Ata Kak – Obaa Sima (4 stars)

This joyous, one-off pop nugget is an exuberant blend of Ghanian highlife, hip hop and house

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Ata Kak – Obaa Sima

Ata Kak's Obaa Sima was the album which inspired ethnomusicologist Brian Shimkowitz to start his Awesome Tapes from Africa blog in 2006. His fascination with the Ghanian singer and rapper began in 2002, when he chanced upon the obscure tape at a roadside stall in the West African nation's Cape Coast. Over a decade later, Shimkovitz has finally tracked down Ata Kak (real name Yaw Atta-Owusu), allowing for the official re-release of this idiosyncratic dance-pop gem.

Recorded at Atta-Owusu's Toronto home-studio in 1992, Obaa Sima is an exuberant blend of Ghanian highlife, hip hop and house. Atta-Owusu's vocals are something else, ranging from keening melodic whelps and Michael Jackson squeals to giddy, high-speed rhymes. His rapping on 'Adagya' is particularly wild, as he spits what sounds like a mixture of Ghanian street-chatter and cockney grime MC-ing over a bouncy house vamp. A joyous DIY pop nugget from a genuine one-off.

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