It Began In Afrika

Album: Come With Us (2001)
Charted: 8


  • 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

Howard Jones

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.

Which Songs are About Drugs?

Which Songs are About Drugs?Fact or Fiction

"25 or 6 to 4" to "Semi-Charmed Life" - see if you can spot the songs that are really about drugs.

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of WayneSongwriter Interviews

The guy who brought us "Stacy's Mom" also wrote the Jane Lynch Emmy song and Stephen Colbert's Christmas songs.

Corey Hart

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."

The Evolution of "Ophelia"

The Evolution of "Ophelia"Song Writing

How four songs portray Shakespeare's character Ophelia.

Ben Kowalewicz of Billy Talent

Ben Kowalewicz of Billy TalentSongwriter Interviews

The frontman for one of Canada's most well-known punk rock bands talks about his Eddie Vedder encounter, Billy Talent's new album, and the importance of rock and roll.