Although Asheru may not be be a household name for some, fans of the popular The Boondocks television series certainly know his voice from the show’s theme song. A longtime veteran of Washington D.C.‘s “DMV” Hip-Hop scene, the rapper, activist and educator makes a return with his latest project, Sleepless In Soweto.
Fans of the husky-voiced Asheru, born Gabriel Benn, know that his many travels to the continent of Africa is dear to his life’s mission in connecting the struggles black people across the diaspora. Recorded during his trips between D.C. and South Africa, Sleepless In Soweto reflects Asheru’s appreciation of the nation and all of Africa.
The lead single, “Gauteng,” features fellow DMV native and Grammy nominee Raheem DeVaughm, who provides a soulful hook for Asheru. “Gauteng,” which translates into “Land of Gold,” is devoted to the people of Johannesburg and the home province of the city shares the same name.
Beyond the aforementioned DeVaughn, Grammy nominated DMV vocalist Wanya is also featured. South African artists Hip Hop Pantsula, ProVerb, KG, and TeePee appear on the album as well.
According to a press release for the album, Sleepless In Soweto hopes to highlight “the unique bond between African-Americans and Africans through hip hop.” Omar Hunter El (also known as Mr HU), Funk Ark, Thaso, and Choppy Chop all provide production for the record.
Some of Asheru’s past collaborators include Talib Kweli, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Pete Rock, Oddisee and many more. Asheru is also part of the Hip-Hop band, the ELS, featuring Slimkat78, Mr. HU, and ZO! of Foreign Exchange fame.
Sleepless In Soweto dopes on November 12.
Listen to the lead single “Gauteng” below. Hit the next page to see the cover art for the album.
Photo: Aniekan Udofia