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.

Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery

The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019

1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."

Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957

Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:


31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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