Afrika Bambaataa Dark Matter Moving at the Speed of Light

[Tommy Boy; 2004]

Styles: hip-hop, electro
Others: Parliament, Kraftwerk, El-P

Vh1, the cable channel which didn't even acknowledge the existence of hip-hop until a few years ago, has just recently aired one of the most accurate hip-hop documentary-style series (who knew?). Afrika Bambaataa was honored in these programs, just as he should be. The pioneer and original innovator who brought us, most notably, "Planet Rock," has put in long hours both behind the turntables and spreading peace throughout the world. Afrika Bambaataa isn't the type of performer or human you can dislike. You know the type -- always preaching positivity and peace -- they can't be hated. Bambaataa has spread his message in every way possible, but always through his music. It seems as though he's constantly been creating with the ultimate goal to bring people together, usually on a dance floor.

Dark Matter Moving at the Speed of Light, Bambaataa's latest release on Tommy Boy, gives us much of what we'd expect. Samples from every genre you could think up, up-beat grooves, and rhythms to get you doing embarrassing dance moves for an entire night. Fellow '80s experiment-friendly artist Gary Numan lends a hand on "Metal," as well as King Kamonzi on two tracks. Kamonzi, as you'd expect, doesn't deliver lyrics to call your friend over claiming newfound genius, but rather accentuates the music you're hearing, much like the original MCs. Some other guests appear as well, serving the same function.

For many music pioneers, old age typically goes hand-in-hand with troublesome musical endeavors. It's difficult to top one's earlier work. Bambaataa hasn't been able to evade these difficulties. His legacy is confirmed and almost nothing he does could harm that, but it also seems as though the young bucks of the music world are progressing the framework more so than he. Dark Matter Moving at the Speed of Light will get the job done in the club, but don't expect people to praise the creative force behind it.

1. Got That Vibe
2. Metal
3. Dark Matter
4. Take You Back
5. Soul Makossa
6. Just A Smoke
7. 2137
8. Almighty Rah
9. Shake "N" Pop Roll
10. Ain't Talk'in No Shhh
11. Pick Up On This
12. No Dope Fiends On the Floor
13. Electro Salsa
14. B-More Shake
15. Meet Me at the Party
16. Zulu Chant No. 5