Krukid’s album “African” has matured a long way since “Raisin in the Sun,” the Ugandan artist’s very first album released in 2005. Throughout the entire album, Krukid raps in English; his African accent is a little more distinctive in this album than the formers. His primary, intended audience is undoubtedly his people back home. In fact, certain tracks are directed specifically at his family. Other tracks hold messages that serve as self-reminders to never lose sight of one’s identity and tools to inspire self-assurance and hope.
On track 1, Krukid raps about having multiple identities that make up his entire African background. “I am Ghanaian, Algerian, Nigerian, Liberian, Afro-American, Lebanese, Senegalese, and Congolese. I am North and East, and South African. I am West and Central African. I’m Mongol and Mozambique.” His message is clearly stated in the line: “I carry my race like a conversation.” This conversation is one that is never-ending; Krukid is indicating that his multiple racial identities will always remain a part of him. He is a product of multiple cultures that have shaped some part of him in their very own unique way. Such a message is especially significant when applied to cultural context, where one should not be discriminated due to fixation on a single racial aspect of a whole identity. And on track 11, My Music My Country, Krukid automatically confirms this proud nationalist attitude when he starts with “I’m 100% African” and “where generals permanently replacing presidents, dictatorship posing as governments… yup we still call this nation ours.”
My favorite track on this album has got to be Track 12, On and On. It begins with the calm, light, peaceful melody of a flute accompanied and complimented by a steady, strong beat. Although the flute begins its part very innocently, it suddenly takes a violent turn and gives rise to an off-key, haunting tone that parallels the innocent, 9-year-old girl Sophia Krukid eventually raps about. My admiration for Krukid is set in his ability to create music that people can easily and naturally relate to. All these issues he addresses and tries to raise awareness about in his songs are very real in his culture. Through his music, he gives his people strength and courage to cope with these cultural and personal issues.
The second track is the next favorite track off the album, “Invisible.” It had a really nice beat perfectly accompanied by a women’s beautiful, seductive voice. This song stood out among the rest with its odd combination of hard rap with a very calm, soothing acoustic riff. I was especially emotionally attached to the lyrics, which elucidated issues facing women, children, and soldiers that were largely ignored by society. The lyrics, “Little foreign aid and no government housing,” “they made me a murderer when I was young, I got blood on my hands, when they killed my father and they raped my mother, and the first life they forced me to take was my brother” highlights the horrifying things innocent, young individuals were forced to do and the psychological and emotional effects it would have on them later on.
Perhaps the most disturbing track, City Life, opens with a loud, frequency distortion followed by a haunting piano melody and an ordinary hip hop beat. Krukid raps of drunkards, nightclubs staying open until dawn, cops hunting prostitutes, women gossiping about the state of their affairs, sluts performing, bottles of booze cans, all elements of the “city life movement” this track elucidates. The vivid imagery Krukid illustrates in his lyrics contributes to a dark, violent, cruel reality of city life, perhaps one that he was not expecting in his decision to immigrate. The message he presents in this track almost seems to be merely one of caution to his people back home—that urban life isn’t what it may seem.
On track 7, “Real Talk,” Krukid opens about his feelings on his personal life. The sad message of the song is foreshadowed by the mournful entry, the sorrowful tune of a violin that seems to give rise to a battle song. Though he “is doing music out of love” and “screen life is nice,” there are “deadlines [Krukid’s] got to beat when there are bills to pay.” “And between family and friends, [he’s] under a lot of heat.” I admire this track very much because of its genuine sadness and the overwhelming sense of vulnerability I get from Krukid, something that most artists at large don’t ever dare go near to show in their music or in public. The next track, “Calling,” begins with a similar melodious background of sorrowful violins and reveals a similar message. In the chorus, a unison of haunting, sorrowful moans accompanied by a slightly hopeful acoustic riff fills in the absence of Krukid’s voice.
To me, this album was a great advancement for Krukid’s success in terms of improved musicality, originality, and creativity. Krukid’s ability to invent such meaningful, insightful lyrics has remained successful in touching on the most impenetrable of human emotions.