This is something of a wet dream for us Bay Area folk, a captivating mix CD of songs by the late Nigerian Afrobeat bandleader Fela Kuti put together in an ultimate DJ set by Chief Xcel of our own home-grown hip hop act extraordinaire Blackalicious. Artists given a monumental task such as this normally use it as an opportunity to showboat, but with Xcel the opposite is true. His presence throughout the mix is subtle -- you might have to keep your eyes glued to the digital display to notice the smooth transitions. He doesn't try to turn it into a hip hop mix. Instead he shows proper reverence to the material by not inciting a scratchfest or something similarly distracting. He takes care to move from one song to another by matching their keys or simply their moods, displaying a real technical ear in addition to an emotional one. Xcel has said that he hopes to curate future Fela Kuti projects, which is great, though this is enough of a... More >>>