Video

Okayplayer & Converse Rubber Tracks Present Player Xchange: Bez x Sene

Check out "Player Xchange" our new series with Converse Rubber Tracks in which we pair an African artist with an emerging American act to create an original track.


We've teamed up with Converse Rubber Tracks to create Player Xchange, a new video series curated by Okayplayer and Okayafrica in which we'll be linking up African artists from around the continent with emerging American acts to write and record an original song.  First up on the series is "Big Promise," a collaboration track between Nigerian pop crooner Bez — whom you might recall from his hit "That Stupid Song" — and Brooklyn-bred rapper/producer Sene. Watch a behind-the-scenes video chronicling the creation of the song and stream/download the track. produced by Basement Batman, below. And learn more about Player Xchange from the lips of el jefe Questlove in a recent WSJ article profiling our new series.

Video credits:

Videographer + Editor - Jay Sprogell

Motion Graphics - Thea Norman

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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