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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
Photo: Lex Ash (@thelexash). Courtesy of Simi.

Interview: Simi Is Taking Risks

Nigerian star Simi talks about the successes & risks of this year, her thoughts on the #EndSARS protests, and how her husband, Adekunle Gold, inspired Restless II.

Simi is restless. It has nothing to do with the year she has had, in fact, she reaffirmed her status as one of Nigeria's most successful musicians with a single music drop, "Duduke," which enjoyed widespread appeal as the nation went into lockdown earlier in the year.

The 32-year-old singer's restlessness is a reflection of the organised chaos that has defined her recording process this year as she combined the rigours of being an expectant mother with an examination of her place in the wider world. It, more accurately, reflects her re-negotiation of the parameters of her stardom.

"I've never really been a big fan of the spotlight," she whispers silently early in our Zoom conversation. "I know that it comes with the territory, but when I got my big break and more people started to recognise me, I realised that I had to edit myself, my life, and most of the things that I'd do or say because I wanted to be careful to keep a part of me for myself."

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