News Brief

Listen to DJ Neptune's Spirited New Song 'Ojoro'

The renowned disk jockey features Nigerian great D'banj and up-and-coming artist Flash in this single.

After teaming up with Davido on his first single of the year "Démo", DJ Neptune continues collaborating with exceptional Nigerian musicians. The talented D'banj, who needs no introduction, as well as the fast-rising singer Flash, join DJ Neptunethis time around to bring us "Ojoro", his second official single of the year.


A few weeks ago, DJ Neptune released the EP Love and Greatness which featured artists such as Davido, Runtown, Mr Eazi and Olamide and several others. Following that 6-track project, he's already onto the next musical production with his new single "Ojoro".

On the track, both D'banj and Flash make promises to their respective lovers about how they wont commit "ojoro" (which translates to cheating) even if they're presented with some very tempting opportunities. The new school sound of Flash, who takes charge of the song as he sings both the hook and two verses, mixed with D'banj's veteran sound in the closing verse, make for a song that you definitely need to be listening to.

The up-tempo beat, which was produced by Magic Sticks, samples from the great Fela Kuti's 1976 song "Zombie".

Listen to "Ojoro" on Apple Music and Spotify.

Featured
Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

The Powerhouse Behind Nigeria’s Biggest Streetwear Event

Street Souk has become Nigeria's most popular streetwear event. OkayAfrica spent time with the founder, Iretidayo “Ireti” Zaccheaus, while she prepared for the event.

On an unremarkable Saturday in mid-December, the Habour Point events centre—a large, prominent events arena tucked away in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria’s highbrow area of Victoria Island—felt calm. On the following day, Sunday, December 18th, thousands of young Nigerians will flock to this arena to attend Nigeria’s biggest streetwear event, Street Souk. But in the meantime, a wedding is ongoing. In one of the four tents set up close to each other and inside the three unoccupied tents handymen are hard at work, setting up stalls, nailing up wood, spraying on polish, raising up signs, and getting ready for the events of the next day. There was a sense of quiet anticipation in the air, one that a wedding, or a series of constructions—no matter how loud—was unable to disrupt.

Since it launched five years ago, Street Souk has had upwards of four thousand young Nigerians in attendance. Over 100 stalls set up shop to sell homemade Nigerian streetwear products. The event has doubled as a gathering space for young, creative Nigerians to connect and network. Founded in 2018 by 23-year-old creative Iretidayo “Ireti” Zaccheaus, Street Souk has become one of the country’s most anticipated end-of-year events. And to pull off an event of such scale, there are a lot of moving parts, operating at lightning speed.

women at Street SoukPhoto By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

When Ireti arrives at Habour Point on the day before the main event, it is already evening and she barely has time to chat. She had spent the afternoon shooting promotional photos for the partnerships she developed this year with select, homegrown brands. Each year, Ireti develops this sort of partnership in a move she considers crucial to the ethos of Street Souk’s mission—to provide a solid ecosystem for Nigerian streetwear culture to thrive. Her hair is in long, thin blonde braids and she is spotting her signature baseball cap and dark-shade sunglasses. She is wearing an armless shirt with the late Virgil Abloh’s face on the back—a tribute to the now-deceased creative powerhouse who endorsed Street Souk’s missions in its very early days—and baggy knee-length shorts. Her fingers spot a variety of rings and her teeth glint from her signature gold grills. What is, perhaps, more impressive than her sense of style is the fact that Nigerian streetwear brands make up almost everything she is wearing. This is at once a testament to the incredible work Street Souk has done in legitimizing and integrating Nigerian streetwear brands, a market previously reserved only for second-hand or imported streetwear products, into mainstream fashion circles.

Ireti has cited her brother Teezee, the renowned Nigerian rapper, as one of the earliest inspirations for her love for streetwear; a love that would lead her to discover and become a part of online streetwear hubs like Hypebeast and Facebook forums. “In year 7, my friends Alex, Ore, and I started a streetwear blog called Rejuvenation of Swag. From then on I was researching and learning about A$AP Rocky, Pharrell, Virgil [during his] Pyrex era, and Odd Future," she told OkayAfrica. "Those were my earliest memory of falling in love with streetwear.”

Iretidayo \u201cIreti\u201d Zaccheaus holding hatPhoto By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

This love would follow her for most of her life and would inspire her to set up a streetwear brand after returning from her mother’s annual fashion souk in the bustling city of Lagos (which she also calls home.) Her experience at her mother’s street souk exposed a generational gap she knew Street Souk could accurately fill. Her mother’s fashion souk catered to an older audience, and hers would capture the attention of the younger generation.

Ireti spends Saturday killing multiple fires. Delivery is running late, someone has parked at a prime spot where Street Souk paraphernalia is set to be mounted, and an artist who was set to design and create a Street Souk statue bailed at the last minute. Amidst all of this, though, Ireti maintains a firm sense of zen. This is perhaps because she now has more people on her team: a Project manager, a publicist and a personal assistant for instance. “These were things I typically had to do myself in the early days,” says Ireti. “With age you know that you need to learn to delegate.”

colorful statue Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

On the day of the event, Habour Points starts filling up by midday. The road leading up to the events arena is quickly choked full of cars dropping off event goers and cabs trying to make their way out of the narrow street. Young Nigerians—those who have flown in for the holidays sometimes planning their entire trip around Street Souk and others from within the country—mill about the hundreds of stalls set up inside three large tents. The chance to shop from this many Nigerian streetwear brands is rare and only possible at Street Souk, adding to the coveted status of this event.

“Seeing so many cool young people in the same place, having fun, brands selling, the streetwear community coming together and even having my nephew Zacai—who wasn’t born when I first started Street Souk—walking around was amazing for me,” says Ireti of this year’s event.

Iretidayo \u201cIreti\u201d Zaccheaus with friends Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

Nigeria’s streetwear community seems primed for the ecosystem Street Souk has established and, with over 70% of its population under 30,,the creative industry continues to see an explosion of original creative exploits.

“I’ve started planning 2023,” says Ireti. “I love this, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else, [Street Souk] is the most me thing I could have ever done.”

Interview

DJ Obi On His Buzzing Lagos Party, 'Obi's House'

We sit down with Obi to talk about the trials of being a DJ in Nigeria, the success of his weekly party and his involvement in Lagos’ nightlife culture.

For Nigeria’s superstar DJ Obi, it was a romantic relationship gone sour – a situation that many Nigerians like to describe as ‘being served breakfast' — that led him to this.

“I was served breakfast,” confesses Obi. It was a vulnerable way to kickstart our conversation somewhere in the industrious city of Lagos. “I wanted to double my income because I figured the guy she was leaving me for was wealthier than I was. I decided not to do drugs, or be a bad boy. But I was going to make as much money as I could from entertainment,” he explains.

Obi’s House, his brainchild in collaboration with Hard Rock Cafe Lagos, has become an integral part of Lagos’ nightlife, bringing in over 2,000 music lovers in attendance every Monday night. What started off as a way for Obi to engage his internet followers during the pandemic has now become a culture movement for young people and entertainment professionals in the city.

“Right before COVID-19 went crazy, DJ ECool put me on to Facebook live, and I named it Obi’s House. That was how it started. He was already doing it in Atlanta and he taught me how to do the same while adding my CashApp for donations. He set up my laptop, did the whole thing, and we started testing out. Then I went through the heaviest breakup in my life.”

In 2016, DJ Obi broke the world record for having the longest DJ set which had him spinning for ten straight days. His profile skyrocketed, achieving exactly what he aimed to attain with the stunt andm since then, it's only been upward movement for the Nigerian spinner.

We sat down with DJ Obi to talk about being a DJ in Nigeria, the success of Obi’s House and his involvement in Lagos’ nightlife culture.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Arts + Culture
Image courtesy of Desange Kuenihira

Desange Kuenihira Is Living Life on Her Own Terms

We spoke with the 22-year-old CEO, author, and recent graduate on finding meaning in a world determined to silence you.

For much of her life, Desange Kuenihira’s closest companion was fear. Fear and hatred accompanied the now 22-year-old author and CEO as she escaped civil war in her home country, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and entered a Ugandan refugee camp at the age of two. Fear continued to tug at her sleeves as she battled the ignorance that comes with xenophobic ideologies. Having survived abuse — to her body and character — and multiple instances of sexual assault, Kuenihira prevails. Now, the founder and CEO of the Nonprofit organization UnDefeatedhas made that fear her power, as she pushes to empower those around her. Her autobiography Undefeated Woman,released in 2022, tells the story of a little girl who clawed her way out of the black hole life tried to bind her to.

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Image courtesy of the artist.

2023 Is the Year of Black Sherif

Here's why we believe the young Ghanaian superstar is going to dominate this year.

Black Sherif was undoubtedly Ghana’s biggest breakout star last year. The 21-year old rapper, singer, songwriter, and performer from Konongo, Ghana first made his debut in 2020 and went on to have two years of meteoric stature. From dropping singles that birthed viral TikTok challenges to securing a Burna Boy feature, Black Sherif’s career has already seen moments that rival the likes of artists many years more established.

Black Sherif came onto the radar with his debut single “Cry For Me” in 2020. The single aired the honest sentiments of a young hustler trying his best to make it in the face of highly unfavorable odds. This was Blacko’s—as he's also called by fans—narrative, and he owned it more and more with each new release. The Ghanaian artist then proceeded to drop a string of further singles, and each one did increasingly better than the last. Black Sherif gained impressive traction on streaming services, such as the local favorite Boomplay Music.

Then came “First Sermon.” With its release, people began to really pay attention to the newcomer. At this point videos began to make the rounds on social media of the young rapper performing in his animated, impassioned delivery, which became his identifying signature. With the release of “Second Sermon” in July 2021, his first breakthrough arrived. The sequel outdid its first iteration by miles, became a smash hit single, and caught the eye and ear of Nigerian afrobeats star Burna Boy who ended up jumping on the official remix of the song just a few months later.

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