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Introducing '3rd World Hippy' Bara Blaque

Okayafrica spoke to Nigerian/UK "Third World Hippy" emcee Bara Blaque, who along with Tosin Kuti and K!T makes up London hip-hop trio The Koup.


Nigerian/UK-based emcee Bara Blaque recently entered our radar with his screwed and chopped single "3rd World Hippy." Spitting hypnotic wordplay that raises both the specter of Top Dawg's Black Hippy as well as comparisons to A$AP Rocky's debut, Bara co-fronts London hip-hop trio The Koup along with fellow Afro-British wordsmiths K!T and Tosin Kuti (who recently unveiled the jazzy standout "Shame"). We're looking forward to what 2014 has in store for the collective. In the meantime, the Third World Hippy filled us in on what to expect from his Naija-groomed projects. Watch the monochromatic takeover below (it's trippy as a mother) and scroll on for our interview with the Koup's Bara Blaque.

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OKA: First, can you introduce yourself?

Bara: What's up my name's Bara Blaque 1/3 of the Koup.

OKA: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Bara: Well I was born in the late eighties in one of, if not the greatest city on earth, London. I moved back to Nigeria when I was nine years old and frequently went back during the holidays or any chance I got to. I did a lot of travelling, and have been all over the world, shout out my pops for the hook up (a retired pilot). As a boy it really broadened my perspective of the world back when I was in boarding school. I lived in Nigeria for 9 years and moved back to London when I was 18. Which is where I currently live. I still visit Nigeria once in a while to see the family. I have infinite love for London, love the city to death, but Nigeria is a major part of my life so they have my heart 50/50, some nights 60/40.

OKA: Any Nigerian artists you're listening to these days?

Bara: I'm a serious Fela (RIP) fan and I'm really feeling Jesse Jagz movement. The guy is just projecting an amazing vibe. I've been bumping Burna Boy. Wizkid is a genius. It's a bit dulling sometimes because I don't speak Yoruba but once in a while I get one of the homies to translate for me. "Kondo" by Dagrin (RIP) is still one of my all time favourites.

OKA: Favorite spot for Nigerian food in London?

Bara: For Nigerian food I would say my yard I've got a couple pretty women who come round to cook for me. They add in ingredients these restaurants missing: couple ounces of Love, but faaji is sick. I live in northwest London so whenever I can't get the food cooked I get some Lekki Kitchen or Kilburn's D'Den.

OKA: What is Third World Hippy?

Bara: As a body of work "3rd World Hippy" is a masterpiece to say the least. As a title I'd say it's anyone who is true to oneself and looking for the advancement of the human race as a society, putting aside any prejudice and breaking all mental barriers while having a muthaf-ing good time (excuse my french) bumping that Koup ISH. OR third but not least, "3rd World Hippy" is simply me. The forever advancing, vibe switching, ass kicking, name taking, game changing, rhyme slinging West African lyrical peace keeping tyrant.

OKA: What is the Koup? What brings you guys together?

Bara: The Koup is the new hip-hop holy trinity. And that's universal hip-hop, not just Africa or the UK or America or Jupiter, anywhere everywhere anyhow. As for what brings us together, we're really good friends, in fact, brothers, a mutual respect for each other's craft and beliefs. A lot of people have asked us to switch to afro beats or make a certain type of music but we stand by the same ideals. We see the world in a very similar way and are all addicted to rap. We call ourselves the three headed beast, 3 heads one body. I would also say our insatiable appetite for greatness. We are all students of rap and literally studied the game for years. I've been writing rhymes for atleast a decade. We have non-stop conversations about the game, which can get a bit boring to some of our friends or people we meet. We have huge plans to change rap and make hip-hop truly universal. We're here to make history, not just music. Richest black man and black woman are both respectively Nigerian, only right its the same for the best hip-hop artist of our time. It's time to bring hip-hop home and we are the ones to do it. It's the Koup.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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