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Afrobeat In Hip-Hop: The Influence On The Influential

We explore the use of Afrobeat samples in Hip-Hop, looking at artist from Fela Kuti to Manu Dibango.


Hip-hop is well known for providing new perspectives to old classics. We often acknowledge the presence of funk and soul in hip-hop, but what impact does afrobeat have on the innovative sound? Click on the links below to hear a few hip-hop hits that sampled some of afrobeat's most legendary grooves from the likes of Fela Kuti and Manu Dibango.

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J. Cole- "Let Nas Down" (2013)

"Let Nas Down" is a song from J. Cole's newest album Born Sinner that takes after the Fela Kuti & The Afrika 70 track titled, “Gentleman.” The Fela Kuti influence on this track is heavily felt, but doesn’t yet boast enough evidence to be officially labeled as a sample. Did J. Cole use a direct rip from Fela Kuti & Afrika 70’s track? Take a listen and let us know what you think.

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The Roots- "I Will Not Apologize" (2008)

"I Will Not Apologize" samples Fela Kuti’s “Mr Grammarticalogylisationalism Is the Boss.” Fela's raw bassline assists The Legendary Roots Crew in just the right way, adding the perfect flavor to complete the track.

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"Don’t Stop The Music"- Rihanna (2007)

Many believe that this hit was influenced by Michael Jackson’s 1982 classic, "Wanna Be Startin Somethin." However, the catchy 'Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa' was originally in Cameroonian musician Manu Dibango’s song, ‘Soul Makossa.’

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Nas ft. Alicia Keys- "Warrior Song" (2002)

Once again, Fela Kuti’s presence is felt in this inspirational song that uses some rhythms from his 1972 track titled "Na Poi."

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Missy Elliot ft. Timbaland- "Whatcha Gon’ Do" (2001)

Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 provided the creative spark for "Whatcha Gon Do" off of Missy Elliot’s 2001 album, Miss E …So Addictive. This song samples Fela & Afrika 70’s classic, "Colonial Mentality."

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Shirazee. Photo: Tiara Marei. Courtesy of the artist.

Get Into Shirazee & Saint Jhn's Highly-Addictive 'Juju'

The new music video follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans.

Shirazee is back with his latest single "Juju."

The new song sees the Benin-born singer-songwriter linking up with none-other-than Saint Jhn for a highly-addictive tune built on afro-fusion beat work. The striking new music video for "Juju," which was directed by Tiara Marei, follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans, Louisiana.

"This one is special to me 'cause the song was recorded at a time I needed to break a love-spell that I felt was put on me by a serious crush of mine [laughs]," Shirazee tells OkayAfrica. "Shooting this video in New Orleans, a city with historical ties to my Benin, was such a privilege and does so much justice to the song and theme.

"[I'm] looking forward to releasing new music this year and the first of two EPs called LOST is on the way and it's exciting," he adds.

For more on him, revisit our interview with Shirazee on his journey, taking risks and going independent. As you remember, Saint Jhn featured on Beyoncé and Wizkid's "Brown Skin Girl," one of our favorite songs last year.

Get into Shirazee and Saint Jhn's "Juju" below.

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Antibalas "Fight Am Finish" (Youtube)

Watch Antibalas' Striking Video For 'Fight Am Finish'

Video Premiere: NYC afrobeat group Antibalas' new video is a "vision of a Nigerian slave returning to Africa to reclaim his freedom, land, and spirit."

Pioneer NYC afrobeat ensemble Antibalas is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the release of their latest album, Fu Chronicles.

The new album takes listeners to older pre-gentrification days in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when the band was formed out of lead singer Duke Amayo's kung fu dojo.

Today we're premiering the new music video for album highlight, "Fight Am Finish," a song that about being ready for our daily battles and ultimately overcoming them. The music video was filmed in between Badagry and the New Afrika Shrine in Nigeria, as well as Grand Street in Brooklyn, the same street where Amayo's kung fu dojo was located and where he met founding Antibalas members Martin Perna and Gabe Roth.

"In 1803, Igbo slaves from Nigeria committed mass suicide off the U.S. coast near Georgia," Duke Amayo tells OkayAfrica. "It was the largest known mass slave suicide and uprising. The mutiny and suicide by the Igbo people has been called the 'first freedom march' in U.S. history. [This video] is my vision of a Nigerian slave returning to Africa to reclaim his freedom, land, and spirit. Fight Am Finish! Never ever let go of your dreams."

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News Brief
Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.

Dave's 'Psychodrama' Wins 'Album of the Year' at the 2020 Brit Awards

The British-Nigerian rapper took home the top prize moments after a performance during which he called the British Prime Minister a 'real racist'.

British Nigerian rapper Dave took home the top prize at this year's Brit Awards. His 2019 debut album Psychodrama, which was certified gold in just three months and went on to win last year's Mercury Prize, was awarded "Album of the Year".

However, it was Dave's performance prior to him receiving the award that really stole the show.

According to the BBC, the artist gave a fiery performance of his track "Black" wherein he added a new verse which called out the government and referred to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a "real racist".

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'Namaste Wahala' movie poster.

'Namaste Wahala' Is the Nollywood Meets Bollywood Crossover We've All Been Waiting For

The Nigerian-Indian wedding romcom of our dreams is coming our way this April!

It's no secret that Nigerians and Indians have one major thing in common: over the top weddings. The two cultures are basically neck-in-neck when it comes to beautiful, extravagant (emphasis on the 'extra') weddings, which is why many of us have often fantasized about attending a joint Nigerian-Indian wedding. The good news is that an upcoming romantic comedy, starring some of Nollywood and Bollywood's best, is here to indulge us.

Namaste Wahala is the film debut of Indian businesswoman turned filmmaker Hamisha Daryani Ahuja. She released the first poster for the movie on Tuesday, showing a young couple in elaborate wedding regalia, and it's been met with humor and excitement from people online.

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