Audio

Kahli Abdu & VHS Safari Premiere 'A.R.T. Project'

Stream the premiere of afroelectro hip-hop trio Kahli Abdu & VHS Safari's debut album 'A.R.T. Project'


A.R.T. Project, the debut LP by Kahli Abdu & VHS Safari, arrives today with its unpredictable mix of genres, tones, and soundscapes. Featuring the guitar-based mellowness of both "On This Side" and "Forever and Ever," the album spans an array of eclectic songs, all engaging yet different from the next. There's the longing soul of album opener "The Holiday," the Yeezus-esque ferocious bass of "Take A Picture," and the romantic acoustic electronica of closer "Goin With You." Ultimately, A.R.T. Project, which Jos-born, Brooklyn-based rapper Abdu and D.C.-rooted production team VHS Safari (fka Trackpants), conceived during one long New York winter, intrigues with its blend of evocative pop and sonic depth. Kahli Abdu & VHS Safari will play the last show of their January residency at the Knitting Factory Brooklyn tomorrow night. The band will also perform this Thursday at Philadelphia’s Milkboy. Listen to A.R.T. Project below and check out the striking cover artwork by Lisa Jaeggi.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: JAE5 Is Crafting London's Distinct Diasporic Sound

We talk to the buzzing producer about his Grammy win alongside Burna Boy, his work with J Hus and the ever-looming influence of Ghana.