By Mama Odé
Brothers Reginald Omas Mamode IV and Jeen Bassa come together as Mama Odé on full length album ‘Tales And Patterns Of The Maroons’. At its core this is a classic “hip hop” format LP – but have you ever heard Creole Sega Rap Roots music before?
Of Creole descent from a group of African islands that transiently have hosted many settlers, west African slaves, colonialists and the potentially indigenous East African-Malagache Maroons; the brothers have an inherent spirit of diversity that runs through their recordings. Musical influences consist of jazz, funk, blues and reggae to un-placeable but definite Afro-drum patterns, through to their Golden-Era-Rap vocal flows, which have a sure nod to ATCQ and Slum Village. The album’s deep grooves overwhelmingly seed optimism, subscribing to a positive future drawn from historically multi-ethnic ancestral lines. The brothers’ natural vocals carry messages of unity, love and well being as well as a conscious questioning of humanity’s ill practices and ideas.
Reginald Omas Mamode IV’s three solo albums – 2016’s s/t debut, 2017’s ‘Children of Nu’ and 2019’s ‘Where We Going’ – received continued critical success from Mojo (“A brand-new-retro delight”), Mixmag (“Peckham beat brilliance”), Q (“Superb”), Record Collector (“Equal parts D’Angelo to J Dilla”), The Wire (“Soul music turned all the way inward”), DJ Mag (“A masterpiece”), Electronic Sound (“Utterly fantastic”) and Bandcamp (“Equally steeped in hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz”). He was also nominated for ‘Album of the Year’ at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards 2017.
Jeen Bassa has carved out a reputation as one of the leading beat-tape producers mixing up slo-mo, mechanised funk with hues of neon soul and blue, jazz notes. With a stream of sold out vinyl LPs under his belt, from 2015’s ‘All My People’ through to last year’s ‘Cassava Pone’, Jeen Bassa’s warm and woozy productions stand out in a world saturated with bland Dilla and Madlib-esque pastiches.
Along with Al Dobson Jr, Henry Wu, Mo Kolours and Tenderlonious; ROMIV and Jeen Bassa have helped forge the extended 22a co-operative that The FADER calls “a kaleidoscopic patchwork of hip-hop, house, and groove investigations bound by one thread: a timeless belief in rhythm as a universal language” and Stamp The Wax say “helped craft a sound that traverses the jazz and lo-fi beats continuum, heavy on percussive elements and informed by countless non-Western musical culture”.