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Samou Bagayoko, Ousmane Cisse, and Tiemoko Traore make up the  Bamako, Mali afro-hop trio behind SMOD. Their rock-steady songs accompanied by Samou’s acoustic guitar and subtle studio production makes this album a tranquil folk-hop counterpart to producer, Manu Chao’s reggae groove. The trio sing, rap, and harmony on every track. Rap and African folk combine to make this album calm and collect. On this, SMOD’s third album, the band takes full advantage of their producers experience and appeal. Taking from secular griot art and oral tradition, SMOD uses collective memory and straight forward freestyle grime narrative to track current events in Africa.

“Hip hop brings us a path of light (…) Malian hip-hop evolves day-by-day!” account SMOD on the funk-rap track, “Ambola.” Tired of organized crime, corruption, and violence against women these golden, gapped tooth and spectacle wearing pioneers are singing, rapping, and jamming to the the heart of their people. Singing about the streets, their small town, and the current state of affairs, the woes of life both current and decades old, this band makes melodies that move, bounce and stir the spirit. “J’ai Pas Peur du Micro (Featuring Keny Arkana),” the most aggressive jolt on a serene album, feels like a call to arms. SMOD’s quietness is not to be mistaken for a lack of frustration or outrage. Their lyricism is precise and controlled. Their sadness is steadfast with wisdom. Their joy poised with passionate concern and indignant repose.

Recently acclaimed by Rolling Stones and a favorite touring act around the world, these guys bring it all. Enjoy their video Ca Chante below.

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