SMOD is a musical group from Mali formed in 2000. The original members are Sam, Mouzy, Ousco and Donsky, although Mouzy has now left the band to pursue a solo career. Their name is an acronym of Sam, Mouzy, Ousco and Donksy’s names. Smod is also a term of endearment for a loved one. Sam is the son of the Malian musical couple Amadou & Mariam and formed the band with his other school mates at the Lycée Biya, a progressive high school in the Sogoniko district of Bamako. The band performs a mix of rap, hip hop, folk and traditional music. Dubbed as afro-rap, SMOD were always fans of hip-hop, but it was liberal outlets like the show Generation 21 and Radio Kayira (a.k.a. the radio station of the voiceless), which gave them better exposure to other local talent. Kids on the street would get involved in these programs and have their own free flow jousts between rappers as well as dance showdowns.
“Africa needs to speak out right now. Africa must stop crying. Africa is hungry, OK? In Europe and America, people eat so as not to feel hungry. In Africa, people eat when they’re hungry. Everything is very very different, you know?” – Ousco
The group released their self-titled album in 2010 which was produced by Manu Chao. Their sound, funky and driven by acoustic guitar, is anchored by programmed rhythms which serves as the perfect platform to rap or sing over with clear harmonies. Below is a track “Les Jeunes Filles du Maliba” from their first major release. The track glides along and swings with their stylish rapping weaving in and out of the song. Enjoy their great video directed by Yannick Do. I’m sure SMOD will hit their mark at globalFEST 2012, which will mark their U.S. debut.