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Credit: @JamesFramed

How I Made Kojo Funds' Epic Afro Swing Music Video For 'Stallin'

British-Ghanaian director Gerald Sagoe breaks down how he created the music video for Kojo Funds' "Stallin'"

Kojo Funds is one of the leading name's coming out of London's flourishing Afro Swing movement. The buzzing artist just released the striking new music video for "Stallin'," which paints a vivid portrait of the paths young, black British people can choose to take while challenging the audience's perceptions.

Below, music video director Gerald Sagoe of So Fraiche, tells us how he set up, shot, and delivered this epic new music video.

All photos by @JamesFramed and @kd_visuals.


Hearing the newly released song/single, "Stallin'" by Kojo Funds, it initially struck me as a gritty anthem that would excite the streets and have everyone blaring it from their cars. I was excited to undergo this project, taking a step back from working on global brand projects within my company, So Fraiche Media, to produce not just a music video, but a movie.

Kojo Funds is the pioneer of Afro Swing, a genre that is permeating culture globally. Representing the eclectic Afro Swing of sound, this style of music was birthed in the most deprived borough of East London, also the birth place of Grime music. As the director, I persisted to stay true to the sound by shooting in a London Estate, with its striking tower blocks and open space that would evoke a concrete jungle and create an artistic, eye-catching and thought-provoking visual, a portrait coming to life. Combined with a stark black-and-white aesthetic, it created a classic 'film noir' look.

Credit: @JamesFramed

Raised in Britain and being Ghanaian myself, I realised that Afro Swing represents the time we live in, where there is a new sense of African pride. We are influenced by our heritage, inspired by the cultures of the entire diaspora; from the sounds of Afrobeats, to Hip-hop, Bashment and Dancehall—a hybrid of Caribbean, African and London culture have led to create this movement.

I wanted to deliver a message and a unique video; presenting the paths young black men can choose and challenge what people are expected to see in the context of a music video like this, as well as our own prejudices as a society. The story starts with a bag being placed in a car, holding a symbolic value, the viewer should not realise the purpose till the end of the video. Just like artwork in an exhibition, the video is meant to be left to the interpretation of the viewer, provoking their thoughts.

Credit: @JamesFramed

Focusing on the zeitgeist within London with its rising rate of violent crime, I felt it was important to tackle the video in this way, challenging the social climate and the mentality of young men depicted, who are ultimately trapped in a cage (a metaphor depicted in the video during an epic brawl). Kojo Funds is very talented and amazing to work with as he's laid back and happy to take direction and give everything he can. He has tremendous acting qualities and I told him that he's similar to Tupac, as he's extremely versatile and can switch from charismatic lady killer to gangsta effortlessly.

Shooting the video in a different style outside of the norm was important for its direction. Opting to shoot in super slow motion, with a phantom camera intended for the shots to jump out at the viewer, leaving them fixated. I drew from different sources of inspiration, from Kendrick Lamar's visuals, to iconic photos of DMX, to classic films. Every single shot was thought out thoroughly, all in an effort to showcase something powerful and deliver a message through art.

Afro swing is set to be one of the UK's biggest cultural exports, with its international scope, irresistible melodies, and diverse influences. It is a reflection of the African diaspora and I look forward to it's growth and realisation. I'm currently working on a documentary-film on the subject and look forward to releasing that soon. My overall mission is to keep on pushing the bar in filmmaking, original content and inspiring the African diaspora globally.

Credit: @kd_visuals

Credit: @kd_visuals

Credit: @kd_visuals

Credit: @JamesFramed

Credit: @JamesFramed

Credit: @JamesFramed

Credit: @kd_visuals

Credit: @JamesFramed

Credit: @JamesFramed

Credit: @JamesFramed

Credit: @JamesFramed

Interview

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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