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Gordon Ominde and Black Savage Band. Image: Afro7.

Kanye West Sampled This 1970s Kenyan Record On 'Ye'

The two Kenyan artists had no idea their music had been used in Ye album track, "Yikes."

Kanye West released his latest album, Ye, last Friday following a seemingly-unending and highly controversial build-up which culminated at a listening party session in Wyoming.

A close look at the album credits reveals that its second track, "Yikes," contains the use of lyrics and composition from Kenyan artists Ayub Ogada and James Mbarack Achieng.

Though they haven't spoken in 10 years, Ogada and Achieng were part of the 1970s Nairobi group Black Savage. Their vocal parts and melodies from the 1976 track "Kothbiro"are sampled in Kanye West's "Yikes."


OkayAfrica recently featured a new Black Savage reissue compilation from Afro7 records. In that article, contributor Thomas Gesthuizen writes:

"One band whose recorded output has been all but invisible until recently but who are well remembered by people who were young in 1970s Nairobi is Black Savage. Their music was released on an LP and three singles between the mid-'70s and the early 80s, and has remained out of print ever after."

"Mbarak Achieng is credit for composing Black Savage's "Kothbiro," which Ayub Ogada re-recorded and which ended on the soundtrack of the 'Constant Gardener.'"

Reached for a new interview with the Nairobi News, Ayub Ogada revealed that he was "clueless on his 'contribution'" to Kanye West's album and hadn't spoken to Mbarack Achieng for nearly ten years.

Listen to Kanye West's "Yikes" (sample stars at 0:23) and Black Savage's "Kothbiro" (sample stars at 0:53) below.




Black Savage reissue compilation art work. Credit: Afro7.

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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