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L-Tido, Maggz and Sean Pages earlier this year. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

L-Tido Breaks Down What Exactly Happened to Glitz Gang in His New Album ‘16’

L-Tido releases his most introspective album to date.

South African rapper L-Tido dropped a new album today, titled 16. The project is his first in five years (his sophomore All of Me came out in 2013).

16 is undoubtedly Tido's most introspective album to date. While on All of Me, the MC had a few personal songs, like "Problems" and "Unbreakable," on 16, he has more of those types of songs, in which he's speaking about issues that have been in his mind.

He speaks on his thoughts on the ever-changing hip-hop scene on the song "Letter To The Game," in which he personifies hip-hop. He raps about DJs who only break their songs, politicians using hip-hop for their agendas, OGs who are failing to evolve… issa lot.

But one song that sticks out is the second last track on the 13-track album, "Glitz Gang Forever." In the song, Tido breaks down the story of what happened between him, Maggz, Sean Pages and Morale, who are collectively known as Glitz Gang (formerly Glitterati).

Read: The Story of How Pro Gave AKA & IV League Their Biggest Break

Glitz Gang was one of the groups that were instrumental in shaping what South African hip-hop sounds like today. They were on that trap shit before it became cool this side of the Equator.

Glitz Gang only released a few singles in the late 2000s, but never got to release an album.


Maggz, L-Tido and Sean Pages have worked on numerous collaborations since then, but Morale has been out of the picture. In "Glitz Gang Forever," Tido raps:

"Finally crossed over; streets to the fame/ They waited for the album, release never came/ But instead we dropped solos, went against the grain/ More success we got, we drifted apart/ [?] we lost the plot/ that linked us from the start/ Egos got inflated, jealousy invaded/ I guess that's a diplomatic way that I can say it/ Pages left the crew, Morale left the crew/ We disintegrated; foes out the blue."

Tido goes onto mention an interview Morale did with Vuzu in which he said undesirable things about him.

In the song, while telling the story of how Glitz Gang came up, Tido makes reference to his beef with AKA, which has since been squashed. "08, 09 had the streets locked/ "Amaretto" dropped, Kiernan took some cheap shots/ Then I.V. League-Glitz Gang beef popped/ Fist fights, gun shots, couple teeth knocked."

"Glitz Gang Forever" is an emotional song, which tells the story of friendship and growing apart. Tido says in the song that he hasn't spoken to Morale in three years, but it's still all love. "As far as Maggz and Sean Pages go, they my brothers for life," he says in a monologue towards the end of the song. And the piano keys… someone is chopping onions next to me. 😢

Sean Pages and Maggz also make appearances on 16, alongside the likes of AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Darne, Nadia Nakai, Gemini Major and a few others. The album features the singles "I'm Back" and "Zilele." 16 is L-Tido's first album released under a major label, Universal Music, after being the face of independence his whole career.

Listen to 16 below or download it here.

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Gigi Lamayne recently highlighted "Koze Kube Nini" from her latest EP, Job Woods, as a single with the release of a music video. In the song, the emcee and her guests are condemning abuse against women and children. She makes reference to Karabo Mokoena, one of the many South African women who have been killed by men in the country that's facing a gender-based violence crisis. Mokeona was violently murdered by her partner in 2017.

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6 Things We Learned About African Migration to Europe in 2019 From a New UN Report

UNDP representatives presented their "Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe" report last night at Okay Space. Here's what we found out.

Yesterday, Okay Space hosted a discussion between UN luminaries Ahunna Eziakonwa, Mohamed Yahya and OkayAfrica CEO, Abiola Oke about the new UNDP report, Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe. The report examines young Africans who are leaving their homes to make the dangerous journey to Europe for economic opportunities—not solely for asylum or to escape persecution. The evening was both enlightening and sobering, and the main findings may be a little different than what you might expect.

Immigration to Europe from Africa is roughly 90 percent lower than what it was in 2015.

In 2015, slightly over 1 million Africans left for Europe. In 2018, it was just over 100,000. However, the percentage of those who drown on the journey has increased. In 2015, it was 1.6 percent of that million, while it grew to 2 percent in 2018. Meaning just over 2,000 people died enroute in 2018 alone. It is a disturbing factor that, four years on, more people are dying proportionately than when the large migrations began.

Even though most of Africa is rural, most of the youth leaving the continent for economic reasons are from the urban areas.


85 percent of those who the report identified came from urban cities or towns, though only 45 percent of Africans overall live in those urban areas. This means that most of them are coming from regions with "relatively low levels of deprivation." Analysts believe the rapid urbanization of many African cities could be a contributing factor. Benin City, Nigeria, for instance, has urbanized 122 percent in only ten years. These cities cannot actually support the people—and their ambitions and talents—who live there. It plateaus and does not allow for further upward mobility.

Only 2 percent of those who left say knowing the dangers would have deterred them.

This means 98 percent would do it again, despite the knowledge of fatalities and difficulties in crossing. The appeal of elsewhere is greater than death. This realization is crucial for all nations to better comprehend the true elements belying migration, particularly for those that this report is concerned with. Of the 1,970 migrants from 39 African countries interviewed for the report, almost all of them are willing to face death for economic opportunities abroad than stay home. As most of the migrants had relatively comfortable lives at home, they are not migrating to flee death or persecution as with asylum seekers. This prompts great questions and led the report to look at the issue from four angles: home life in Africa, motivations for leaving, life in Europe, motivations for returning.

58 percent of those who left were employed or in school in their home country.

Not only that, in almost every demographic and country, those who left had a considerably higher amount of education than their peers. From Malu, those leaving had an average of five years of education, compared to one year with peers in their age group and two years for the national average. In Cameroon, those leaving had an average 12 years, their peers had seven and the national average of six. Even when broken down by gender, both men and women who leave have about nine years of education while the national average is five and three, respectively.

Though the average African family size is five, most of those who leave have an average family size of 10.

When asked, migrants said their main motivation to leave is to send money home. This information is important as it may impact the motivations for needing to leave. The report reasons that an increase in population may also be playing a role in the motivations to leave. It was also reported that those who go abroad and find work send an average 90 percent of their earnings to their families. Essentially, they are leaving existing jobs to live on 10 percent of their new wage, highlighting that working below minimum wage in Europe is more prosperous.

Though 70 percent of those in Europe said they wanted to stay permanently, those who were working were more likely to want to return to their home country.

Conversely, the majority of those who did want to stay in Europe were not earning anything, 64 percent of them, and 67 percent did not have a legal right to work. Over half of those who did want to return home had a legal right to work. Analysts reason that those who did want to stay would likely change their mind once they had an income. This correlation speaks to a significant relationship between work and migration permanence. It also underlines the claim that migration for this group is focused solely on economic results as opposed to social factors.


***

What was most striking about the event, however, was the strong feeling communicated in the space about exchanges between Africans regarding what needs to be done. The discussion did not only surround the facts and figures alone, but also the humanity behind understanding why people migrate. At one point, when addressing the crowd of various influential people on the continent and in the diaspora, Eziakonwa said "What are we missing here? What are we doing by leaving young Africans out of the development discussion? Our programs are clearly failing our African youth."

Later, Yahya responded to a question by stating there was certainly a cultural barrier in which Africans do not often address, listen to or respect the youth. "I can say by looking at you that no one in this room would be given a true say," he said. "This is clearly part of the issue." When asked what can be done by others, the response was to work to change the narrative, to focus on prosperity rather than charity and to provide better access and platforms for African youth to share their stories so that the idea of who migrants are shifts. And so we, as Africans, can better know ourselves.

Check out some photos from last night below with photos from Polly Irungu. Follow and share in the changing of that narrative via #ScalingFencesUNDP and #MyJourney.

Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu

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Anjel Boris, Question Mark, 2019, Acrylic and posca on canvas, 133 by 7cm. Image courtesy of Out Of Africa and @artxlagos

What You Need to Know About ArtXLagos 2019

We talked to artistic director of ArtXLagos, Tayo Ogunbiyi, about Lagos's unique art scene and what's to expect from West Africa's biggest art party.

OkayAfrica is a media partner of ArtXLagos 2019.

In three years, ArtXLagos has successfully established itself as West Africa's premier art fair, cementing its reputation as a center of culture for the entire region. Since its founding by Tokoni Peterside in 2016, the art fair has attracted exhibitors, art buyers and members of the West African art scene and beyond—providing a platform for both emerging and established artists and playing a notable role in the global art ecosystem.

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