Do you have to know what a singer is saying during a song to enjoy it? After listening to the latest hip-hop and metal albums this month, the answer is obviously, no. So what is it that allows us to enjoy the song? Some say the feel, others say it’s how we interpret the sounds.

Strut Records decided to put this to the test by releasing Next Stop…Soweto. This compilation reaches all the way back to the ’50s to pull together songs that illustrate the impact the indigenous sound of Africa had on jazz all the way to modern times.

The arrangements are amazing; hands down the best fusion jazz I’ve ever heard in my life. The blend of two cultures mixing together is a rarity in a day when 90% of the music on the radio sounds manufactured and uninspired.

The album features vocalists from every decade and presents high-energy anthems and slower rhythmic tunes like “Zwe Kumusha.” But the highlight of this record isn’t the range of sounds, but the fact that you can hear the birth of reggae in almost every song. It was born here and this is what led to the creation of ska and several other types of music. Pick this album up, if not for the beautiful sounds, at least for the historical significance.