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Casanova, Davido & Tory Lanez' '2AM' Will Soundtrack Your Weekend

Flatbush meets Lagos and Toronto in this addictive new single.

Brooklyn rapper Casanova rolls through with an energetic new collaboration with Davido and Tory Lanez.

"2AM" sees the rapper going in over highly-infectious afrobeats-meets-pop beat work, in the same vein as we've heard from massive hits like "Unforgettable." The song was produced by 30 Roc.

The single features the star power of Davido and Tory Lanez which gives "2AM" the increased potential to be one of those huge new jams that'll be getting constant spins this year on both sides of the Atlantic (it's already got the top slot in Spotify's African Heat playlist).

The music video kicks off in Atlanta but eventually follows Casanova to Lagos, where he connects with Davido in Shitta. The clip was directed by Nigeria's Meji Alabi, the creative force behind many of your favorite afrobeats videos.

"2AM" is the lead single from Casanova's upcoming EP, Free At Last, which is due from Roc Nation/Def Jam Recordings on February 15.

We talked to Casanova below to learn a little more about this new collaboration and sound for him.


Casanova - 2AM ft. Tory Lanez, Davido youtu.be

How did you first link up with Davido?

Davido invited me to a show a couple months ago. I saw him perform and then right after the show, it was crazy, he was like, 'let's go the studio.' And I wasn't so sure 'cause [my music's] more shoot 'em up bang bang and he's Davido, you know. It didn't work out that time. But then, I got this afrobeats style song with Tory Lanez on it, I did two verses and my producer was like: 'you need an African for this beat.' And I'm like, 'ohh I got Davido!' So I let him listen to the record on Facetime and he was like send that to me. When he sent me back his part, that to me was like, 'woww, ok we got a hit.'

This was your first time going to Nigeria, and your first time in Africa, how was your experience?

It was different man. Seeing the little kids, seeing the rich and poor parts. it made me appreciate life and stop complaining about the things that I got. It opened my eyes to different sounds. You know, being in the club you listen to different types of music, like Nigerian and UK stuff. Out here it's all trap, or New York or down South music in the club. But over there you're hearing different languages and different drums.

Tell me about the afrobeats influence on "2AM," what made you pick this sound?

I'm from Flatbush and my parents are Caribbean. So it was easy for me. Flatbush is where the Labor Day Parade is. I'm very familiar with reggae and Caribbean sounds. [This new sound] was a risk I took, and I'm glad I took it.

Are you listening to any other African artists right now?

[starts singing] Ye Ye, Ye Ye Ye Ye. Burna Boy. And I'm also into Wizkid.

How was working with director Meji Alabi and shooting in Shitta, Lagos.

It was dope. He had everything under control. The area was crazy man, I felt like I've been to the hardest places in New York but that was different. That right there, it cant compare to nothing I've seen. I felt comfortable shooting there, but I also knew it could get ugly at any moment.

What can people expect from the upcoming EP.

It's called Free at Last. Davido and Tory Lanez are my only features. I might explore different sounds on it—I might go salsa or pop, who knows, I gotta see how I sound on it. The project comes out Feb 15.


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In Conversation: Lemn Sissay On His New Book About Re-claiming the Ethiopian Heritage Stolen From Him by England’s Foster Care System

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It took the author Lemn Sissay almost two decades to learn his real name. As an Ethiopian child growing up in England's care system, his cultural identity was systematically stripped from him at an early age. "For the first 18 years of my life I thought that my name was Norman," Sissay tells OkayAfrica. "I didn't meet a person of color until I was 10 years of age. I didn't know a person of color until I was 16. I didn't know I was Ethiopian until I was 16 years of age. They stole the memory of me from me. That is a land grab, you know? That is post-colonial, hallucinatory madness."

Sissay was not alone in this experience. As he notes in his powerful new memoir My Name Is Why, during the 1960s, tens of thousands of children in the UK were taken from their parents under dubious circumstances and put up for adoption. Sometimes, these placements were a matter of need, but other times, as was the case with Sissay, it was a result of the system preying on vulnerable parents. His case records, which he obtained in 2015 after a hardfought 30 year campaign, show that his mother was a victim of child "harvesting," in which young, single women were often forced into giving their children up for adoption before being sent back to their native countries. She tried to regain custody of young Sissay, but was unsuccessful.

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