American Afrikan

by e.g. bailey

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"He makes language live!" –Amiri Baraka

"There is so much history, culture and experience packed in American Afrikan that to summarize would be to attempt to summarize all of African American experience." –Jon Behm

"A powerful testament of bailey’s skill of mobilizing poetry for contemplation, remembrance, and a subtle, but no less insistent, call to action. " –Justin Schell

"Whether he’s singing, reciting poetry, or completely silent, Bailey’s masterful feeling for the power of words (and their absence) is felt throughout." –Jon Behm

With co-signs from Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets and the legendary Amiri Baraka, Twin Cities spoken word artist, poet, musician, organizer and educator, e.g. bailey, presents his first full-length album, AMERICAN AFRIKAN, a spoken word concept album that begins in Africa, crosses the Middle Passage, explores America and ends up somewhere that defies easy definition.

Part musical theater piece, part audio chapbook and part performance art experiment, AMERICAN AFRIKAN mixes the beat-influenced poetry of bailey with music that blends hip hop, funk, jazz, electronica and more, creating a sound that is at once progressive and challenging yet smooth and listenable.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that an hour-long spoken word album wouldn’t be much fun to listen to; many aren’t. But as Umar Bin Hassan says in the album’s liner notes, “The sounds on this album are just as important as the words.” Through bailey’s voice, through the Igbo nuns on ‘Oracles of Equiano’, through Aimee Bryant’s rendition of ‘Motherless Child’ and through the album’s diverse sonic palette, AMERICAN AFRIKAN succeeds not just as a piece of literature or poetry, but as a cohesive musical journey.

Producer Katrah Quey, perhaps best known for his work with TC wordsmith M.anifest (who shows up to drop a verse on the ‘American Afrikan’ remix), handles a majority of that music, though Hipgnosis and DJ Limbs shine on a couple of early tracks. The beats compliment the words; sometimes fun and funky, sometimes dark and meditative––but always engaging. The album also features appearances by Twin Cities-based African poets, Ibé Kaba and Sankaradjeki; Mankwe Ndosi, singer for Atmosphere; Dubai jazz ensemble Abstrakt Collision; Midwest emcee Idris Goodwin and others.

Though the music might be what draws people into this album, it’s bailey himself that will keep them there. Crafting a masterful narrative from the first track to the last, he explores identity, history, culture and all the places they intertwine in a way that is always meaningful but never preachy; always heart-felt but never melodramatic. As he says himself: “The project attempts to explore what it means to be an Afrikan today, an Afrikan in America, an American Afrikan. What is this journey historically, metaphorically, poetically? However, you can’t answer that question unless you explore what it means to be American, in post-9/11 America. And because America affects and infects us all, it is also about all of us.”

Deemed a true innovator of the spoken word art form, his charismatic yet rhythmic style dances words with sound in and out of synch with verbal play. One of the most prolific voices and talents in the Twin Cities, Bailey’s work has taken him on travels through the U.S., England, South Africa, France, Serbia and more. He has created spoken word work in film, theater, music and radio. Born in Saclepea, Liberia, and now based in the U.S., he is a founder of several foundational entitles in the local and national community including: MN Spoken Word Association, Tru Ruts Endeavors, the Urban Griots Spoken Word Awards, The Spoken Word and Hip Hop Institute at the University of MN. He has appeared in spoken word commercials including ‘Art Connects’, which premiered during the 2008 B.E.T. Hip Hop Awards, and was featured on the MTV, VH1, MTV Europe, CBS, NBC and other networks, in addition to being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame archived at the Modern Museum of Arts in New York. As he moves effortless between radio, film, theater, and producing, his live performances are always a treat.


released February 23, 2010


1. Professor Goodwin's Preface (featuring Idris Goodwin)
Recorded live at the Late Nite Series, Pillsbury House Theatre, MN
Written + performed by Idris Goodwin
(I. Goodwin)

2. Liberia
Produced by HipGnosis
Music by HipGnosis
Written by e.g. bailey
Features field recordings of Liberian work songs from the Mano Tribe. Voiceover samples of Mayamu Sirleaf + Massa Sirleaf recorded by e.g. bailey in Saclepea, Liberia.
(E. Bailey, E. Young)

3. Love Songs In Middle Passage: Afrikans in America
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant

4. The Unknown Soldier
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Music by DJ Limbs
Written by e.g. bailey
Additional voice by Sha Cage
(E. Bailey, V. Carreon, S. Cage)

5. K Street Blues: The Bailout Plan

6. America (featuring Abstrakt Collision)
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Music by Abstrakt Collision:
Guitar, Sounds: Assaad Lakkis 'Abstrakt'
Drums: Rony Afif
Horns: Julien Mathonnet
Bass: Andre Segone
Written by e.g. bailey
(E. Bailey, A. Lakkis, R. Afif, J. Mathonnet, A. Segone)

7. Verbal Graffiti Radio
Produced by Katrah Quey
Music by Katrah Quey
Written by e.g. bailey
Voiceover by Walter 'Q Bear' Banks
(E. Bailey, D. Hollins, W. Banks)

8. American Afrikan (featuring Afrika 7 <e.g. bailey + Ibé Kaba + Sankaradjeki>)
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Music by Katrah Quey
Written by e.g. bailey + Ibe Kaba + Sankaradjeki
Background vocals by Mankwe Ndosi
(E. Bailey, I. Kaba, J.E. Joss, M. Ndois, D. Hollins)

9. Gemini Cities
Produced by Jerry Stearns
Written by e.g. bailey
Voiceover by Simon Husbands
Introduction written + performed by Sha Cage
Sample of 'Street Cinema (Volume 10)' + 'Street Cinema (Volume 11)' by DJ Stage One. Used by permission.
(E. Bailey, S. Husbands, S. Cage, J. Stearns)

10. Blues People
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Recorded live at Tru Ruts' Urban Revival Series, Trocaderos Nightclub, MN
Music by Andy Shaffer
Written by e.g. bailey
(E. Bailey, A. Shaffer)

11. Home

12. Motherless Child
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Reinterpretation of an Afrikan American spiritual.
All voices performed by Aimee Bryant.
(A. Bryant)

13. Oracles of Equiano
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Music by Katrah Quey
Written by e.g. bailey
Background vocals by Sister Xavier Mariet
English translation of Igbo folk song at the end of the track performed by Sister Maureen Pieta.
Translated by Festus A. Ejiofor + Sister Xavier Mariet + Sister Mary Ezeanya.
Special thanks to Paschal Nwokocha + Sister Mary Ezeanya and the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary ( for helping to bring this recording to fruition.
(E. Bailey, D. Hollins, X. Mariet, M. Pieta)

14. Afrika
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Music by Katrah Quey
Written by e.g. bailey
(E. Bailey, D. Hollins)

15. Tuo Tuo (Liberian Children's Song)
Children's song by siblings + family
Recorded in Saclepea, Liberia by e.g. bailey

16. Afrikan is the New American
Produced by Katrah Quey
Music by Katrah Quey
(D. Hollins)


17. American Afrikan (Space Station One Mix)
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Music by Katrah Quey
Written by e.g. bailey
(E. Bailey, D. Hollins)

18. Oracles of Equiano (Starskie's Pushing Mix)
Produced by Starskie
Music by Starskie
Written by e.g. bailey
(E. Bailey, O. Knabben)

19. Afrika (A Cappella)
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Written by e.g. bailey
(E. Bailey)

20. American Afrikan (M.ANIFESTations Mix) (featuring M.anifest)
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant
Music by Katrah Quey
Written by e.g. bailey + M.anifest
(E. Bailey, K. Tsikata, D. Hollins)

21. This Child Will Be Great

Executive Produced by e.g. bailey + Sha Cage
Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant

Mastered by Scott Radke (Minneapolis, MN)
Photography: Julian Murray Photography + Uchefotography
Art Direction: e.g. bailey
Design: Venus Design
Trú Rúts Endeavors logo design: Elliot Looney
Trú Rúts Endeavors tree logo design: Venus Designs
Speakeasy Records logo design: Elliot Looney
Management + Booking: Oni Management for Tru Ruts Endeavors
612-288-9491 | |

Brought to you by Trú Rúts Endeavors: Harvesting the Tree of Life

All Songs Copyright © 2009 Tru Ruts Endeavors, Inc. All songs published by Verbal Reparations Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. International Copyright Secured.

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"Speakeasy Records" "Tru Ruts | Speakeasy Records" "Trú Rúts Endeavors" "Oni Management", Speakeasy Records Logos, Trú Rúts Logos are trademarks of Trú Rúts Endeavors. © 2009 Tru Ruts | Speakeasy Records, 1224 Quincy Street NE, Suite 140, Minneapolis, MN 55413. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

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Liner Notes by Umar Bin Hassa (of The Last Poets)

The sounds on this album are just as important as the words. The sounds of the sister moaning and groaning. The sound of the saxaphone accompanying a lone voice in the search of his soul and some of ours. The sound of jazz and blues and funk reminding us to just keep it simple, just keep it plain! The sound of your heart and my heart and the struggles, the human struggles, we go through to try to make them one heart. However, when the words do hit us, they hit us, seriously, and profoundly. For instance: a poet cannot be afraid of his or her insides, of his or her insanity. Because basically, that is where most of our inspiration resides.

Somebody once asked me, what does being a poet mean to me? I answered, 'Half the time, I am totally out of my mind, and the other half I'm spending trying to get paid for it!' These young people in Minnesota are just simply doing and doing it very well, just poeting. Thank you e.g. and the rest of Tru Ruts.

Umar Bin Hassan
The Last Poets

Thank Yous

This project is an artistic work as much as it is a celebration of artists I work with, especially Afrikan artists in the Gemini Cities. We've traveled such a long journey, and we're still here, telling our story, through the gift of our people, our art. Love and gratitude to Ibé, Mankwe, Sankara, M.anifest, and all the others I haven't had a chance to work with yet. I'm always honored to be in the presence of talents like Aimee Bryant, Katrah Quey, Hipgnosis, Limbs, Starskie, Abstrakt Collision, and Idris. And when I'm lucky, I get to work with some magicians. Jerry Stearns can create whole worlds with a batch of sounds. Scott Radke takes those worlds and adds dimensions. And there are those that weave the fabric together: Matt Wood, Karin Odell, B Fresh, Julian Murray, Q Bear, Simon Husbands, DJ Stage One, Elliot Looney, Uche, and the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I'm also privileged to have some of my family as a part of the story––my grandmother Mayamu Sirleaf, my mother Massa Sirleaf, my brother Richard, my sister Maratu and other kin. Without Ben Durrant, this project would still be a dream in my head; there is not thanks enough. Thanks to my parents, Rick and Ginny Bailey, for the unwavering love and support. You first taught me what true love is. At times it is the strength that keeps me going. Special thanks as always to Ronald Dorris, David and Betty Klapper, Phyliss, J. Otis Powell!, Carolyn Holbrook, David Mura, Ani Sabare, Rene Ford, Michael Chaney, Sirius B, Pangea, MNSWA, Tru Ruts, Pillsbury, Leeds family, artists in the Twin Cities spoken word and music scene (too many to name), and also to all the folks that have supported my work, booked me for a show, attended a performance, bought a CD or given a word of encouragement. Finally, thanks to all the people I've crossed paths with over the years––friends old and new, family, strangers, mentors, artistic collaborators and fellow travelers––you've all contributed to this journey. Finally, my alpha and omega, Sha Cage and Jordan Vaslekey Bliss Bailey.

Tru Ruts Thank You

Thanks to all the artists, musicians, technicians and staff that make all this possible. They are some of the most talented folks you'll ever meet. All the collaborators, organizations, sponsors, promoters, DJs, radio shows, journalists––you make us stronger. And of course the Ruts Crew: e.g. bailey, Chastity Brown, Sha Cage, Chantz Erolin, Guante, Quilombolas, See More Perspective and Truthmaze. REP YOUR TRU RUTS.



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