London’s Shumba Masaai and Lisbon born producer Mathematics initially met working as kitchen porters but reconnected to create ‘Flavour’. And aren’t we glad they did.
The track opens with the playful crackle of a balloon being blown up, ‘billin’ flavours, smoking the fruits of my labour’, Shumba spits, and as though taking a deep breath inward, we’re transported to spaced -out worlds of rich sound and pleasingly cryptic metaphor.
You have to hold on tight, the beat and flows switch swiftly. The production holds the jazz – hip hop eclecticism of Flying Lotus with added percussion that shows the pair share a broad taste.
It might even leave you a little light-headed. But the conviction and poise of Shumba’s delivery guide you through and it’s a compelling journey. He describes the track as ‘just about celebrating life, enjoying yourself and being careful who you surround yourself with, it’s a freestyle train of audio thought’. It’s fun, free and can definitely get you dancing, but as with many of his tracks, ‘Flavour’ is an invitation to better understanding Shumba’s worldview and experience. Shumba describes ‘playing with the complexity of identity in the diaspora community, combining the London experience with Zimbabwean identity’. He seeks to ‘use music to unite the diaspora and tell his story as an African immigrant.’
Already demonstrated through tracks on the AK Suttin’ remix series, ‘Flavour’ further demonstrates Shumba’s ability to synthesise different sounds and influences, resulting in a fusion that is innovative, ambitious and finished with finesse, there’s nothing quite like it.