With a stylish nod to Euro-dancehall revival of the naughty aughties, Rebel ACA’s release of “African James Bond” is as wonderfully irreverent as it is a nod to artists having a laugh on vintage Trojan Records recordings. Alongside MC French Monkey Wrench, the duo portray chemistry on a level not heard in some time and certainly not captured in such an amusing and freewheeling context.
Cracking open the literal meaning behind Rebel ACA’s track (if such a thing exists) is an exercise in futility, simply because the track itself is concerned with the non sequitur in life – namely when a mate finds his life overtaken by a current love interest. In the musical tradition of pals lamenting over one of their own turning over to the “dark side” as it were “African James Bond” is certainly not the first episode of struggle, nor the most prolific, but its relatability speaks volumes.
It’s through French Monkey Wrench that the track finds its groove, opening up further implications of the turbulent young man in question. With a line such as, “You suppose which way to go/but hey, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll” showing the carelessness one can impose upon their friends as well as the concern the very same friends can display.
A Eurocentric perspective, “African James Bond” is a fun glimpse into the periphery of British hip-hop as well as world urban music. Not often examined and not touted nearly enough, music like Rebel ACA’s is a great primer to this particular facet of the underground.