Music
Gaika.

You Need To Hear This Dark Dancehall Mix From Gaika

The London-based artist showcases his special blend of dancehall and UK grime in this exclusive mix for OkayAfrica.

Gaika is a talented left-field musician coming out of the UK who first landed on our radar for his chilling single, "Blasphemer," before making it as one of our 10 British Artists to Watch last year.

The London producer creates a hypnotizing concoction of dancehall and UK grime with additional touches of R&B and trip-hop in his songs. Though it's hard to define—and that might be the point—Gaika's futuristic, Caribbean-influenced production is pushing the boundaries of electronic music, as well as challenging the concept of what people think 'Black British music' should sound like.


Gaika, who recently played shows in South Africa and Malawi, is now sharing an exclusive mix for us made ahead of his live appearance at Matte Projects' BLACK NYC party on March 31, which will also feature Culoe De Song, Dixon, Jubilee, DJ Hell, Veronica Vasicka, and more playing at an undisclosed location in Brooklyn.

Get into Gaika's mix, which features some exclusive unreleased tracks, below. Tickets for Black NYC are available here now. Check out the full flyer underneath.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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