Sudanese-American rapper Abbas Hamad, better known as Bas, was born in Paris to Sudanese parents and went on to grow up in Queens, New York. Bas released his first mixtape in 2011 but rose to fame in 2013 after being featured on American rapper J. Cole’s Born Sinner album. Shortly after, Bas was signed by J. Cole’s record label: Dreamville, and has since been nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance. Bas has been clear about his identity in saying “I was born in France and raised in New York but I’m still African”, and consistently interacts with his African fanbase. Bas said in an interview that his 2018 album Milky Way was largely inspired by African emcees and DJs that he has had the pleasure of interacting with on his multiple trips to Sudan and South Africa. He cites Afrobeats artists as having specifically influenced his music going forward and admires the fusion of African and American Hip Hop culture.
In his 2020 song Amnesia from his Spilled Milk 1 album, Bas continues to diversify his sound and incorporate elements of African music into his own. The song features elements of American and African hip hop culture, integrating the more Americanized flow of Bas and Ari Lennox with Nigerian Afrobeats artist KIDDOMINANT. The song discusses Bas’ past mistakes in his romantic life and learning to cherish his partner, including the female perspective via Ari Lennox, the first female artist signed to Dreamville Records. The song seamlessly transitions from Bas and Ari’s African American Vernacular English and American hip hop style to KIDDOMINANT’s Afrobeats style which includes rapping in Zulu. The melding of African and American musical styles is exemplified through the lyric “My sweetie lover, uh-uh, Aibo wena (Aibo), Yebo wena, Stole my heart like a robber”(1:01). Throughout his career Bas has developed a unique sound that blends the musical culture hip hop in Africa and the diaspora.
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