Featured

Audio: “Brand New Wayo” by Mixed Grill + more Nigerian Boogie


Just when I thought I had a firm grasp on Nigerian music, NPR tipped me off to Brand New Wayo: Funk, Fast Times and Nigerian Boogie Badness 1979-1983, a new compilation album that highlights the golden years of Nigerian boogie. There’s certainly an element of Nigeria’s signature afrobeat sound embedded in these tracks, but these songs tend to be less political and more dance oriented. Produced and compiled by Uchenna Ikonne, this compilation is full of songs that are just as fun and upbeat as you’d expect from a genre that combines elements of jazz, funk, and disco, and then then polishes them into a sleek commercial sheen. The title track, “Brand New Wayo” by Mixed Grill is indeed representative of the entire movement - a rich mix of funk and afrobeat, steeped in the culture of excess and graft of late 1970’s Nigeria (listen below). Other artists include Amas and pop star turned rock-star pastor and politician Kris Okotie. Do yourself a favor and delve into this forgotten, but immensely progressive genre of Nigerian music.

[audio:http://www.okayafrica.com/wp-content/uploads/01-A-Brand-New-Wayo.mp3|titles="Brand New Wayo" by Mixed Grill]

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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