Nonny’S Afrobeat Report
Welcome back to my latest column! Last month, I told you about the sudden break-up of Mo Hits Records, the brainchild of D’Banj and Don Jazzy. Well, in what could be only described as a swift move, Don Jazzy recently announced the launch of his all-new Mavin Records (made up of the former Mo Hits camp, minus K-Switch – who has been replaced by top Nigerian songstress, Tiwa Savage) with the release of their 'Solar Plexus' compilation album. It’s definitely going to be an interesting few months, that’s for sure.
Meanwhile, here in the UK, the spotlight continued to fall on the newest exotic arrival to the music scene. For the first time, 'The Camden Crawl' played host to the ‘Afrobeats Music Stage’, headed up by DJ Abrantee, so I went down to check it out and soak up the sights. However, to my disappointment (and many event-goers), we were met by an empty stage with very few performances and little music. Luckily, this summer is brimming with festivals and concerts featuring Afrobeats, so I guess I’ll have to try my luck again. I’m especially looking forward to seeing Wizkid hit The Hammersmith Apollo stage in June.
D’Banj was again in London, but this time it was to promote the UK release of ‘Oliver Twist’ – causing quite a stir amongst various popular figures within the UK music industry. It looks like the work paid off, as 'Oliver Twist' hit the No. 9 spot in the UK chart singles chart last weekend. Lebete! In an unprecedented move, BBC 1Xtra launched 'Afrobeats Week', spearheaded by the station’s very own DJ Edu, fusing Afrobeats tracks and features into all its shows. One of the highlights definitely had to be the special 'Afrobeats Live Lounge', which featured Sneakbo, Skepta and Donaeo performing tracks with an African twist. Kiss FM also joined the Afrobeats train this month by airing an Afrobeats mix straight after Logan Sama’s grime show.
The new music trend has really spurred on black British artists of African descent to dabble with sound and I’m well informed that both Tinie Tempah and Tinchy Stryder have collaborated with some top African artists, which should be extremely interesting. This month even saw the re-emergence of former funky house MC, Tribal Magz – who is now trying his hand at the genre with his new tune, 'Azonto Skank'. If that wasn’t enough, Ruff Sqwad’s Prince Rapid called on one of Ghana’s hottest rapper, E.L, to lend his vocals to ‘Fine Lady’. I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t any sign of this Afrobeats train slowing down anytime soon.
Words: Nonny Orakwue (@Verbal_Vixen)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)