It Began In Afrika

Album: Come With Us (2001)
Charted: 8
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This was originally released as a promo to DJs as "Electronic Battle Weapon 5" and was renamed after becoming a hit in the clubs.
  • This samples the title track of Jim Ingram's 1974 album Drumbeat. Jim Ingram produced various soul and spoken word albums in the 1960s and 1970s. His track "Drumbeat" was sampled not only by The Chemical Brothers but also by Norman Cook in the Urban All Stars' track also called "It Began In Africa."
  • The Chemical Brothers were asked by Planet Dust if Jim Ingram's vocal sample in "It Began in Afrika" inspired the rest of the song:
    Tom Rowlands: "The vocal helped make sense of the song. With all the twists and turns of the drums, it is like a full-on drum solo for 9 minutes. The idea was future primitive. You get loads of percussive house records that are just okay; we wanted one that was mad, using percussion in a really intense way rather than in a vibey way."

    Ed Simons: "Those records never have that winding acid sound - that head element that we like. 'Afrika' started with getting a groove that [percussionist] Shovel could play to. The 303 stuff, which was done using [Propellerhead] ReBirth, is pretty simplistic, and it works in that environment. The track took ages, but the elements came together pretty quickly. The real killer was to get the right bass drum sound - one that was powerful and thick enough to cut through all the percussion and give it a four-to-the-floor feel, but without swamping the whole track. There are millions of elements, but it is basically a driving acid track with demented percussion and a powerful four-to-the-floor bass drum."

    They were then asked where they found the vocal sample.
    Ed Simons: "That is a spoken-word thing by this political activist, Jim Ingram, from his record called Drumbeat. We knew it from Jungle Brothers records. We had never used samples from other people's records before, but it fit so well." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above

Comments: 1

  • Martin from Rostock, Germanywhy is "Afrika" spelt with a "k", like in the German spelling of "Africa"? does anyone know?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)Songwriter Interviews

The co-writer/guitarist on many Alice Cooper hits, Dick was also Lou Reed's axeman on the Rock n' Roll Animal album.

Judas Priest

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.

Kevin Godley

Kevin GodleySongwriter Interviews

Kevin Godley talks about directing classic videos for The Police, U2 and Duran Duran, and discusses song and videos he made with 10cc and Godley & Creme.

Sam Phillips

Sam PhillipsSongwriter Interviews

Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind - Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand, is a fan.

Director Wes Edwards ("Drunk on a Plane")

Director Wes Edwards ("Drunk on a Plane")Song Writing

Wes Edwards takes us behind the scenes of videos he shot for Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and Chase Bryant. The train was real - the airplane was not.

Evolution Of The Prince Symbol

Evolution Of The Prince SymbolSong Writing

The evolution of the symbol that was Prince's name from 1993-2000.