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

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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