Video

Ayo Jay’s New Video for ‘Your Number’ Is an Intertextual Masterpiece

Its original release dates back to 2013, three years before America was ready for the melange of Caribbean and African sounds that crowd the charts today.

Ayo Jay’s "Your Number" is officially the song of the New York summer.


Yeah, there’s a lot of issues with that statement—it wasn’t played nearly as widely as "Controlla" or shoved down throats like that Timberlake mess—and it has the unfortunate baggage of being released last year through a Fetty Wap collabo. Not to mention its original original release was back in 2013, three years before America was ready for the melange of Caribbean and African sounds that crowd the charts today.

But it is everywhere this year and it does something every song of summer is supposed to do—it distills “right now” into a sweet afrobeats/dancehall essence that is both catchy and confusing all at the same time—thank god they took Fetty Wap off of it.

And for some slightly disorienting reason it’s also the song that New York hip-hop DJs are using this year to shout out all the Caribbean listeners getting ready for Monday’s West Indian parade in Brooklyn. “Where’s my Panamanians at? Triiiinidad and Tobago. GUYANA!” That sort of thing. Never Nigeria though.

Ayo Jay aka Ayoola Ogundeyi Jr.’s new video, released today, doubles down on the sweet disorientation of the original track, and takes a meta narrative approach to an otherwise simple plot.

We decided to break it down for you:

Taking the Ayo Jay dance challenge from inside an Ikea show kitchen.

The video opens with Jay on a stoop launching a social media campaign. For a second you may think, as I did, that this is a real experiment in crowd-sourcing a new video but you should, discerning viewer, be able to quickly ascertain that this is a fake stoop and that this is actually a video within a video.

Jay is asking his fans to make a dance video for his song in order to win tickets to a block party later that day. The reference is to the hundreds of fan-made dance videos for "Your Number" that have made the song an enduring pop-culture presence.

Except these are professional video dancers, dancing in an Ikea show-kitchen. Unlike many videos which might try and give a visual representation of the song’s themes—in this case getting a woman’s number—this video is actually a fictionalized version of how the track came to be a hit.

The best parts of the video for me is when the video cuts to Ayo Jay dancing in a giant Matrix-esque digital cage where, instead of 1s and 0s there’s strings of 656-547-853, the mysterious number that makes up the song’s chorus.

Ayo Jay stuck in a Matrix-like cage.

The video ends with a rather sterile looking block party and then, after the block party, a bookend skit of a man and a woman at a hot dog stand where the man is trying to give out the now famous number.

“What number is that?” she asks incredulously. “It’s for my village—just call me,” he responds suavely.

Getting picked up at a hotdog stand.

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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