The Lafayette Afro Rock Band — ‘Malik’

In essence, nearly everyone in the western hemisphere has heard at least five seconds of The Lafayette Afro Rock Band’s (once upon a time known as ICE) work, though most of those said people wouldn’t know that themselves. Given the sheer popularity of Hip-Hops Public Enemy’s track, ‘Show ’Em Watcha Got’, as well as Gorillaz’s hugely popular ‘Dirty Harry’, the proof is pretty much there, as those two songs, like many others, have samples that root all the way back to seventies-era Paris.

Yes, it could be said that The Lafayette Afro Rock Band are in line with all of the other funk and jazz ensembles that were exploited from the mid to late eighties as Hip-Hop producers sought to dig ever deeper than their competitors in order to find the most unique, distinct and unheard tracks such as ‘Congo’ and ‘Darkest Light’ that were rife with perfect instrumentals; excellent for a lead line for an emerging artist — that couldn’t necessarily afford to pay top dollar for well-known records.

These reasons were probably what pushed for the reissue of the insanely popular, yet still, severely underground second LP from TLARB, titled ‘Malik’ — mainly in the US, where amusingly the ensemble failed to create any atmosphere upon their initial formation. It is worth noting that it was this lack of success which drove the group to Paris, where they lived within a district, known as The Barbès, which was home to large amounts of North African immigrants, resulting in a crossing of cultural influence. Soon enough, with their new Afro-Funk tone, the group were picked up by Pierre Jaubert who made them his session band in his Parisian studio, Parisounds.

It is, subjectively speaking, their time with Jaubert in Parisounds and their interactions within the Barbès community that lead to them becoming one of the few most thought-provoking funk-styled acts that appeared from Paris in the seventies; and yes, there were a few. Contrastingly as well, what ‘Soul Makossa’ lacked in enjoyment and fulfilment, ‘Malik’ seems increasingly prevalent after each play-through. However, collectors be warned. Despite the various TLARB reissues, there are still bootleg copies of this record that are still being placed into the market.



Music and society writer based in Manchester / Zine Creator @ Knee_Xap / /

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