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Nneka – Concrete Jungle

Released by Epic, 02/02/10

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Oil is rushing out of Nigeria as Nneka sings for the world to hear the troubles that occur in a place that is often ignored. Nneka, who grew up in the delta region of Nigeria, sings of the plight of Igbo people, where her name is from, and mixes it with her personal and political views of her Nigerian homeland.

She splits time between Hamburg, Germany, and Nigeria and Europe and Africa are familiar with her music — an explosive mix of soul, hip hop, afrobeat, and reggae. Loaded with hits in the UK and Germany, her songs are ready to negotiate the U.S. charts.

Concrete Jungle, her first U.S. release, sets out to entertain while also providing a powerful message that inspires action. Her message is as powerful as early Rage Against the Machine.

“Heartbeat” is a fantastic, hypnotic track that illustrates Nneka’s passion. “Africans” strikes as a reggae-style wakeup call to the world to stop oppression and exploitation, and it calls for the people in her homeland to stop blaming others and move forward from the pain without replicating the past. “Focus” lays out a guitar riff that allows Nneka is to nimbly dance with her vocals between her message and soulful genius. Armed with a microphone, her artistic talents are rich and supreme, bringing her complex message to a higher level. She’s reaching across oceans to inhabit eardrums.

Richly textured and an incredible musical treasure, Concrete Jungle is Nneka’s beautiful gift to the world. If any statement can summarize her work, its her own words in the first track, “It’s about giving love, showing love, doing love, living love, making love.”