Video

Audio: Christian Tiger School 'Carlton Banks'


Christian Tiger School, a Cape Town based duo comprising of Luc Vermeer and Sebastiano Zanasi, are definitely one of the city’s best kept secrets. They are the creators and manipulators of beats that open portals and transport the listener to alternative realms.

On first listen to any of their productions or mixes, it's clear that they are well-versed hip hop heads. Indeed, the group began as a trio of high-schoolers, pioneering “boom-pop” hip hop and aspiring to be rappers. However, they have developed their tunes to urban music of a bastardized and hybrid nature, fusing a little bit of that electro whimsicalness in methods reminiscent of the tendencies of such like Flying Lotus and SAMIYAM. “I went to America for a while, east coasting… and while I was there I hit him up (Flying Lotus). I also got a chance to work with 9th Wonder,” reveals Luc Veneer, validating the suspicion of their possible influences and sources. “Our music is anything and everything really,” he tries to explain, his sentence stunted by the sheer enormity of the scope and the ambiguity of their sound, making it impossible to condemn it to one specific genre.

*Stream "Carlton Banks" below

Even though they've only known each other for 3 years, on stage Luc & Sebastiano function like a well-oiled machine. Their productions are brought alive with expert disc jockey manipulations, unexpected cuts incorporating rap adlibs with street snares that give a sense of familiarity, and bass drops that explode giving a sense of euphoria (evidenced by hardcore head bumps). The technicalities are intense, the sweat drips and every ounce of energy is transferred out of that Macbook and SP-4D4 SX, fuelling the moshpit below. “Insane,” is all one can say, including Sebastiano, when all is played and done.

Although currently showcasing at every other odd gig, Christian Tiger School’s time as a closet band is limited, “We’re working on an EP for release later in the year, although we’re only 3 songs in at the moment,” informs Luc. In the meantime, their bandcamp is substantial to the fiends.

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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