News

Akon Previews New Five-Part Album 'Stadium,' Featuring Collaborations With D'banj & Stephen Marley

Stream tracks from Akon's upcoming five-part album 'Stadium,' featuring D'banj and Stephen Marley.


Akon recently announced that he'll be releasing the five-part concept album Stadium this year. The project, which will be the Senegalese/American singer's first official album in seven years, will span five different installments that are each based on a particular genre and sound — Stadium: Euro, Stadium: Pop, Stadium: Urban, Stadium: World, and Stadium: Island. Akon's sharing previews of tracks from each Stadium installment over at his website right now, including "Feeling A Nikka" alongside Nigerian pop star D'banj and the dub-laced "Just A Man" with Stephen Marley. Stream the five singles from the concept album over at Akon's site. Watch Okayafrica TV's recent episode of The Questions with Akon below, in which he talks about Naija pop and his new solar project.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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