Music
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Femi Kuti Talks Legacy, the Future of Afrobeat, Crossover Success for African Artists & More In New Interview

The renowned afrobeat musician sat down for a keynote session with OkayAfrica's music editor at Midem Music Conference in Cannes, France.

Midem, the annual music conference, described as "the leading music industry event for the music ecosystem" is currently underway in Cannes, France and OkayAfrica is on the ground for the action, starting with a keynote session with the legendary Femi Kuti.

In an extensive interview with OkayAfrica's very own music editor Kam Tambini, the celebrated afrobeat musician and head of the New Afrika Shrine, speaks on his vision for empowering new African musicians, the current status of afrobeat—the genre spearheaded by his father—the power of music in addressing pressing global issues, his new album and much more.

READ: Femi Kuti Is Leading Afrobeat Into the Anti-Trump Era


The artist spoke in detail about passing on his musical legacy to his son who is also an artist, and the importance of young artists pursuing music out of passion instead of fame that it brings. "Music inspires every other profession" says Kuti, likening being an artist to being a doctor and helping to alleviate listener's pain. "Music is a medium that higher forces use to give people joy and love," he adds. He urged new artists to study their craft, and advocated for better learning institutions on the continent for aspiring artists and musicians.

When asked about young African artists like Davido and Wizkid who are striving for crossover success in global markets, Kuti urged them to look beyond "gimmicks" and focus on making music that leaves an impact in the long run.

He also spoke about the fight for social progress on the continent. "Do we surrender to injustice, or do we stand and confront this injustice," said Kuti, adding that it will likely be younger generations who will hold the torch in tackling these issues. "They have to fight for a better life for their children, and for their neighbors," said Kuti.

The artist, who was named Midem 2019 Artist Ambassador, was later joined on stage by producer Sodi, who spoke about his experience working with both Fela and Femi Kuti, and resisting making "standardized African music."

Check out the full interview below.

Midem Talks, a Talk with Femi Anikulapo Kuti, Singer, New Afrika Shrine (Nigeria) www.youtube.com

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Photos by David Pattinson.

First Look: This New Collection from Art Comes First Is Peak Black Yeehaw Aesthetic

The design and brand consultant duo previews the SS20 collection displayed during their residency at The Mandrake Hotel in Paris.

Following their wavy Surf Afrika collection, Art Comes First (ACF) shares with us a preview of their SS20 collection that is all things Black Yeehaw Aesthetic.

Dubbed El Charro Negro, the collection features neutral colors and an array of textures—from leather, embroidery, fringed denim and ponchos, to vests, suede jackets and straight flyness.

Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh of ACF are known as the "Travelling Tailors" where their ventures around the world influence their designs. This time the nomads, who hail from the West Indies, Ghana and Angola respectively, have landed in Paris.

Earlier this month, ACF curated a week-long event-filled residency at The Mandrake Hotel in Paris that encapsulates their ethos of taking cultural influence from around the world and only staying still long enough to create. There, Lambert and Maidoh presented an installation, live musical performances and DJ sets, a film screening and a pop-up shop leading up to Fashion Week. The residency also showcased the duo's latest collaboration with London mainstay Fred Perry.

El Charro Negro will still be showcased in Paris at another location from June 18 to 23. Keep up with ACF on Instagram to stay tuned for details.

Check out our favorite images from the collection below.

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Nonso Amadi & Kwesi Arthur's 'Comfortable' Will Get You In Weekend Mode

Watch the trippy new music video for this link-up from the buzzing Nigerian and Ghanaian artists.

Nonso Amadi is one of the standout acts from a young wave of Nigerian musicians blending afro-fusion with RnB and much more. He's now dropping the brand new single "Comfortable," an addictive self-produced track that sees him linking up with bubbling Ghanaian act Kwesi Arthur, which we're premiering below today.

"Comfortable" is built on woozy synth keys and sparse beat work, all spearheaded by Nonso Amadi's vocals about wanting freedom in a relationship.

"The song is inspired by experiences with having a girl over and not wanting them to get too comfortable by staying too long with you," says Nonso Amadi. "I thought it'll be interesting to create a song around this 'cos it's not a perspective were used to hearing from guys very often."

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Screenshot via YouTube.

Maleek Berry Makes a Statement with His First Track of the Year, 'Flashy'

And the music video follows suit.

After months of anticipation, Maleek Berry finally dropped his first track of the year, "Flashy."

The Nigerian crooner-producer surely makes a statement on the track while flexing his rapping skills, as he chronicles how he leveled up to be flashy—and it's well-deserved. The video shows us a scene of a fly photo shoot that's underway, where Maleek is dripping in gold and fancy cars surrounded by stunning black women and his homies—Eugy, Tinie Tempah, Juls and more.

Watch the video, directed by Capone and Guise of Vissionaire Pictures, below.

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