Chef Roblé's Roots Picnic @Okayafrica Instagram Takeover Ft. Erykah Badu, Questlove, The Weeknd & More!

Join @okayafrica on Instagram this Saturday as Chef Roblé takes over our feed live from the Roots Picnic with Erykah Badu, Questlove, The Weeknd and more.

Photo courtesy of Chef Roblé

This weekend we're headed down to Philly with the whole Okayplayer fam for the 8th annual Roots Picnic. We had such a good time celebrating Africa Day with the Everyday People massive that we thought who better to join us than EP NYC host and star caterer Chef Roblé Ali.

Stay tuned to Okayafrica's Instagram this Saturday, May 30th, as Roblé takes over our feed all day from the Festival Pier, and look out for special appearances from Erykah Badu, Questlove, Black Thought and the legendary Roots crew, The Weeknd, Moses Sumney, A$AP Rocky, Afrika Bambaataa, King Britt, Hiatus Kaiyote, Raury, Phantogram, Chronixx, Bishop Nehru, Hudson Mohawke, Rae Sremmurd (fresh off the release of their Joburg music video), DJ Mustard, Arcade Fire's Win Butler and more of our favorite picnicgoers!

What: Chef Roblé's Roots Picnic @Okayafrica Instagram Takeover

When: Saturday, May 30th

Where: Okayafrica's Instagram

Speaking of Erykah Badu (whose performance Saturday will be backed by The Roots), it's been just over a year since we revealed Badoula Oblongata's African ancestry...


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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