First and second generation African immigrants increasingly contribute to American rap music and R&B. Artists as diverse as Wale, Chamillionaire, Tyler, the Creator, Nipsey Hussle, Oddisee, Phil Ade, K’naan, French Montana, Emmanuel Jal, Akon, Jean Grae, Earl Sweatshirt, Lil’ O, Ohene, 88-Keys and Chiddy have an African parent or were born to African parents who at some point lived and worked in the US or they made the decision to relocate overseas by themselves. A native of Ghana, Blitz the Ambassador belongs in the latter category, his academic studies taking him to Ohio before he settled in Brooklyn, where he also started his rap career. What separates Blitz from most of the aforementioned is the intermediary role that he plays between America and Africa. It’s a position he can assume more easily than others because he was born and raised on the African continent.
On “Afropolitan Dreams” he continues his mission to bridge the Atlantic with music that draws inspiration from both sides, with the supporting arch of this ‘bridge’ made up of upbeat ’60s and ’70s soul and rhythm & blues informed by afrobeat and highlife provided by a cast of musicians who contribute to the classy, timeless sound overseen by Blitz and Optiks. “Love on the Run” has the three-dimensional shape of a classic Isaac Hayes production. “Dollar and a Dream” is built on guitars and flutes that shift between blues and funk. “All Around the World” has enough reverb to resound from Ghana all the way to guest Marcelo D2’s home Brazil, creating another transatlantic connection by way of black music. The smoothly swinging “Success” is reminiscent of Jay-Z’s “American Gangster” outing. On “Internationally Known” frantic drums and horn stabs make up a stripped down but turned up production that achieves a modern sound with real instruments. Meanwhile “Africa Is the Future” and “Make You No Forget” capture that African spirit with light-toned guitars and vocals, the former featuring an international cast of MC’s, the latter Fela Kuti’s son Sean.