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Album Review

Smod are a Malian rap trio whose music is anchored by acoustic guitar as much as by programmed rhythms. Their songs have a lilting groove recognizable to fans of Malian music (Amadou & Mariam and Touré Kunda are clear progenitors), and the production on this, their third album, is by Manu Chao, which adds a sort of pan-global hippie atmosphere (and some organ, on tracks like the propulsive "Dakan"). They rap sometimes, sing other times, and combine the two frequently; their harmonies are clean and quite beautiful and soothing, perfect for listening in hot weather. Lyrically speaking, if you don't understand French, you're out of luck — there are no concessions made to an English-language audience. But from a purely musical standpoint, Smod is excellent, avoiding the crunchy-granola feel of the Putumayo school of world music while proving that hip-hop is both global and almost universally adaptable. This is the kind of album that drifts by like a lazy white cloud on a beautiful summer day, leaving only positive feelings in its wake.

Customer Reviews

one of the coolest records of the year

When I heard that Manu Chao was producing a group that included the son of Amadou & Mariam, I had to pick it up. Definitely digging this album, especially the tracks "Les Dirigeants Africains" and "Dakan". Definitely one of the most exciting new artists I've found in some time. No French-language knowledge required to enjoy this album!

Something Different

This is great. I heard this on KCRW's "Today's Top Tune" program, plus I am a big fan of Manu Chao and he produced this record! Perfect for my next surf trip.


there's something hypnotically melodic about this album...whether it's the manu chao-esque guitars or the french-malian harmonies... whatever it is they're selling..I'm sold.

Smod, SMOD
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Customer Ratings