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Nneka – Heartbeat [Yo Mama]

September 15, 2009

In a genre typically dominated by American artists, Nneka has gripped on to the soul music route like a champion bull rider. And as a Nigerian (via the German city of Hamburg), the singer, and accomplished songwriter, is actually showing the States how it should be done for a change.

With her mesmerising live act and second album No Longer At Ease, Nneka has pushed the incense-burning neo-soul of the early half of this decade out of its rut and into the present. A reminder that, in the way that Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Bilal and even Jaguar Wright did up until around 2003, soul music doesn’t only have to appeal to ‘grown folks’.

As the standout track of her latest record, ‘Heartbeat’ is a wisely chosen single. The airy vocals power through, retaining remnants of her Naija roots but lacing them over an eerie mixture of dubstep, rock and gospel. Under her weight, it belts and buckles into one explosive and addictive meltdown.

[Originally reviewed for Bearded Magazine]

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