‘The Blackest Joy’ is the latest offering from the talented US hip hop artist/activist Akua Naru, with this being her third studio album. Akua was introduced to hip hop as a young girl when music not connected to religion was frowned upon. Though thanks to her uncle who sneaked in the records, the two of them started performing as a duo when she was nine years old.
This album is a mixture of genres ranging from Jazz, Blues, Hip Hop and Soul with a feel good factor that comes with deeper lyrics that should not go unmissed. The lead single and visiual ‘Made It’ featuring Eric Benet is the first stand out song with this affect as it discusses how good it feels to experience Joy after going through struggle.
Having travelled out of her home state of Connecticut in New England, Akua has incorporated different languages representing the different cultures she has experienced. ‘Kaya’ represents just that, with her great rap flow merging with that upbeat African influenced rhythms. Another favourite from the self produced 12 track project ‘the offering’ has a very nostalgic ’90s feel.
“It was important to invite other people to assist me as I tell my story, I wanted to hear other languages, I had sister friends of mine speaking in languages such as Sesotho and Swahili, and I felt that was very important. As somebody who identifies as pan-African, it’s very important to me to incorporate that in my work.”