Decades ago, Deborah Harry and Chris Stein went to a party in Harlem and discovered Grandmaster Flash and the Wheels of Steel. Weeks later, the first white rap song hit the top 10. And now, decades later, Shinsekai appropriates white culture appropriating black culture by reinterpreting Blondie’s hit song Rapture with tribal rhythms, Kiki Hitomi’s vocals, and ambient waves of synth.
But as good as it is, the aforementioned track, “Step Into the World,” might be the least interesting thing about Waqwaq Kingdom. It’s an album that defies genre by pounding through dozens of them in rapid succession. Dub. Ambient. Pop. Psych. House. Bass. Reggae. Global. Electronic. Hitomi is taking a break from King Midas, her “day job band,” and we should all be grateful she did.
This is the perfect album for a interconnected, mixed-race world, a place where nothing is just one thing, and everything’s connected.