Genocide in Sudan

While the UN still hasn't decided whether Sudan's civil war is dire enough to be officially designated genocide, an all-star group of artists has called it just that, with a compilation intended to increase both awareness and funds (proceeds go toward refugee aid).

As these things go, Genocide in Sudan is miles above the corniness of "We Are the World," but not quite as focused as Sun City or Red Hot + Riot. Exclusive remixes and unreleased songs add collector's-item appeal, and what Sudan lacks in track-to-track consistency, it makes up for in across-the-board diversity. Where else can you find Angelique Kidjo, Bad Religion, Gorillaz, the Pretenders, Antibalas, Mark Farina, Toots & the Maytals, DJ Spooky, and Lee "Scratch" Perry on the same album? Yet Genocide in Sudan never feels like more than just a bunch of songs that have little to do with each other.

Still, the comp does offer some compelling moments, like Jill Scott's vocal performance on "Try," Sleepy Wonder's fluid patois on Thievery Corporation's "Truth and Rights," and System of a Down's sufficiently angst-laden riffage on "NUGUNS." And on the album's best song, "Paint by Numbers," producer Danger Mouse weaves traditional East African string textures into a hip-hop track, perfectly complementing the sociopolitical musings of Murs, who delivers the type of eyebrow-raising social commentary that underlines the connection between global genocide and domestic racism: It happens every day/Different family same plight/But nobody gives a fuck cause the victims ain't....


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