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Diary of an Afro Warrior

Benga

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Album Review

The dubstep release with the highest profile in 2008, Diary of an Afro Warrior is the second album from Croydon producer Benga, following 2006's Newstep, but it might as well be considered his first, given the push behind it. Like Burial, Benga roams outside the rigid strictures of dubstep — entailing the form's stout-but-agile, tightly coiled rhythms and arsenal of imposing effects, from wide scythe-like synth swipes to stunted raygun zaps — but here, the crossover could easily pass for what was termed IDM in the early to mid-'90s or, in a couple slightly reaching instances, West London broken beat. Opener "Zero M2" is an immediate challenge to those who expected a straight-up dubstep album, its fusion-informed twinkles of plangent Rhodes and acoustic bass taking the spotlight. The producer is often most effective when he strips it down, as he does after the midpoint in "Light Bulb," where gaunt but restless percussion, crisp handclaps, dark-hued shimmers, and a distant chant produce terrors as deep and lasting as any of its stockier counterparts.

Biography

Born: 1987 in Bristol, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

One of the major names in the world of dubstep, producer Benga was born Beni Uthman in East London. His parents eventually moved to the suburb of Croydon, where a young Benga would fiddle with his radio every night, looking for pirate radio stations and taking in all sorts of fringe music. He first began making tracks on his PlayStation game system, then graduated to digital audio workstation Fruity Loops when his parents bought him a computer. Hearing the dark work of 2-step producer Wookie inspired...
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Diary of an Afro Warrior, Benga
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