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Angélique Kidjo Wants To "Bring Rock Back To Africa" With Her New Talking Heads Album

The Grammy Award-winning Beninese singer is re-imagining the Talking Heads' classic album, Remain In Light.

When most people think of music originating from the African continent, rock isn't exactly what comes to mind.

But Angélique Kidjo was quick to remind us in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that "rock music came from the blues and thus from Africa." With her newest album, Remain in the Light, Kidjo looks to re-imaging the landmark Talking Heads album, which was widely considered to be one of the top albums of the 1980s and was deeply influenced by Fela Kuti's afrobeat.


While Kidjo's album will be released on June 8, you can watch the video for its first single, "Born Under Punches" now.

For her rendition, Kidjo partners with renowned producer Jeff Bhasker, who has worked with Rihanna, Kanye West, Drake and Jay-Z (to name only a few). This album also sees her collaborating with Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Blood Orange and Tony Allen, with artwork conceptualized by Kerry James Marshall.

Together, they help Kidjo peel back the classic 80s rock sound to reveal and amplify the West African rhythm that anchored the original album.

"As Remain in Light was influenced by the music of my continent, I want to pay back the homage and create my own African take on the Talking Heads' songs," Kidjo mentions. "Now is the time to bring rock back to Africa, connect our minds, and bring all our sounds to a new level of sharing and understanding."

Check out the album's lead single, "Born Under Punches," below.

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Images via Getty

Burna Boy, Angelique Kidjo, Trevor Noah & More Earn 2020 Grammy Nominations

Wizkid, Shatta Wale and more were nominated for their work on Beyoncé's 'Lion King: The Gift' while Mr Eazi earned a nod for his contribution to Bad Bunny and J Balvin's 'Oasis.'

The 2020 Grammy nominations have just been announced, and it looks to be a standout year for African artist.

Burna Boy has earned his first-ever nomination in the (albeit dubious) 'Best World Music' category for his celebrated album African Giant. Speaking with Grammy.com about the vision for the album back in August, the artist said: My vision is just to...shine a light on a place and on people and a situation and everything that there hasn't been a light on for a long time."

In that same category is three-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo for her album Celia, which pays homage to the late Afro-Cuban legend Celia Cruz. Burna and Kidjo worked together on the track "Different" from African Giant.

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Photo by Camilo Fuentealba for OkayAfrica

Yemi Alade’s Journey to Becoming a ‘Woman of Steel’

With a bold new album, record-breaking musical feats and two features on Beyoncé's "The Lion King: The Gift," Yemi Alade is claiming her spot in a growing Nigerian music scene with full force.

Yemi Alade's "Johnny" was never even meant to see the light of day. "Someone leaked the song," she recalls with a smile. "And the leaked song saved my life."

It went on to become her breakout hit, catapulting her to African musical fame. With its catchy hook and cheeky lyrics about tracking down a flaky lover, the song caught on easily as a fun track that light-heartedly spoke from the ladies' point of view—an answer to all the songs that already did so from a man's perspective, namely Wizkid's "Caro." Its Clarence Peters-directed music video showcased her personality and knack for theatrical performance took the hype even further. It went on to break YouTube records (with 107 million views and counting), and is still the most watched music video by a Nigerian woman artist.

That was 2014—a time in the African pop scene, when artists who are today considered afropop royalty were still striving to make names for themselves in an ever-changing musical landscape. With its fiery production and easy-to-sing-along-to hook "Johnny" quickly became a party staple, making Alade's name one prominently associated with the growing scene. In 2019, African pop music is in a different phase, more visible than ever before, yet still on the cusp of crossover success. Through this process, Alade's name has remained a constant, and unlike the success of "Johnny"—this is by no accident.

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Still from YouTube.

Watch the Hazy Music Video for Burna Boy's 'Secret' Featuring Jeremih and Serani

Burna Boy drops a new music video for a fan favorite from his Grammy-nominated album 'African Giant.'

Grammy-nominated Burna Boy shares the music for the latest single "Secret," a fan favorite from his seminal album African Giant.

The track, which features American singer Jeremih and Jamaican dancehall artist Serani, is arguably one of the album's most fun and memorable tracks. The song gets a hazy music video starring the three artists in various dimly-lit, monochromatic settings. The video was directed by David Camarena.

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Listen to J Hus' New Album 'Big Conspiracy'

The artist's highly-anticipated sophomore album features Burna Boy, Koffee and more.

J Hus is back. The heavyweight British-Gambian artist returns with his highly-anticipated sophomore album Big Conspiracy.

The 13-track album features the likes of Burna Boy, who joins the artist on the upbeat track "Play Play," as well as buzzing Jamaican artist Koffee who appears on the track "Repeat," one of the album's clear standouts.

It also features a new artist by the name of iceè tgm on three tracks. Some fans have speculated that the mysterious artist is J Hus' sister. The album includes the previously released single 'Must Be,' which he dropped in November of last year.

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