No Borders: Cuppy's Neo-Afrobeats Playlist

Nigeria's buzzing DJ Cuppy selects a cross-continental 'neo-afrobeats' playlist for our June theme of NO BORDERS.

June is No Borders month here at OkayAfrica.

Throughout the month, we'll be highlighting travel in all of its forms—from migration to the many ways that art and music traverses boundaries. We'll also be looking at intercontinental relations between people on the African continent and in the diaspora.

Nigerian DJ and producer, Cuppyknows something about crossing borders, as she can regularly be spotted shutting down parties on both sides of the Atlantic with her 'neo-afrobeats' jams.

'Neo-afrobeats,' a term that Cuppy coined, takes afrobeats flavors and blends them with house and electronic influences for a cross-breeding sound that's entirely something of its own.

We asked Cuppy to select our No Borders playlist for this month, for which she picked a number of songs and collaborations that speak to the greater global conversation going on between afrobeats, dancehall, pop, and hip-hop.

Here's what Cuppy mentions about her No Borders song selections:

"Inspired by my Cactus on the Roof summertime residency parties, this playlist represents a fusion of afrobeats and tropical house," Cuppy says. "This sound is so powerful as it picks up the harmonious tonality of house riffs complimented with the heavy rhythmic kicks that afrobeats has. For me, this is a sound that I personally love and acknowledge as a prevalent sub-genre in afrobeats."

Stream our No Borders playlist on Apple Music, selected by Cuppy, and read about her individual selections below.

Timaya "I Like the Way (Electric Bodega Remix)"

Cuppy: The perfect synergy, this uplifting record is obsessively feel-good! Timaya is such a versatile Nigerian artist and has the gift of vocal presence.

Geko "Drunk On You"

C: Wait for the drop! Take me to a tropical rain forest rave NOW! I love this song because it makes reminds me to YOLO when I’m stressing out.

Ycee "Juice" feat. Maleek Berry

C: This record grew on me; melodies are so smooth, too much sauce! I reckon it will become quite the crossover; it’s already getting popular with DJs.

Jidenna "Little Bit More"

C: Classic example of marrying afrobeats with a sprinkle of house kick! Jidenna seems to have the neo-afrobeats formula on lock.

Belly Squad "Like That"

C: This UK record feels antique but has an amazing afrobeats undertone! We’re seeing a lot of UK artists pull from afrobeats too, so exciting!

J Hus "Spirit"

C: The lyrics of this record are EVERYTHING! For me this song carries the spirit behind afrobeats, J Hus has managed to materialize a feeling: wow.

Mostack "Let It Ring"

C: Feels like azonto met UK grime, full of London swag! Everytime I play this record, I notice girls LOVE it; it’s got an old school subtle feel.

Tekno "Pana"

C: How can I not put our 2017 afrobeats anthem? For me, this record changed the game. Can we also acknowledge that Tekno wrote Davido’s “If”? Wow.

Runtown "Mad Over You"

C: This record provides us with an easy listening universal experience. Influence is no doubt from Ghana, but it’s a cross-continental HIT!

Wizkid "Come Closer" feat. Drake

C: Tropical elements are left right and center, wouldn’t expect less from two of my favorite artists! This fusion sound also pulls from the islands.

Jeremih "London" feat. Stefflon Don and Krept & Konan

C: Sultry and soulful, this is such a floor filler! The beat alone reminds me of local distorted heavy bass you get in Lagos street raves.

Yxng Bane "Fine Wine (Remix)" feat. WSTRN

C: This record is a monster hit in London, it’s catchy and has a bounce! The melody and feel-good riffs are so lifting.

French Montana "Unforgettable" feat. Swae Lee

C: This for me, is my record of the year—genius! neo-afrobeats on 100%! When I heard this song for the first time, I didn’t sleep that night. No joke.

Drake "Get It Together" feat. Black Coffee and Jorja Smith

C: Like most of the fusion tracks on his album, I find this Drake collab record fresh and exciting, takes me back to Johannesburg nights!

Young Paris "The Way I Am" (prod. by Cuppy)

C: This record is another great fusion stemmed from Afrobeats, I’m a bit biased because I produced it! I love the lyrics and depth Young Paris created within the record.

Catch Cuppy every Sunday in June at her London party series, Cactus on the Roof.


Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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