Audio

Introducing Pharrell-Groomed Nigerian-American Duo Christian Rich

Nigerian-American production duo Christian Rich produced for Drake, Childish Gambino and Earl Sweatshirt, now share new song, 'Toronto'.


Christian Rich, the production duo consisting of Chicago-born Nigerian twins Taiwo and Kehinde Hassan, is most likely an unfamiliar act to many music fans out there despite their impressive track record, which boasts production credits for some of today's biggest hip-hop acts. Protégés of visionary producer and global tastemaker Pharrell, Taiwo and Kehinde have spent most of their career behind the scenes, contributing their sound to hip-hop heavy hitters like Raekwon, Lil' Kim and Clipse since early 2003. Most recently, Christian Rich contributed production to Drake's chart-topping album Nothing Was the Same, Childish Gambino's definitive sophomore LP Because the Internet and Earl Sweatshirt's critically acclaimed official debut Doris.

Over the past year, the twins have been stepping out from behind the production desk and into the spotlight, with a slew of DJ gigs around the world and an eight-month post as creative directors for the Red Bull Sound Select project. They have also been steadily releasing new original material and re-works to their Soundcloud and will be performing at this year's WMC in Miami. Amidst all this, the duo just released a new track, entitled "Toronto." The syrupy new beat, has been described by the duo as created "with the idea of preparation." It's hard to determine what this cryptic description may be alluding to but one could guess that, after over a decade of paying their dues, the producers are prepared to make huge steps in the near future. This uplifting new track seems fitting for the new chapter in the already successful careers of Christian Rich.

Christian Rich will lecture and perform a set for the WMC Native Instruments event at SOHO House Miami on March 24. Check their Twitter, for more information. Listen to the duo's "Toronto" below.

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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