This is the fourth installment of Sankofa’s free “Music With Friends” series, and his sixth free EP in a year if you include “Imaginary Wars” and “Bowl of Politics.” In Vol. 4, Sankofa reconnects with Purify, who provided some beats on Vol. 1. The start it off with the raucous “Invisible Guns,” which takes on the phony gangstas so prominent in hip hop. Over a wailing guitar and horns, Sankofa raps:
“We donâ€™t need wack rap cause the radio already plays it
Too many base it on a fantasy amazement
Gullible audiences, even saw the same flicks
And yet claim that every lie you state is sacred
Is that your CD skipping or the actual song?
The art of repetition has a tactical bond”
Sankofa’s trademark rapid-fire flow and clever, intricate rhymes are on full display here. For those of you not familiar with the Fort Wayne, Indiana rapper, he has the gruff, stentorian flow similiar to Aesop Rock, and a penchant for unusual references and metaphors, like “Iâ€™m Shel Silverstein by the way of Bill Danforth/ looking like a man from a cancer ward,” from “Birkencrocs.” On “Iowa to Indiana,” he explains “that’s the name of the game here, I remain weird/ with the same ears that hear things a little different.” Sankofa is like a Midwestern, sober MF DOOM, in that he meshes his serious criticisms of the world and the music industry in a web of tricky wordplay and crazy one-liners.
The beats are solid throughout, and Purify mixes rock and jazz with boom-bap. The best tracks on the EP are the banging “Rapping Force,” featuring RhymeWise trading verses with Sankofa, and the more subdued “Piece of Paper,” a rap about sobriety. At six tracks, “Music With Friends Vol. 4” is the perfect length, long enough to give you a taste, but free of the filler of the average free mixtape. Sankofa focuses on quality over quantity and delivers. Best of all it is a no-money-down, zero-risk proposition. Go to Obese America and download it now, and buy some of his merch while you’re at it.