African Music at New York's CMJ Festival

It's that time of the year again in New York City when virtually every band in existence migrates to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn to play the CMJ Music Marathon. Being an American "college music" festival (that's College Music Journal), its waves of showcases and concerts are generally fronted by Northern indie acts. But that's not to say Africa isn't represented, below are a few select events featuring music from the continent:

- Society HAE's Afrika 21 Showcase with Nomsa Mazwai (South Africa), Kahli Adbu (Nigeria), Sheba (Ehtiopia), Chief Boima (Sierra Leone), Lamin Fofana (Sierra Leone) and Frei of The Ahficionados (AFRIKA21) at The Dekalb Market. They even made a mix!

- Planet Hip Hop, hosted by Nomadic Wax and World Hip Hop Market, featuring The Reminders, Omar Offendum, Masla One, Krussia, Rahzemos, JMNI, Babaluku, Koyaki, and DJ Boo at 200 Hudson Street.

- Ayshay and Awesome Tapes From Africa are DJing the Altered Zones party at The New Museum.

- DJ/Rupture and Matt Shadetek's Dutty Artz showcase with Atropolis, Gun Selectah, Mexicans With Guns, and Toy Selectah at Public Assembly.

- Hindi Zahra will be playing the France Rocks NYC showcase at Hiro Ballroom.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments! All flyers and more info on the showcases below.



A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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