Track of the Day: IJALE Feat. Rara Zulu “Hotlines” (2020)

Melbourne-based Australian-Nigerian emcee IJALE has served up the first taste of his upcoming debut EP Wildly Disparate Sounds with the conceptually powerful, aesthetically smooth “Hotline”.

More than just a song, the hip hop artist has expanded upon the idea of having a safe space for the Black community and other people of colour to vent and process the experience of growing up in a predominantly white society and dealing with covert microaggressions.

Conceived as a kind of audio dial-in, “Hotlines” is a call of solidarity and strength to those who recognise microaggressions from both positions of power and white peers. Importantly, it also sports the contemplative soundscape of the typically socially-conscious Afrocentric raps of the 90’s, aligning more with the likes of Common and Brand Nubian – and on the homefront Sampa the Great and Remi – than a lot of the modern hip hop popping off in the charts right now.

Stitched together with the soulful vocals of Rara Zulu and a gentle production, “Hotlines” is powered by IJALE’s sharp, honest and expressive lyricism, laser focused on deconstructing and illustrating systemic racism for those who understand it, and those who don’t.

“Usually, there is an undercurrent of racism and biases that will suture itself to most interactions between white people and non-white people, whether it is apparent to the former or not, and sometimes the unconscious bias that this brings can cause friction that is only evident to those with the awareness to pick up on it,” explained IJALE. “These instances can be small or innocuous, but in a broader scope, these small instances of discrimination can compound and affect those who bear the brunt of them quite considerably.”

For more on IJALE and to keep an eye out for Wildly Disparate Sounds (released 31st July) head on over to his Facebook.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.

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