Fort Wayne, Indiana-based emcee Sankofa sounds like he’s been here for a while. At my first listen, the Australian-raised rapper doesn’t have much of his native Aussie accent in his voice. At first, I thought he was a Boston rapper based on his cadence. But no matter the region, the Kindergarten teacher/part-time rapper has an evident dedication to the craft. To that end, a midwestern team-up was inevitable. Joining forces with St. Paul, Minnesota producer Iron Mike Sharp, they’ve combined sampled soundscapes with nicely-crafted rhymes resulting in the eight-track “Iron Kofa Sharp”.

“The Word Grave” kicks off the album with a keyboard loop over boom-bap drums. Sankofa has somewhat of a rough grittiness to his voice, but can deliver back-to-back multis without taking a breath. West coast rapper JON?DOE provides a guest verse, he’s good with multis as well, but the better of the two with wordplay and punchlines. Iron Mike Sharp uses many samples from the matches of the professional wrestler of the same name, and begins the track “Acid Rain Delays” as such. Kofa drops several gems, particularly “it isn’t cheating if the rules don’t apply to them.” The lead single, “Desairology”, has him taking a villainous aggression on the mic (reminiscent of Celph Titled), which is apropos considering the accompanying video contains snippets of Gargamel from the old animated “Smurfs” cartoon:



“Squirm” starts off with a vintage TV series sample before the string samples drop. Kofa makes several references connecting Jerome Bettis to Hacksaw Jim Duggan to even the Proud Boys. Right after that is Iron Mike’s hardest-sounding beat in the form of “Building Buildings”, the way the snares hit in conjunction with the background sample make it a head-nodder for sure. Next up is “Demon Deacons”, which starts with Mike playing up his name, but this time with a Michael Buffer sample. It was here where I realized that though Kofa sounds aggressive, but he’s actually not a hardcore emcee. He has a skilled pen game, flow, and his lyrics are a mix of wordplay, battling, and positivity. He also gets an assist from Cali-based Chuck Brown on this track as well.

Closing out the album begins with “Tomb of Colossus”, which features Brockton, MA rapper G. Fam Black and sports a decidedly moody beat courtesy of its dark piano key samples. The title of “Jorge Campos Fits” reminds me of a tactic from Action Bronson or the Griselda rappers, naming songs after sports figures. In this case, Kofa seems to identify with the retired goalkeeper, but the sole lyrical reference made to Campos pertains to his wardrobe. Sankofa is certainly a skilled rapper, and has a certain stream-of-consciousness style that isn’t completely random. With his abilities, he’d shine more if he’d focus on the conceptual.


Sankofa :: Iron Mike Sharp
6.5Overall Score