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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

A new compilation of African hip-hop puts the spotlight on the issue of migration. Artists from across Africa describe the allure of living abroad in Europe or America, but also the many pitfalls. The CD is called "Yes, We Can: Songs About Leaving Africa."

Banning Eyre has this review.

(Soundbite of song, "Money Talk")

RAPTUROUS (Rapper): (Rapping) Gimme the glitz, the glamour, the fame, the fortune, that euro, that dollar, that Dolce and Gabbana, holler my name like Obama - Im powerful. (unintelligible) thats how I look. European cars thats how I move. Thats how I should, not how I would. Big in the movies. Im Hollywood. See me on TV. Hear me on CDs. Still on the money talk. When the money talks. On the rooftop just like Donald Trump.

BANNING EYRE: If you were a young person living in Africa, chances are you'd jump at the chance to try your luck in a foreign city like Paris, London or New York. You'd probably also have little idea about the realities you might face there. That arc of allure, danger and disillusionment is the stuff of this unique compilation.

Rapturous of Nigeria raps about the glitz and the glamour of European life, while his countryman Modenine reveals the flip side of the coin in the song "Green Passport."

MODENINE (Rapper): (Rapping) To them, Im just another green passport, potential: criminal, intelligence: minimal. Thats why they choose to treat me like a juvenile. Piss on me just to catch their trips. In Italy, immigration almost made me flip. I told them off time and time Im too legit to quit. Im not a crook. No. So why the hell you give me lip? All I got was: Sir, we dont believe you, strip. Im Nigerian, so I got a green passport. with a green passport you can pass forth easily. Immigration steady quizzing me.

EYRE: Plenty who leave Africa dont have any passport at all. That includes thousands who took to the seas in small boats from the Senegalese coast, heading north for Spain in 2006. Some 7,000 died before they even had the privilege of being harassed or discriminated against.

(Soundbite of music)

V.A. CAPSI REVOLUTION (Music Group): (Singing in foreign language).

EYRE: The Senegalese collective V.A. Capsi Revolution, rapping in French and Wolof here, lay out the rationale for water-bound migration, but the songs final rapper calls it a suicide mission and bids his peers not to give up on Senegal.

This CDs liner notes translate all these non-English raps, a huge plus.

(Soundbite of music)

V.A. CAPSI REVOLUTION: (Singing in foreign language).

EYRE: Many of these artists have lived the immigrant life, and their hybrid sounds and world-weary raps offer an unsparing view of the African urban landscape. They also take the glamour out of life as an immigrant, which always includes pressure from back home to send cash from the land of milk and honey.

Somali rapper K'Naan celebrates the Western Union connection on a song called 15 Minutes Away."

(Soundbite of song, "15 Minutes Away")

Mr. K'NAAN (Singer): (Singing) She sent me Western Union so I can make it to him. It felt so good when she said write this 11 digits. I go (unintelligible). I'm desperate, and I need it. Feels like an angel speaking. I can hardly believe it.

EYRE: African Boy, a Nigerian living in London, finds a dubious solution to poverty in his playful celebration of shoplifting.

(Soundbite of music)

AFRICAN BOY (Singer): (Singing) (Unintelligible).

EYRE: These days, singing the pride of African nationalism is old school. The artists on this CD bring both new musical energy and raw candor to the table.

Senegalese veteran Awadi lays the blame for the 2006 boat exodus squarely on the failures of his countrys leaders. That is brave. And this compilation is your ticket to a whole new world of African music-making.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified People (Singers): (Singing in foreign language)

BLOCK: Banning Eyre is senior editor at afropop.org. He reviewed the new compilation "Yes We Can," songs about leaving Africa.

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