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Bombino, the First Nigerien Artist to Be Nominated For a Grammy

The electrifying musician talks to OkayAfrica about wielding the Tuareg weapon of peace: a guitar.

Omara "Bombino" Moctar, 38, is the Nigerien guitarist who has recently been nominated for a grammy.

His electrifying, acoustic sound and Tamasheq lyrics that touch on his Tuareg heritage and connection with the desert have become a hit. His music is boundless. It is comprised of traditional Berber sounds, the blues, rock & roll and reggae. What is just as unique as the above is his story.

His people, the Tuareg, descendants of the Berbers of North Africa have long been nomads, traders and warriors within the Sahara Desert.

In his early years, Bombino grew up in an encampment in Agadez with his seventeen brothers and sisters and rebelliously refused to go to school. He would attend a French-Arabic school until the age of nine then leave and be taken in by his grandmother, who would instill in him Tuareg moral code.

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Interview
MHD. Photo by OJOZ.

MHD, France's Afro Trap King, on His Latest Album '19'

We talk to MHD about his sophomore album and what it's like to be such a prominent figure in both France and Africa's music scenes.

Mohamed Sylla, better known as MHD, 24, is the French phenomenon taking his sound inspired by a love of afrobeats, hip-hop, and trap around the world.

His most recent album, 19, has gone gold and introduced a side to the artist unknown to his loyal fans. The album's strength lies in it being an open letter to the fans that have been with him over the course of the past few years. It's the story of a life pre and post fame.

We got to speak to MHD last month. Although he's notorious for non-stop touring and just sold out London's O2 arena, it was a calm moment before the storm that was to come. He's already on another multi-country tour, as we speak.

This interview was conducted in French and has been translated and edited for length and clarity.

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Interview
Tobe and Fat Nwigwe. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Tobe Nwigwe Is the Southern Rapper 'Making Purpose Popular'

Tobe is one of the best things smokin' from the south.

Nigerian-American Tobechukwu "Tobe" Nwigwe is a rising star coming out of Houston, Texas.

Tobe, his wife, Fat, and producer LaNell Grant—who work together in a creative partnership—have crafted a sound and visual aesthetic so unique that they're turning heads all over.

The collective is consistently pushing creative boundaries and has caught the eye of Dave Chappelle, Erykah Badu, Chance the Rapper and Michael B. Jordan, to name a few. Tobe's been heard on radio and news stations in Texas and recently featured in a cypher from the BET Hip-Hop Awards.

It's tough to pinpoint exactly where his strength lies; it could be the undeniable bond he has with the two women on either side of him, his southern twang, the unwavering faith in God that often finds itself in his verses, or his fervor in educating the youth in a way he wasn't.

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