Zambia’s pioneering Hip Hop artist Holstar and Malawi’s own iconic rapper/producer Dominant 1, who have collaborated many times over the years, have now further solidified their relationship with a new EP titled African Diamond. Produced entirely by Dominant 1, the six-track cross-continent effort celebrates the African identity and unity with the truest form of black excellence possible.
African Diamond provides a modern boom-bap soundtrack for the motherland with an indigenous twist. Dominant 1’s production serves as an exciting backdrop for the commanding voices possessed by himself and Holstar, as they express their African pride and love for women across this release. He describes the experimental sound of the EP as ‘Illectric Soul‘ – a mash-up of Lo-Fi Hip Hop, Trap Soul, Neo-Soul and Reggae.
The EP begins with the anthem-like title track, followed by Lost Generation, featuring Kim of Diamonds. Holstar and Dominant 1 then share gems for the grind on Dolla Circulate and inspire women to be strong and independent on Do It Yourself.
Malawian poet Q Malewezi joins the two rappers with a fitting closing poem on Africa Is, which samples The Wings of Africa by Zambian rock band Musi O Tunya. Dominant 1 says Holstar presented the classic Zambian record to him, after which he sent a beat within 30 minutes. “It was a process but we managed to clear the sample on it, which was a big thing to do,” says Holstar.
African Diamond then ends with Mulanje’s Kabompo, featuring Ariel. “The story behind Mulanje’s Kabompo is Mulanje is the tallest mountain peak in Malawi and then Kabompo is the deepest river in Zambia,” says Holstar. “So we wanted to play with that kind of saying – a love which is so deep like the deepest river in Zambia and gets you higher than the highest mountain in Malawi.”
Dominant 1 says, “We have the same fans so it was only fair that we did this EP.” Holstar and Diamond 1 have been collaborating since over a decade ago after meeting through the social network MySpace. They have featured multiple times on each other’s albums as well as other artists’ albums and mixtapes.
Holstar has been at the forefront of creating the music industry in Zambia and a vanguard in promoting and providing opportunities for fellow Zambian artists. Likewise, Dominant 1, now residing in South Africa, has played a similar role in neighbouring Malawi as one of its leading Hip Hop artists.