As with his label mate Romare, a lot of Clap! Clap!'s afro-influenced sound comes from its heavy sampling. This leads to an aesthetic that might not be totally original, but Clap! Clap! isn't relying on any gimmicks here. His real strength is in the range of sounds he draws from. The album moves through stages of juke, house and hip-hop without ever becoming pastiche. It borrows, but never feels derivative.
Take "Ashiko," which opens with a solid '80s electro/hip-hop groove before descending into a rowdy peak-time bass roller. "Black Smoke, Bad Signs" is a 135 BPM number that occasionally flirts with trap, but never so much that you would identify it as such. "Conqueror (action/assault/conquest)" moves quickly between half step drum & bass and an all out rave, which lasts for no more than a minute in the middle. "Universal Modulator" displays a sense of hip-hop beatmaking that recalls Flying Lotus at his maddest and most disjointed. The footwork numbers ("The Rainstick Fable," "Kawasi The Sorcerer") are where Clap! Clap! comes into his own—the lines between the rhythms of his African source material and today's juke scene have rarely felt clearer.
Tayi Bebba is not without its faults. The tracks are pretty short, with only "Sahkii (Xirhuu)" breaking the four-minute mark—not such a bad thing on its own, but it means fewer ideas fit into in each song, which can make them feel more like sketches than fully realised tunes. There's also the issue of cultural appropriation, which the album is undeniably full of, but that's a discussion too complex to delve into here, especially without more knowledge of the producer's identity. And ultimately, it's still one hell of a ride.
Mon / 6 Oct 2014
01. The Holy Cave
03. The Rainstick Fable
04. Kwasi The Sorcerer
05. Black Smokes, Bad Signs
06. Conqueror (action / assault / conquest)
07. Conqueror (consequences / memories)
08. Conqueror (remorse / withdrawn)
10. Sahkii (Xirhuu)
11. Sahkii's Elevation feat. DJ Khalab
12. Kwasi’s Storm (kyanumj) (tape dub)
13. Universal Modulator (kujhmak)
14. Sahkii’s Knowledge
15. Universal Modulator (ujmubuam)
16. Sailing In The Seas Of Wood
17. Kuj Yato