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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.

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Op-Ed: Kanye West In Africa Is Music Marketing At Its Worst

Scream all you want. Feel the euphoria of Kanye moving to our drums, but don't forget he's here for marketing.

One of the most interesting parts of the music industry is the marketing of an album. In developed music markets, accomplished professionals and creatives sit in a room and decide how best they want to sell the music. It's the norm. Many people deliberate and develop a roll-out plan that is improved until it's perfect for execution.

When JAY-Z rented out billboards for 4:44, with everyone wondering what it meant around the world, that is marketing. Mr Eazi drawing a towering mural of himself and Giggs in London, was another marketing tactic to push his single "London Town." Falz created an entire movement filled with conventionally attractive men, and named it the 'Sweet Boys Association,' because he had a single that needed to be sold to fans. Perhaps, what takes the cake in the world of African music marketing is one crazy move by a little known Nigerian artist named Skibii. You see, this guy died and rose again from the dead, just like sweet biblical adult Jesus. He had a single somewhere that needed the attention. Death and resurrection was his thing.

Kanye West is in Africa for marketing. The US rap superstar is holed up at the Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda, surrounded by his friends, colleagues and family. He is here because he has an album to release named Yandhi, and somehow, he found his way to the Motherland, where's he's built two outdoor domes, as his working studio. He isn't working from inside a house like a mere mortal. He's in the wild, connecting to Mother Nature and nourishing foliage. This is Africa, Kanye West is an African-American. His ancestors came from this part of the world. He has a claim to this soil.

Kanye West was supposed to drop his ninth studio album on Saturday, September 29. After two days of waiting, three Saturday Night Live performances, one tweet from Kim Kardashian-West and an appearance on TMZ Live, Yandhi was pushed back to Black Friday, November 23. West admitted that he "didn't finish" the album in time, and a member of his management staff suggested pushing the release back.

"I started incorporating sounds that you never heard before and pushing and having concepts that people don't talk about," West said. "We have concepts talking about body-shaming and women being looked down upon for how many people that they slept with. It's just a full Ye album and those five albums I dropped earlier were like superhero rehabilitation and now the alien Ye is fully back in mode… We're going to Africa in two weeks to record. I felt this energy when I was in Chicago. I felt the roots. We have to go to what is known as Africa."

In Africa, Kanye West hasn't laid low. Photos from his arrival hit the internet, and somehow, he was filmed listening, dancing and vibing to African music. Those songs include Mystro's "Immediately," and Burna Boy's "Ye." The videos have gone viral, Africans are wowed by Kanye's interaction with their music, reactions and takes, Africa is moved by Kanye West interacting with our music. Somehow, I used to think we are over this type of event. The event where an an American superstar, who has a huge fan base in Africa, dances to our music, and we lose it. But I was wrong. This content format still has power.

Scream all you want. Feel the euphoria of Kanye moving to our drums, but don't forget he's here for marketing. His album is about to drop, and he's publicly alerted the world that he needs to be in Africa and its strong cultural influence to complete the project. Everyone is watching, the conversation has global traction, and Africans are supporting him. Since Kanye got heat for his infamous "Slavery was a choice," comment, I knew Africa will become a part of that story. The past week has seen him visit President Donald Trump at the white house, and further moved away from the love of his African-American base in the US. Black people are not behind Kanye West right now. The media is tearing him to shreds. Celebrities are in a social media race to dissociate themselves from him. Many fans aren't proud of their icon. But he is in the Motherland, dancing to its native music, and we can all cheer.

"I'm in Africa recording," he says in a 9 minute video on Twitter about mind control free thinking and his greatness. "We just took them to the future with the dome. The music is the best on the planet. I am the best living recording artist. We, rather, because the spirits flow through me. The spirit of Fela, the spirit of Marley, the spirit of Pac flows through me. We know who the best. We know."

On the surface, Africa appears to be a gimmick. A play by a great artist to expand the story of his album for marketing talking points. Yandhi is already anticipated, and generations after us will study his art and point to this project as the one where Africa played a direct role. This black continent is a marketing tool for Kanye. Son of Fela Kuti, Seun Kuti, has already disassociated Fela Kuti's spirit from Kanye's claims. "On behalf of the Kuti family, I want to state that the spirit of Olufela Anikulapo Kuti isn't anywhere near Kanye West," Seun announced on Instagram.

Perhaps marketing isn't Kanye's only reason for his African trip. Maybe, the world is too harsh on Kanye West and his new level of introspective vibrations. Maybe we aren't seeing the bigger picture. Oh gosh! We might all be victims of this grand mind control programme that West talks about! What if Kanye West is on these shores for some actual influence? Africa has a rich spectrum of sounds, laden with enough culture, soul and character to influence any type of music. From Cairo down to Lagos, there's enough music to add colour.

A clear way for justification of his African trip is perhaps for Kanye West to give back. He is connecting to the 'roots' after all. He is soaking in the energy for inspiration. Perhaps he might actually get to work with an African artist while on the continent. Already, Perhaps Africa's contributions to the project will be anchored by an African. Already, in his creative dome, Ugandan producer extraordinaire, Benon Mugumbya, has been pictured. If he gets some of that Yhandi shine, it wouldn't hurt.

Kanye officially has to be the first hip-hop star to make a trip to the continent for direct inspiration since Africa began to hug the spotlight as an interesting market for global music players. Recent years have witnessed the penetration of African music into global pop spaces. Africa has become the new cool. And as her sonic influence grows, more artists would continue to find new ways to interact. Kanye is making a splash with this. Perhaps, he will be the inspiration for more exchange between Africa and Europe.

Perhaps, his music isn't his true reason for this trip. Maybe Ye just wants to get away from the madness from the USA, and go find Wakanda. Maybe he will discover Ye-Kanda. Either way, only the final version of Yhandi will contain the answers that we seek, and Kanye West's true intention. For now, he is already winning. All those marketing points are already helping the project.

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Belgium's First Black Mayor Is a Congolese Immigrant

Pierre Kompany, who came to Belgium from the DRC as a refugee in 1975, was elected mayor of a Brussels borough this week.

Pierre Kompany, a Congolese immigrant and father of professional football players Vincent and Francois Kompany, has been elected mayor of the Ganshoren borough in Brussels, BBC reports.

This is a history-making moment, as this victory makes Kompany Belgium's first black mayor.

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Family of Abducted Tanzanian Billionaire Offers Reward for Information on His Whereabouts

The family of Mohammed Dweji, Africa's youngest billionaire, is offering $437,000 for information that will lead to his safe return.

Latst week, Tanzania's richest man and Africa's youngest billionaire Mohammed Dewji was abducted outside of an upscale hotel in Dar es Salam. His whereabouts still remain unknown, and now his family if offering a hefty financial reward to anyone with information that will help lead to his safe return.

Dweji's family is offering 1 billion Tanzanian shillings (~$437,000) to anyone with information on his whereabouts. reports Forbes.

"We would like to thank God, and applaud the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and its institutions for the hard work they are currently doing to make sure that our beloved son is found," says Azim Dewji, the family spokesperson. "We urge you to continue keeping MO in your prayers as our nation continues the search for him."

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