Ata Kak
(Awesome Tapes From Africa)

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Mysterious electronic-rap-highlife icon from Ghana sees first worldwide release for 1994 cassette.

Ata Kak’s cassette Obaa Sima fell on deaf ears when it was self-released in Ghana and Canada in 1994. After more than eight years of searching, Awesome Tapes From Africa tracked down the mysterious singer with a cult internet following. The music on the recording—an amalgam of highlife, Twi-language rap, funk, hip-hop and electronica—is presented with the sweaty passion of a Prince record and the lo-fi DIY bedroom recording charm of early Chicago house music. The joyous soul and casual brilliance of the recording led to a draw-out search over three continents, culminating in this remastered release.

Awesome Tapes From Africa began in 2006 as an mp3 blog shedding light on regional music scenes and locally-produced cassettes from the African continent. It has grown into an internationally recognized, crowd-sourced public archive, record label and acclaimed DJ project. Ata Kak’s tape was the inaugural post, when ATFA started in 2006. Founder Brian Shimkovitz came across the cassette at a movable stall in Cape Coast, Ghana in 2002. About 50 copies had been pressed in Ghana and released in 1994 but the recording was forgotten as it did not find success. Shortly after its appearance, it developed into an underground obsession among internet music circles. Tribute videos have received more than 100,000 YouTube views.


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