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

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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