Image courtesy of the artist.


Interview: Jizzle Is Putting Gambian Afro-Pop On the Global Map

Jizzle would like the world to pay attention to what the Gambia has to offer. We talk to the fast-rising sensation about Gambia's music scene and his new chart-topping Scorpion EP.

Last November, Jizzle sold out the Independent Stadium in Bakau for his Finally album concert. It was a historic moment as the 30,000-capacity grounds were completely filled up with fans all gathered to see the singer alongside other popular Gambian and Senegalese acts.

Born Jereh Jallow in 1994, Jizzle's first love was soccer. After watching his older brother making music at home, he decided to give it a shot and discovered that he too had a gift for it. It's been ten years since he started doing music professionally but the hard work has paid off immensely with his songs regularly topping Gambian iTunes charts. Now a hit-making, multi-award-winning artist, Jizzle would like the world to pay attention to what the Gambia has to offer.

Jizzle hopes his newest release, Scorpion: Vol 1, breaks his music in the rest of West Africa and beyond. The 6-track EP, which features Nigerian acts Oxlade and Idyl, sonically ranges from afrobeats, to dancehall to hip-hop. Besides English, Jizzle raps and sings in his native Wolof, Mandinka and Fulah languages.

Jizzle explores his financial struggles on the first track, vowing never to be "Broke Again." He courts his female audience with "Jehgehma" and the sultry banger "Mexicana." The bouncy "Levulo" has been the most popular track on the project so far and the numbers look to only keep growing.

We caught up with the fast-rising artist to discuss Scorpion, influences and future plans.

Jizzle - Gang Gang

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started making music.

I used to back-up some artists here during their rehearsal and shows, acts like Mighty Joe and T-Smallz. They really influenced me in my musical journey and growing up, that's how I got into music.

Can you paint us a picture of how the Gambian music scene looks like at the moment?

We don't have a music industry yet, [but] the music scene has really grown in terms of crowd attendance and support from the people here. Money-wise, most artists like me who are independent finance their music from their own pockets. Royalties from streaming don't do much here. It's something new here and not all platforms are available... some of the resources & platforms are not available like in other countries. But a lot has changed now compared to ten years ago, Gambian artists are able to fill up stadiums and mini stadiums. All in all, we are growing.

What was the creative process behind Scorpion like?

The scorpion represents The Gambia. The National football team is called The Scorpion. It's a project I started working on last year. It's not only about music, it's a brand also. Me and my team will be introducing new merch soon. Also, people call me Jizzle the scorpion. You know, the scorpion is small but dangerous.

jizzle gambia JizzleImage courtesy of the artist.

What experience would you like the audience to have when listening to Scorpion?

The EP is full of vibes ranging from afrobeat, to dancehall, to afromanding to afro-salsa and hip-hop. I put my heart and soul into it. From how far I have come to where I am now, to love, money, and friends, all these are represented on the EP. Basically, it's not just about the music only is my life experiences. All the songs are catchy with different vibes & flavors I believe every listener will enjoy this project.

You have collaborated with Nigerian artists Oxlade and Idyl in this project, are there any other artists from the continent that you'd like to work with?

Yeah I've done songs with few other stars here in the Gambia and the sub-region and I will definitely love to work with Wizkid, Burna Boy, Da Baby, Chronixx, Davido, Rema and Mr Eazi.

What more should we expect from Jizzle in 2020?

Yeah, people should expect more music and more collaborations and I'm ready to take over the world, I might drop another project before the year ends you never know. I am also looking at doing media tours within the sub-region and performances as well. I will be doing a European and US tour in the summer too. Every year I close it with my annual end of year event. This year it will be #ScorpionFest and we will have one or two acts as guest artists for the event, basically some of the artists I have worked with this year.


Interview: Buju Is the Blooming Afro-Fusion Artist You Should Know

Over the last year, Buju has gone from a viral sensation to one of Nigeria's young music stars pushing afro-fusion to new heights.

When chasing a dream from Nigeria, one needs a surplus of that secret sauce called belief. Young Nigerians in the music space have always forced the issue of their recognition as new viral sensations coming out with fresh, innovative styles are delimiting the shine of the limelight.

Late last year, "Spiritual," was the new record on everybody's lips. While hip-hop sensation Zlatan served as the poster boy for the single, the voice of a new melody twister carried most of the track. 22-year-old Daniel Benson, popularly known as Buju or BujuToyourEars in full, piqued the interest of industry giants and has been on an upward trajectory since then.

Around four million streams later, a handful of major performances, Headies nominations, and a remix of his hit single "L'Enu" featuring his idol Burna Boy on the way, the stars don't seem to be the limit for Buju.

Meet Buju, the latest addition to the list of young Nigerian stars pushing the new generation into the conversation.

Keep reading... Show less
Photo courtesy of the director.

Interview: How Félicity Ben Rejeb Price Is Reinventing the Afro-French Music Video

Félicity is the Tunisian music video director birthing a new aesthetic for urban French culture.

Félicity Ben Rejeb Price represents a new generation of imagery in Afro-French hip-hop culture, with clients including top French acts like Dadju, Aya Nakamura, Gims, Niska, SCH and Soolking. She also has a growing catalogue of editorial campaigns for the likes of Adidas, Uber and Converse.

Her current role is a combination of everything she's done so far. A jack of many trades, she's played her hand as an interior decorator, publicist, set designer, stylist, casting director, photographer, and ultimately, artistic director. The detail-oriented Félicity relishes at being able to select the location, models, styling, and the method of filming for her projects.

Félicity dominates a masculine industry with illustrations that go beyond the typical rap video starter pack—comprised of cars, scantily-clad women, alcohol, and money. Her formula is: film music videos that are mini-films where women such as herself are treated as equals rather than objectified, while also sprinkling in a number of lights and colors.

It's Saturday afternoon in Arizona, where Félicity is shooting a new music video. She pauses to speak with us on the phone about the trajectory of her career.

The article below has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less
C Natty/emPawa

You Need to Watch C Natty's New Music Video For 'Ojah'

Video Premiere: Check out the striking first release from Mr Eazi's #emPawa30.

C Natty arrives in style with his new single "Ojah."

The track, which is the first release from Mr Eazi's new group of #emPawa30 artists, sees the Nigerian artist delivering a highly-infectious and grooving concoction over jazz-leaning afrobeats produced by Killertunes.

The new music video for "Ojah," which we're premiering here today, is equally as stunning and follows the story of someone who doesn't take others' advice. C Natty told us the following about the DK of Priorgold Pictures-directed video:

Keep reading... Show less

South African Hip-Hop Producers Tweezy and Gemini Major Set for Instagram Live Beat Battle

Two of South Africa's hip-hop super producers Tweezy and Gemini Major will face-off in upcoming Instagram live beat battle.

After Instagram live beat battles such as Swizz Beatz versus Timbaland and Mannie Fresh versus Scott Storch amid the lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it was only a matter of time until the hip-hop community across the world followed suit.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox