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Photo by Sarah Ginn.

First Listen: Okzharp & Manthe Ribane Preach Perseverance on ‘Why U In My Way’

Listen to the duo's latest single from their upcoming album.

"Why U In My Way," which we are premiering here, is the first single to Okzharp & Manthe Ribane's upcoming album Closer Apart.

On the song, Manthe soulfully croons about being hopeful and keeping your eye on the price as you go through life's challenges. Over a spacious instrumental by Okzharp, she sings, "Dreamers don't complain, dreamers don't explain/ Don't you fade away, so don't you fade away."


"The song is inspired by obstacles in life and that we shouldn't fade off from our purpose and our journeys," says Manthe in an email to OkayAfrica. "At the end of the day, we shouldn't fade away, and stay driven, and not forget who we are and what we were born for."

"100% agree with Manthe," says Okzharp. "It's primarily about being strong in the face of things beyond your control, and caring for your dreams. It's also about time and how it can distort and bend in different ways. Looking at a diamond is like looking at deep time, it's great. And time is precious. We met an amazing senior gentleman artist at one of our shows who told us that a billionaire can't buy five minutes, and that stuck with us."

Okzharp & Manthe Ribane are a duo but are each based in different places, with Manthe living in South Africa, while the producer is in the UK. The title of their album, Closer Apart, attests to them being far apart, but being brought together by music.

Closer Apart is out July 6 through the UK-based label Hyperdub Records. Catch the duo at their upcoming London show tomorrow (6/20) and at Brooklyn's Afropunk Fest (flyers below).

Listen to "Why U In My Way" below.


Interview
Photo: Shaughn Cooper

Ras Nebyu Is Washington, D.C.'s 'Uptown Lion Walkin'

We talk to the Ethiopian-American rapper about his new album, his Washington Slizzards crew, and the impact of gentrification on D.C.'s music scene.

Ras Nebyu is caught up in the crowd at Howard University's homecoming tailgate, where he can barely walk a block without shaking hands with another person who he knows. Although he didn't attend Howard University, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood forms as much of a part of his narrative as any student.

The Ethiopian-American rapper hails from uptown Washington, D.C., a neighborhood he uses to inform his latest album, Uptown Lion Walkin, a project that pays homage to his ancestral upbringing, as well as his thoughts on making money, love, happiness, and the government.

There's a twoness to Nebyu's identity that allows him to create from a place of historical-cultural reverence while pushing forward new ideas. He was raised in a Rastafarian household by an Ethiopian dad and African-American mother.

Nebyu doesn't hold much back when he speaks, like his music. He preaches about belonging to his community, gentrification and the diaspora. His work serves as a strong soundboard, for not only his Ethiopian community but D.C. natives.

In 2011, Nebyu co-founded the Washington Slizzards, a collective of Ethiopian creatives in D.C. What started as a joke, tacking on "slizz" to everything, became a buzz-worthy crew. Around the same time as the group's inception, he began releasing music into the world.

Nebyu first ventured into making music as a producer, but soon found it frustrating getting artists to use his beats. He decided to begin experimenting with using his own voice and hasn't slowed down since. OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss the new album and growing up uptown.

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Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty, Afro B & Mayorkun Join DJ Neptune On 'Tear Rubber' Remix

Listen to the "All Star Remix" now.

"Tear Rubber," one of the standouts from DJ Neptune's latest album, Greatness, gets a big remix that'll jump start your week.

The track, which originally featured Mayorkun, now gets a massive revisit featuring Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty and Afro B.

All three are potent additions to this laid-back and addictive Young John-produced track which was already getting a lot of spins.

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Listen to Sade's Beautiful New Song—'The Big Unknown'

Sade has graced us with her second single of the year—this time for Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, "Widows."

We now have two new Sade songs to shed thug tears to before the end of 2018, y'all.

The queen herself released a lyric video for her new track, "The Big Unknown." This single will be played during the end credits of Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, Widows, which is due to be released in theaters November 16, Highsnobiety reports.

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