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Akon & will.i.am Talk About the Rise of Afrobeats For ‘The Questions’

For the latest installment of Okayafrica TV’s "The Questions," Akon and will.i.am talk about the current state of African music.

For the latest installment of Okayafrica TV’s "The Questions," we caught up with Akon and will.i.am in Los Angeles to pick their brains about the current state of African music.


The two stars were all laughs as we got their thoughts on afrobeats, the best ways for African acts to crossover in America, and what artists they’re looking out for from the continent.

“Africa is going to be the new bubble,” will.i.am mentions, comparing the musical explosion to the rise of K-pop a few years ago.

The two also name some of their favorite current acts. Wizkid, Davido, P-Square, D’banj, and Black Coffee—who Akon calls the “David Guetta of Africa”—all get shout-outs.

Watch the Okayafrica TV video above.

 

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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