DJ Spoko Premieres 'War Neva End' Ft. Sam Turpin

DJ Spoko teams with Johannesburg rapper Sam Turpin on "War Neva End," a frenzied reflection on everyday anxieties.

From his home base of Atteridgeville (a township in the west of Pretoria), DJ Spoko aka Marvin Ramalepe has singlehandedly engineered an entire genre of 'bacardi house,' a kwaito-influenced jolt of military snares and pitched-up melodies. 2014 may have been Spoko's most ambitious year yet. In September he made his LP debut with the downright addictive War God. In addition to his solo work, which included a Fela Kuti remix, Spoko also joined forces with Spoek Mathambo for one of the year's most fruitful projects. Fantasma, their 5-man supergroup, made an impressive debut with the Eye of The Sun EP, a spectacular introduction to the newborn sound of South Africa's 'Guzu' music, which included two of our favorite tracks and videos. This March Fantasma will make their full-length debut with Free Love. Until then, the group's resident producer has a few tricks up his sleeves, one of which we're excited to premiere here today.

On his latest effort Spoko teams with Sam Turpin, a rising Johannesburg-born/bred emcee who first caught our attention in March 2014 with his 4-track Eternal Sentiment EP. "I was a fan of DJ Spoko and Mujava since I was 12 years old and this year I met Spoko at a few of his shows in Braamfontein," Turpin told Okayafrica. "We exchanged some emails about our stuff and one day Spoko sent the beat. Spoko chose the theme and I decided to rap about some slightly more social issues and also step outside my comfort zone and 'War Neva End' is the result!"

The track, a frenzied reflection on everyday anxieties, sees Spoko's loopy beats and military percussion joined by Turpin's mild-mannered wordgame. "Essentially it's about how people can cope during tough times," Turpin says. "Like in South Africa with music, people will still go to party even if they are in debt or are going through a lot... people can find happiness even when there are challenges that last a life time, I think Spoko's house and the sentiments expressed through rap personify the concept, the violent drums with the happy melodies and conscious yet positive lyrics! That's really what the collab is about !"

Listen to DJ Spoko's "War Neva End," featuring Sam Turpin, below. For more, grab Spoko's Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape and watch Turpin's recent video for "Alexandrie."

Photo courtesy of Sam Turpin


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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