There's no doubt that Baaba Maal is in the pantheon of world renowned and eternal African musicians who broke sonic barriers along with Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, and Youssou N'Dour. He takes clear risks with new sounds and doesn't regurgitate the upbeat post-reggae sound that made him famous. Taking a bit of inspiration from recent popular acts like Bombino and Tinariwen, Baaba Maal transforms his distinctly Senegalese sound by teaming up with a Western producer. Having previously cut his teeth with M.I.A. and Coldplay, Johan Hugo Karlberg adds elements of electronic dance and strips away Baaba Maal's large band to make a sparser, grittier album. Guitars that feel right out of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western soundtracks blare against a cacophony of vocals and percussion that almost feels disorienting. Maal takes himself out of the optimistic comfort zone for which he's known and is stripped away for a raw sound that feels influenced by hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar and Drake. But this is Maal's album, and his distinctly soaring vocals steal the show. Against the sparse backdrop of the music, his voice feels more naked and stark than ever before. At 62 years old, the Senegalese pop hero still captures your ear and makes sure you're listening.