Ethiopia’s regent from 1913 to 1930, Haile Selassi is a beloved figure in African history thanks to his political thought and commitment to internationalism, as well as the reforms instituted during his reign. (The Rastafari movement even hailed him as God incarnate, though he didn’t share their view.) He was not known for being a master martial artist, but that doesn’t stop Pharoahe Monch from busting out some Haile Selassi Karate on a new single off his junior full-length. A dense melange of allusions to politics, spirituality, African history and civil rights struggles, Monch’s bars come backed by the chopped-sample boardwork of Samiyam. Mr. Porter of D12 provides hook vocals, and Tim Gregory directs the official visuals, shot in Mitchell’s Plain, South Africa. Fans can find Karate and much more on the Booth-acclaimed W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), available in stores and online as of March 2011.
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