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Section Boyz's New Mixtape, 'Soundcheck,' Is Pure Raw Energy

Section Boyz, the South London crew, return with their new 19-track mixtape 'Soundcheck.'

UK rap has been knocking on mainstream doors for a few years now. The growing popularity of artists like Skepta and Giggs means that with some doors, if you have a unique voice and a story to tell, you don’t need the key anymore. Section Boyz have that voice.


After winning the 2015 MOBO award for best newcomers and selling out countless shows—including a surprise Drake appearance at one which caused a frenzy both at the event and on social media, the South London crew return with their new 19-track mixtapeSoundcheck.

Inch, Littlez, Sleeks, Knine, Swift and Deepee set the mood with “Step In.” Gritty and raw from the off, you can imagine the mosh pits forming to this track at a Section Boyz performance. You can hear the continual wheel-ups and crowd mayhem when the beat drops, hence the project’s title.

Section Boyz have tapped into youth sub-cultures and created their own lane and cult following independently. With a range of producers including RudeKid and Pinerobeats, Soundcheck is fast and punchy.

The sound is distinctly British as the group rap with supreme confidence, talking street tales from a London perspective with London slang riddled throughout—“how can a gal be peng and try walk past me?” These guys are unapologetically in your face and they’ve demonstrated skill by intertwining six separate voices to display great chemistry with a range of flows on this project.

‘I Like’ is an outstanding song produced by Heavytrackerz. It helps reiterate where Section Boyz are and where they want to be. They make music you might not fully understand unless you’re from the ends. Soundcheck is ends music. Reality rap. Representative of a lost generation and a perfect example that the UK isn’t all about afternoon tea and biscuits—and the world is finally listening.

Section Boyz know they don’t need endorsement from the industry elites. After the success of their anthem “Lock Arff” and fast tracking to this mixtape, it’s evident that Section know how to make a banger. “Mee Too” sounds horrific. When I say horrific I’m picturing tragic scenes on a dance floor when Section perform this one. I feel sorry for other acts that might perform on the same bill because they’ll get murdered. This is the second Heavytrackerz beat to cause an impressive stir.

The abundance of raw energy is manifested throughout the Soundcheck journey—“go to the meeting with my hood up”—as is their confidence, which borders on playful arrogance at times. The group went up to collect their MOBO award wearing tracksuits. They’re comfortable in their skin and determined to show the world they can be successful by just being themselves.

Consistency is challenging on a project with this many tracks. Especially with so many group members bringing a range of ideas to the table. Soundcheck struggles with variation during its second half and can sound slightly incoherent. However, “Inna” does its best to keep the listener awake as Section depict a ‘world is yours’ mentality with distinguished flow and delivery over an infectious Young Chencs production.

The most intriguing aspect of Section Boyz' journey is their almost cult status within their community. Too many artists are quick to ignore the level they were raised on and head straight to the top by creating music that doesn’t represent them or their people on that ground level.

This crew are confident enough to feel they can represent themselves the way they want whilst remaining grounded. As long as the mainstream continues to highlight very limited voices for the oppressed and struggling people of the UK, those people will always seek a resonating voice wherever they can.

Ever since Skepta mentioned them two years ago on Hot 97 with Peter Rosenberg, more and more people have been sitting up and taking note. Along with the colossal success of Stormzy’s debut album, we cannot ignore the fact that independent, voices for the voiceless in music are currently on a rapid locomotive that won’t stop, even when it reaches its destination.

Section Boyz have their tickets and they’re on board.

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Stop What You're Doing Right Now and Watch Falz's New Video 'This Is Nigeria'

The Nigerian rapper tackles his country's social ills in his very own answer to Childish Gambino's "This Is America."

Nigerian rapper, Falz has been known to use his sharp brand of humor to address social ills in his country. Today he's taken it a step further with the release of a new song and video entitled "This is Nigeria" and the outcome is an audacious, decidedly necessary critique of Nigerian society inspired by Childish Gambino's viral video "This is America."

Falz opens the song with a voice over of his father the lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, discussing the consequences of rampant corruption and exploitation, before adding his own cutting criticism: "This is Nigeria, look how I'm living now, look how I'm living now. Everybody be criminal," he rhymes as chaos ensues all around him.

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Photo courtesy of Nike

The Secret Behind Nike's New Naija Football Kits are Nigerians Themselves

The story behind the bold new uniforms the Super Eagles will be wearing at this year's World Cup.

Partner content from Nike

The new Nigeria football kits are not even out yet, but they're already causing pandemonium with Nigerian press reporting that there have been already 3 million worldwide orders. And it's easy to see why—the designs are daring with a bold nod to Nigerian culture that is very in vogue right now. In addition, UK Grime MCs with Nigerian roots, Skepta and Tinie Tempah have already been photographed in the new jerseys causing a surge of social media chatter about the new look.

But while rock star endorsements and an edgy new design will certainly bring attention, there's no doubt that the real bulk of the demand is due to what is ramping up to be a significant moment in the history of Nigerian football—the 2018 World Cup.



If you don't already know, Nigeria is entering this year's World Cup in Russia with some of the most exciting young players we've seen in years. With youthful talent like Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho—all 21—and veteran Olympic captain Jon Obi Mikel ready to take the field in Moscow all eyes are on Nigeria to advance out of Group D and challenge the world for a chance at the cup.

The plan here is to outdo the teams previous international achievement, the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal in men's football which is commemorated on the home kit with a badge recolored in the colors of the '96 gold medal-winning "Dream Team."

The home kit also pays subtle homage to Nigeria's '94 shirt— the first Nigerian team to qualify for the tournament—with its eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso. But if the allusion to the pasty is subtle, the new supercharged patterns are anything but.

The look of the kit feels particularly in touch with what's going on in youth fashion both in Nigeria and the world and that's no accident. Much of the collection comes in bold print, both floral and Ankara-inspired chevrons, ideas that we've seen entering street wear collections and on the runway in recent years. That's because African and Nigerian style has become a big deal internationally of late. And not just in style, the country's huge cultural industries from Nollywood to Afrobeats have announced themselves on the world stage. This cultural ascendance is reflected in the design.


Courtesy of Nike

"With Nigeria, we wanted to tap into the attitude of the nation," notes Dan Farron, Nike Football Design Director. "We built this kit and collection based on the players' full identities." Along with other members of the Nike Football design group, Farron dug into learning more about Nigeria's players, "We started to see trends in attitude and energy connecting the athletes to music, fashion and more. They are part of a resoundingly cool culture."

In fact OkayAfrica has covered the team's love for music before—even dedicating an edition of the African in Your Earbuds mixtape to John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi & Kelechi Iheanacho's favorite songs to get hyped up before a game. When we asked the charismatic trio, they gave us list that included many of the huge Nigerian artists that we love, like Tekno, Wizkid, Yemi Alade and Nigerian-American rapper Wale and also, perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, Celine Dion.

Nigerian culture has gone global partly through its infectious energy but also because of its vibrant diaspora populations that bring it with them wherever they land. Lagos-born Alex Iwobi whose goal in the 73rd minute to qualified Nigeria for this summer's tournament spent most of his life in London but still reps Naija to the fullest.

"I grew up in England, but Nigeria is my homeland," he says. "When I scored that goal, the players were dancing, the fans were playing trumpets and bringing drums…there was just so much passion and energy. It is always an honor to wear the white and green. To compete this summer is not just our dream, it is also the dream of our fans. Together, we all represent Naija."

This similar energy can be felt in Nigerian communities from Brooklyn to Peckham and even in China. Naija culture is truly global and no doubt the fans will embody the Naija spirit wherever they will be watching the games this summer.

If you're wondering, Nike isn't simply hopping on the Nigeria bandwagon. The apparel company has been sponsoring the Nigerian football since 2015, supplying kits to all nine of the Nigeria Football Federation teams at every level, including the men's and women's senior teams, men's and women's under-20 teams, men's and women's under-17 teams, men's and women's Olympic teams, and the men's beach football team.

So while the kit is available for purchase worldwide June 1, just know that you'll be competing with millions to get your own official shirts for the World Cup. If you are in New York, find the kit for sale exclusively at Nike's 21 Mercer store.

And please join OkayAfrica and Nike on June 2nd for Naija Worldwide as we celebrate Team Nigeria's journey to Russia in style.

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Listen to Adekunle Gold's New Album 'About 30'

Adekunle Gold's highly-anticipated sophomore album is here.

Adekunle Gold's much-anticipated sophomore album, About 30, has arrived.

The 14-track album boasts features from Seun Kuti, Flavor and British-Nigerian soul singer Jacob Banks, who appears on a remix to the popular lead single "Ire." The album sees the artist flexing immense versatility and range as he delivers emotional ballads, folk-Inspired cuts sung in Yoruba, and a few highlife-tinged summer jams.

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