The Afrobeat Report
Hi guys. Welcome back to this month’s column. February was one of those times where things were going on left, right and centre, so I’ll spare you the build-up and just cut to the chase. February was the month that saw Africa invigorated by the culmination of its 2013 African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) tournament, it was no surprise that the continent’s artists also found themselves caught up in the hype and festivities. Embracing the spirit of all things AFCON, our very own Afrikan Boy hooked up with Amsterdam based Papa Ghana to rep for the Afro-futurists and thrash it out over the kuduro inspired track, ‘Ghana vs. Nigeria’ produced by DJ Mika Semedo...
Understandably, no event as major as AFCON could leave out Africa’s biggest star (yes you’ve guessed it!), D’Banj, who was bestowed with the task of performing at the closing ceremony in Johannesburg, where appropriately, Nigeria’s Super Eagles went on to defeat Burkina Faso’s Stallions.
Besides all the talk and celebrations around the football, Nigerian media outlets were also buzzing with rumours about a fallout and possible split between Wizkid and his EME label headed up by fellow artist, Banky W. After numerous “indirect” exchanges via what seems to be the new weapon of choice, Twitter, the rumours turned out to be true and Wizzy inked a new deal with Akon’s Konvict Music which will also be home to his new imprint Star Boy Ent where’s he’s already signed frequent collaborator and south London producer, Maleek Berry.
Staying on the subject of Wizzy and Maleek, the two joined forces once again to release the viral video for their infectious anthem, ‘The Matter’ taken from Maleek’s forthcoming producer album and shot by another familiar name to this column, director Moe Musa. Surprisingly, the video faced a lot of criticism for its simplicity with fans and industry expecting the usual glossy visuals considering the success of the track. However, if you ask me what ‘The Matter’ brings is exactly what the scene lacks - no fuss, straight to the point freestyle type videos. If anything, African artists appear too concerned with churning out visuals with the same old fantasy lifestyle ideals (money, girls, cars and clothes) that we see repeated in hip-hop videos; the only thing is, is that it in most of these artists’ cases it couldn’t be any further from the truth.
If that wasn’t enough, Wizkid continued to keep the blogosphere talking when he dropped the long-awaited video to ‘Azonto’ (which did feature some pretty girls), graced the mic for a coveted Tim Westwood freestyle session and was named by Maybach Music rapper Wale as his favourite African artist.
Meanwhile, Londoners DRB Lasgidi continued to gain attention with ‘Shakara’ which was shot on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. At this pace, the threesome made up of Boj, Fresh L and TeeZee, who are relative newcomers to the scene are already showing signs of becoming one of the breakout acts for 2013. Fellow Londoners T-Boy (Don’t Jealous Me) and Rebler teamed up to bring some British flavour on ‘Talking Drum’ – you almost forget that T-Boy’s other day job as a comedian. Mista Silva also shows no signs of slowing down, returning with ‘I Know You Like Am’, an electro infusion of vibrant beats.
Anyone keeping a close eye on the scene in February wouldn’t have failed to notice the sheer amount of music being pumped out by artists eager to get the ball rolling for the New Year; and by the looks of things 2013 might also be the year of comebacks. Case in point, eccentric rapper Itz Tiffany unveiled a confident self-titled track with a video to match. Flashy car and bold outfits aside, the Ghanaian artist shows she possesses genuine rap ability, albeit that her most recent hit ‘Last One’ featuring Castro was nearly two years!
Another artist making a bit of a comeback is Nigeria’s Timaya, who’s changed up his image and revitalized his sound. The energetic rapper debuted his highly-anticipated video to ‘Malo Nogede’ featuring Terry G. The visuals unfortunately didn’t quite match up to the song but I’m sure the track will continue to dominate nightclubs.
We’re all too familiar with the explosion of Afrobeats on these shores, however in recent times international audiences have also succumb to another export - South African (SA) house. Proving just how popular the genre has become, Cape Town played host to its second annual Electronic Music Festival which was saw the likes of prestigious ‘locals’ Shangaan Electro (‘Kulungwani’) and Black Coffee (‘Turn Me On’) take centre stage alongside British-Canadian DJ, Ritchie Hawtin. Keeping on the house theme, SA Producer/DJ Aero Manyelo released the video for ‘Rabo Dlegha’, a playful upbeat track fully loaded with synths that’s guaranteed to get toes tapping.
On a sad note, the Nigerian music industry found itself rocked by the sudden death of Goldie Harvey, a flamboyant singer often referred as the African Lady Gaga. The news of the 31-year-old’s passing broke via Facebook to a massive outpouring of condolence from fans and colleagues. Goldie collapsed shortly after returning to Lagos following her attendance at The Grammys and is believed to have died from complications due to high blood pressure.
That’s it for now - but seeing as there was just too much to fit this month make sure you go and check out the latest releases. Until next time!
1. 2Face – Dancefloor
2. Sarkodie - Y’all Already Know
3. Davido – Gobe
4. L.O.S – Bad Guy P (Remix) ft. Banky W
5. Samklef – Paradise (Remix) ft. D-Black
6. M.anifest – Blue (Chale What Dey Happen)
7. Burna Boy - Touch Your Toes Remix ft. Vector, Dammy Krane & Olamide
8. Atumpan – Akonoba ft. Guru
9. E.L – Go Down Low
10. P-Square – Magical Healing
Words: Nonny Orakwue (@verbal_vixen)