “Stereotype” is making a steady climb up the Itunes hip hop chart. It’s at #11 now, sandwiched between two Kanye’s “808s & Heartbreak” and the Dr. Dre classic, “The Chronic”. An impressive feat for any artist, but this is extra astonishing since Blitz’s record is an indie. It can seem (and often is) impossible for an independent album like this (released by the good people at Parallel MVMT) to reach the masses. Perhaps we can take this Itunes success as some bit of proof that the people are fed up. Finally, in Blitz, we have an artist who recognizes that the time for thoughtful, passionate, and quality music has arrived. He enthusiastically rises to the challenge of creating it. What carries throughout the music on this album more than any other theme, is the unifying sense that he truly enjoyed bringing it out of himself and his band.
Simply put, the world is a better place with Blitz the Ambassador making its music.
We sat down with Blitz to speak about his work and the new album, check out the video here: