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Guest Appearances on Drake’s Views: An Exercise In Rampant Speculation

Drake’s new album Views will stream live tonight at 10 PM Eastern on OVO radio. Here's hoping Wizkid is actually on it.

Photo illustration: Aaron Leaf

Views, Drake’s new album will stream live tonight at 10 PM Eastern on OVO radio.


Here at Okay HQ we’ve been busily speculating about what guest stars The 6ix God might be bringing on board—crossing our fingers that last year’s fire remix of Wizkid’s Ojuelegba was a sign of good things to come.

Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America, counting roughly 51 percent of its citizens as having been born outside the country. It’s not surprising then that the singing rapper, who has dedicated himself to channeling “the 6,” in all its iterations, would take such a global approach to his music.

This will all be revealed, we hope, tonight on OVO Radio, but until then we’re going to channel our nervous energy into some totally necessary speculation.

Wizkid

No song has been played more in our offices over the last year than “Ojuelegba,” either in its original form or as the Drake remix. Wizkid and Drake were a surprising yet perfect combination on the remix with Skepta adding some badly-needed toughness.

Can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed that the much-hyped collaboration with Wizkid on “One Dance” was barely audible. So, while it’s not speculation to say that, yes, Wizkid will be appearing on Views, we’re hoping it’s in a more substantial capacity than what “One Dance” has offered us so far.

Skepta and/or JME

A lot of Drake fans were pretty confused by February’s news that Drake was “the first Canadian signed to Boy Better Know,” a British grime label led by the resurgent Skepta. Joseph Adenuga alongside his brother Jamie—Skepta and JME respectively—are UK grime scene royalty and Drake seems to have developed a bromance of sorts with Skepta, getting a Boy Better Know tattoo on his left delt. Drake’s Vine brag of “Truss Me Daddi” was later sampled on Skepta’s epic posse-cut “Shutdown.”

Sneakbo

Drake’s UK connections run deep. In 2012, he name-dropped the Nigerian-British rapper Sneakbo. The connection was made apparently during one of Drizzy’s wine-fueled Youtube binges where one minute he was watching a documentary on London gangs and the next he was watching Sneakbo rapping over some dancehall beats. Toronto is a dancehall-mad city so it’s not surprising Drake’s tastes gravitate toward that sound. Again, fingers crossed for some sort of genre breaking dancehall-inflected, Sneakbo collabo.

Sampha

The British-born, Sierra Leonean-rooted producer and songwriter Sampha Sisay already appeared on the melancholic “Too Much,” one of my favorite tracks off of 2013’s Nothing Was The Same. Club bangers are OK but what I really want from Views is more of Drake’s characteristic moping, meaning fingers crossed that Sampha’s involved somehow.

The Weeknd

Drake endorsed the Ethiopian-Canadian alt-R&B of The Weeknd when he first tweeted and blogged about his House Of Balloons mixtape. He later featured him on Take Care. In a lot of ways the young padawan has surpassed his jedi master with reams of number ones and an Oscar nomination for his work on the BDSM-film 50 Shades of Gray. Fresh off a guest appearance on Beyonce’s Lemonade, The Weeknd might be getting a little big to play the part of mentee.

Mo G

Someone we probably won’t be seeing on this album is the Toronto rapper Mo-G who, after riding-high off numerous OVO cosigns in recent months, turned against the crew claiming his swagger was jacked with little to no remuneration. The Somali-Canadian rapper is the inventor of the Ginobili, one of Drake’s signature dance moves.

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(Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage via Getty)

Listen to Wizkid's Surprise New EP 'Soundman Vol. 1'

Wizkid treats fans to new songs featuring Chronixx, DJ Tunez and more—just ahead of 2020.

Wizkid is back. The Nigerian pop star surprised listeners early this morning with the unannounced release of a new EP, Soundman Vol. 1.

Though Wizkid has released a couple of singles this year, fans had been awaiting a new drop and more extensive project from the artist. With it being so close to the end of the year, it didn't look like we'd get a new body of work from the artist till 2020, but he proved otherwise when he took to Twitter at the wee hours of the morning to quietly share streaming links for the new project.

He also announced that a second EP, Soundman Vol. 2, would drop sometime before his highly-anticipated upcoming album Made In Lagos (MIL).

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Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Sarz Has Powered a Generation of Nigerian Music—and He Isn't Stopping Anytime Soon

We talk to the star producer about his role in the rising global popularity of Nigerian music, spanning his production on massive singles from the likes of Wizkid, Skepta, Drake and more.

"I think more than the music, the narrative is more important these days," says Sarz as he sits at the offices of his press agency. "So one great song with an amazing narrative can get you farther than five great songs sometimes."

When Sarz talks about music, his eyes light up. They dart with excitement as he runs through topics like sounds, production, trends, and innovation. These are all words that represent his life's work of impactful music production, which has powered a generation of music in Nigeria, and is currently playing a role in its international future. Sitting at the offices, decked in a white t-shirt, red trousers and Nike kicks, he makes a point that he rarely grants interviews. And when he does, it's in spaces like this, in rooms and studios where his business is conducted, and his work is birthed and refined for public impact.

Born Osabuohien Osaretin, the 30-year-old music producer discovered sounds by accident when his ears would automatically pick apart music and focus on the beat. Interestingly, he discovered that he could remember every beat in detail. It was the entry point to a career that took off in 2010 when he scored his first hit on Jahbless' "Joor Oh" remix—during the formative stages of the current Nigerian pop success—and has provided sounds that have shaped the culture and given it its biggest moments.

With afrobeats' global ambitions taking off, Sarz's production is playing crucial roles in celebrated cross-cultural projects. He's helmed Drake's "One Dance," unlocked the chemistry between Wizkid and Skepta on "Energy (Stay Far Away)," and added composition on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift album.

"I'm inspired by the thoughts of how far I can take music. Just thinking about where this music can take me to," Sarz says, taking swigs from a water bottle. The producer has also worked with the biggest stars in afrobeats, and a look through his catalogue has hits every year since 2007.

He talks passionately about his work, the source of inspiration, where good music originates from, and how he identifies where to direct his energies. He runs an academy that has been a vehicle for delivering new producers to the culture. Sarz converses with range, a brimming energy, and a humility that is tied to purpose and achievements. He never shies away from topics that examine his revered place in this ecosystem, admitting without bragging that he is no one's mate. Even his 2019 SINYM EP is affirmation that "Sarz Is Not Your Mate." He has seen a lot and has a lot to say.

Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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