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Tenor. Image via Facebook.

11 Artists From the New School of Cameroonian Music You Should Know

Here are 11 musicians making huge waves across Cameroon and beyond.

The previous generation of Cameroonian musicians made it so makossa and bikutsi were heard and appreciated on a global scale.

Today, there's a new wave of urban artists taking the country, and beyond, by storm with their unique sounds, through help of the exposure they've gained via social media.


These artists speak in French, English and a variety of local languages and their styles are as varied as the 250 ethnicities in the central African country of Cameroon. They push through boundaries placed upon them by the government and the fervor their countrymen and women have for foreign music rather than that of their own.

We've featured acts like Jovi, Stanley Enow and Reniss a number of times. Take a look at this list of 11 Cameroonian shakers and movers for much more.

Tenor

At just 19, Mengoumou Ayia Thierry,"Tenor" is a rap star, who gained notoriety for his unapologetically unique themes, versatility and tone of voice. In 2014, he turned his passion into a career and has been steadily advancing since. The 2016 release of "Do Le Dab" had kids dancing everywhere. In November of 2017, he became the first Central African Artist to sign with Universal Music Africa. Many are curious to hear what will come of this two album deal.

Mr. Leo

Fonyuy Leonard Nsohburinka or Mr. Leo has come a long way from the military camp in which he was raised in Buea, the South-Western part of Cameroon. Like many other artists on this list, he began singing in a choir. Though often discouraged by the opportunities not afforded to him, Mr. Leo would gain self-confidence and affirmation in the strength of his voice with the help of a friend, who also made this list, Salatiel. From 2010 onward, the two would become music partners and Salatiel would produce many a track for Leonard, under the Alpha Better Records label. In early 2014, they released "E Go Better," the song was a hit with both English and French Cameroonians and sealed his fate.

Presently, his 2017 album, Love Original, is enchanting audiences with it's soulfulness and powerful messages. He's been nominated for an AFRIMMA, signed an endorsement deal with Itel Mobile as brand ambassador and collaborated with artists Hiro, Locko, Magasco and more. He can do no wrong with hits like, "Pray," "Jamais Jamais," "Partout," and "Supporter."

Mink's

Minkada Franck Stéphane aka MINK'S got his start writing raps during school. He and the neighborhood boys were heavily influenced by the likes of Kanye West and Jay Z. He would enter a hip-hop talent search and be signed to Ach4life, shortly after. The singles "Panthere2.0" and "Le gars La est laid" were the viral hits that led to his 2016 album Tranchees2Vie. MINK'S engages his fans with a style comprised of humorously describing the world around him. It resonates with both young and older crowds.

Blanche Bailly

Bailly Larinette Tatah or Blanche Bailly is a songstress with curves for days. She hails from the Baganté tribe and studied in Kumba before leaving for France. In 2015, she left a job in London to pursue her passion for music full time. She burst on the scene with her tracks "Killa," a cover of Locko's "Sawa Romance" and "Kam We Stay." She cites Grace Decca, Longue Longue, Beyonce, and K. Michelle as influences.

Locko

Charles Arthur "Locko" is an R&B; phenom who got his start singing in choir. His covers on Youtube from 2014 led to a deal with BIG Dreams Entertainment in 2015 as well as a Best Newcomer AFRIMMA Award in 2017. The aforementioned comes as no surprise, the love ballads on his album, Skyzo, are to die for, from "Margo" to "Ndutu" to "Sawa Romance." He's set to release his folllowing album, Bridge, on February 9, just in time for Valentine's Day and if the songs "Je Serai La" and "Supporter" are the indications of what we can expect, he's on his way to many more accolades.

Magasco

Tohnain Anthony Nguo, "Bamenda Boy" or Magasco is a Kom tribesman who also got his start singing in church at the age of 6. Today, at 29, he's been nominated as Cameroon's Best Urban Artist and has released the popular tracks "Marry Me" and "Wule Bang Bang". At the end of 2017, he dropped his debut album, Golden Boy, under Empire Company.

Daphne

Daphne Njie Gundem is a Buea-born songstress raised in Douala serenading audiences with her urban pop tracks. Daphne is choir-trained but her sound is a mix of pop, afrobeats, reggae, makossa, bikutsi, and hip-hop. In 2015, her debut album Here To Stay solidified her standing as one of the country's favorites. Last year, she released "Calee" which currently has more than 14 million views and "Jusqu'a la gare."

Salatiel

"Salatiel" Livenja Bessong is a household name with a passion for songwriting and production unmatched by many other artists. His love of music was bred in the church where his father was a pastor. His sounds can't be boxed-in and sound like a mix of gospel, traditional, pop, makossa, bikutsi, hip-hop, ndombolo, jazz, and world music. He's performed alongside artists Meiway, La Fouine, Flavour, Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Magasco, Skales and others.

He founded Alpha Better Records and has himself, Mr Leo, Askia, and Blaise B under the label. His upcoming album, I Am Salatiel, is said to feature Sarkodie, Skales, DJ Neptunez and many more.

Franko

Despite rapping for well over a decade and releasing an album, Kinguè Franck Junior aka Franko's addictive track "Coller La Petite" from 2015 was the global hit that set him apart. Play it in a room full of Cameroonians and observe the frenzy that ensues. The song being censored in his country and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as Niger denying Franko entry into their country, helped catapult the artist and song to major heights. He has topped French charts and toured all over. Fans are curious to see what other gold he has up his sleeve.

Maahlox

Yaounde born and bred Kenfack Jean Jules or Maahlox Le Vibeur is another artist who is consistently censored. His lyrics are full of local colloquialisms that make it impossible for Cameroonians not to listen up when he's speaking. He goes from singing to rapping and fills his music with content that is jarring yet real. Maahlox has released explicit hit songs like "Tuer pour Tuer," "Tu montes Tu Descends," and "tu est dedans," and placed them all on his 2017 album Ca sort comme ca sort.

Though controversial, his Youtube videos are watched by an average of 800,000 fans. Maahlox stands firmly behind his words and gives fans a glimpse into a realm of existence that isn't necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing. He's violent, vulgar, outrageous, provocative, and authentic.

BOY Tag

Tongwa Njopmu is Boy Tag, the rapper recently signed to Stevens Music Entertainment. He's albino and flows in French, pidgin, and a variety of tribal languages. He tells vivid stories with his raps and his productions are as reminiscent of the past as they are based in the present. He's being called the next best thing to come out of Cameroon's hip-hop scene. Despite only having "Mignoncite," "Njoka," "Sauvagerie," and the most recent track "Talla" out, fans are eagerly waiting to hear more.

News

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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Politics
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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