We Belong

City Slang • 2024

The label »Black Music« has always been problematic because of its latent racism. And, Beyoncé, who is bringing the black roots of country music into the spotlight and the mainstream, is proving how useless and outdated it is. On his eighth album, »We Belong«, multi-instrumentalist and mastermind Ahmed Gallab aka Sinkane dabbles in just about every genre ever associated with the term »black music«. He celebrates blackness (e.g. with the gospel-pop of »The Anthem«), expresses pride in his Sudanese roots with Afro-funk (»Rise Above«) and shows which African-American musical trends have been appropriated and exploited by whites. The opening track »Come Together« is a nod to post-disco à la Chic, which the black and LGBTQ communities danced to exclusively in the late 1970s and which was only introduced to a wider, predominantly white audience by Daft Punk. The entertaining and magnanimous album also covers 1970s big band soul, R&B and funk with the title track and single »Everything Is Everything«. The variety also extends to dub reggae (»Home«). At the same time, Sinkane conjures up a global community with his music, which was also created in the studio with Bilal, jazz trumpeter Kenyatta Beasley, the wonderful Amanda Khiri and many, many other guests. Here, a vision that is both cosmopolitan and inclusive counters any form of cultural appropriation or external attribution.