Pa Salieu is Coventry’s hopeful rap star

In 1981, Coventry band The Specials’ seminal hit, a perfect storm of creepy ska and political invective, struck a chord with the British public. On “Ghost Town,” the band mourned the tragic post-industrial demise of their native city, which in their telling was becoming “a ghost town” where “bands won’t play no more.” The song, despite its gloomy, unambiguous political messaging, spent three weeks at number one on the U.K. charts. Not since the band’s 2 Tone heyday has this English midlands city had a homegrown act as mercurial as Pa Salieu. And the young British-Gambian rapper has arrived with a mythological backstory…

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