Introducing '3rd World Hippy' Bara Blaque

Okayafrica spoke to Nigerian/UK "Third World Hippy" emcee Bara Blaque, who along with Tosin Kuti and K!T makes up London hip-hop trio The Koup.

Nigerian/UK-based emcee Bara Blaque recently entered our radar with his screwed and chopped single "3rd World Hippy." Spitting hypnotic wordplay that raises both the specter of Top Dawg's Black Hippy as well as comparisons to A$AP Rocky's debut, Bara co-fronts London hip-hop trio The Koup along with fellow Afro-British wordsmiths K!T and Tosin Kuti (who recently unveiled the jazzy standout "Shame"). We're looking forward to what 2014 has in store for the collective. In the meantime, the Third World Hippy filled us in on what to expect from his Naija-groomed projects. Watch the monochromatic takeover below (it's trippy as a mother) and scroll on for our interview with the Koup's Bara Blaque.


OKA: First, can you introduce yourself?

Bara: What's up my name's Bara Blaque 1/3 of the Koup.

OKA: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Bara: Well I was born in the late eighties in one of, if not the greatest city on earth, London. I moved back to Nigeria when I was nine years old and frequently went back during the holidays or any chance I got to. I did a lot of travelling, and have been all over the world, shout out my pops for the hook up (a retired pilot). As a boy it really broadened my perspective of the world back when I was in boarding school. I lived in Nigeria for 9 years and moved back to London when I was 18. Which is where I currently live. I still visit Nigeria once in a while to see the family. I have infinite love for London, love the city to death, but Nigeria is a major part of my life so they have my heart 50/50, some nights 60/40.

OKA: Any Nigerian artists you're listening to these days?

Bara: I'm a serious Fela (RIP) fan and I'm really feeling Jesse Jagz movement. The guy is just projecting an amazing vibe. I've been bumping Burna Boy. Wizkid is a genius. It's a bit dulling sometimes because I don't speak Yoruba but once in a while I get one of the homies to translate for me. "Kondo" by Dagrin (RIP) is still one of my all time favourites.

OKA: Favorite spot for Nigerian food in London?

Bara: For Nigerian food I would say my yard I've got a couple pretty women who come round to cook for me. They add in ingredients these restaurants missing: couple ounces of Love, but faaji is sick. I live in northwest London so whenever I can't get the food cooked I get some Lekki Kitchen or Kilburn's D'Den.

OKA: What is Third World Hippy?

Bara: As a body of work "3rd World Hippy" is a masterpiece to say the least. As a title I'd say it's anyone who is true to oneself and looking for the advancement of the human race as a society, putting aside any prejudice and breaking all mental barriers while having a muthaf-ing good time (excuse my french) bumping that Koup ISH. OR third but not least, "3rd World Hippy" is simply me. The forever advancing, vibe switching, ass kicking, name taking, game changing, rhyme slinging West African lyrical peace keeping tyrant.

OKA: What is the Koup? What brings you guys together?

Bara: The Koup is the new hip-hop holy trinity. And that's universal hip-hop, not just Africa or the UK or America or Jupiter, anywhere everywhere anyhow. As for what brings us together, we're really good friends, in fact, brothers, a mutual respect for each other's craft and beliefs. A lot of people have asked us to switch to afro beats or make a certain type of music but we stand by the same ideals. We see the world in a very similar way and are all addicted to rap. We call ourselves the three headed beast, 3 heads one body. I would also say our insatiable appetite for greatness. We are all students of rap and literally studied the game for years. I've been writing rhymes for atleast a decade. We have non-stop conversations about the game, which can get a bit boring to some of our friends or people we meet. We have huge plans to change rap and make hip-hop truly universal. We're here to make history, not just music. Richest black man and black woman are both respectively Nigerian, only right its the same for the best hip-hop artist of our time. It's time to bring hip-hop home and we are the ones to do it. It's the Koup.


The Ethiopian Government Has Asked Olympic Runner In Exile, Feyisa Lilesa, to Return Home

After two years in exile, the Olympic athlete will return home and receive a "hero's welcome."

Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian runner who went into exile in 2016 after bravely protesting the Ethiopian government's brutal treatment of its Oromo population at the Rio Olympics, has been invited to return to home.

After living in self-imposed exile United States for two years the marathoner, who demonstrated by crossing his fists as he reached the finish line and claimed the silver medal, has been extended an offer to return to his homeland and compete for his country once again by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and the country's Olympic committee. According to VOA News, the runner will return home in the coming weeks with his wife and children.

"Athlete Feyisa Lilesa has scored great results at the Rio Olympics and other athletics competitions enabling Ethiopia's flag to be hoisted to great heights," read a joint letter from the two athletics organizations.

"We want Lilesa to return to his home country to resume his athletics competition and upon his return we are prepared to give him a hero's welcome."

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Image via GovernmentZA's Flickr.

Could Justice Finally Be on the Horizon for Marikana Massacre Families?

New evidence suggests that the police intended to kill all along.

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre, when 34 mine-workers were gunned down by police after several days of wage disputes at Lonmin Mine in Rustenburg, North West province. New information was recently uncovered that undermines the police's longstanding claim that they acted in self-defence. If anything, it is a glimmer of hope for the families of the victims that remain left behind in the aftermath of that tragedy.

It was the worst mass civilian killing since the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, where South African protesters were killed for opposing the Apartheid regime. The Marikana Massacre, in contrast, was the tragic consequence of week-long wage disputes and clashes between miners and the South African police.

While media footage appears to show the miners as the victims, police have always argued that they were acting in self defence. Consequently no officers involved have been charged. Instead, the surviving mineworkers face murder charges under the doctrine of common purpose. But unnerving facts have come to light that seem to make the police argument even less likely. This includes the ordering of 4000 rounds of live ammunition and several vans from the mortuary the day before the massacre.

I cannot even begin to unpack my anger and frustration at this terrible irony.

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Remembering Aretha Franklin and Her Heartfelt Connection With Nelson Mandela

In honor of the Queen of Soul's immeasurable impact, we revisit her passionate support of Nelson Mandela, and the anti-apartheid movement, through her musical tributes.

Iconic singer, Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul" passed away on Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Franklin was considered by many to be the greatest singer of all time. Her influence on popular music cannot be overstated. The legendary artist sold 75 million records and earned 18 Grammys in a career spanning six decades and she was influential in many global social movements as well.

Having been a widely-embraced public figure for so long, Franklin was present for some of the biggest events of the 20th century, including the funeral of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.

Upon Mandela's release, the singer played a unique role in welcoming him to the States by performing at a freedom rally in his honor in Detroit. Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Stevie Wonder were also in attendance for the historic night. During the celebration, Franklin called the anti-apartheid leader on stage, where he spoke about listening to and appreciating "the Detroit, Motown Sound" while he was in prison.

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