News Brief
London To Addis cover.

UK Grime Meets Ethiopian Music In 'London To Addis'

A new 18-track release from No Hats No Hoods Records.

London To Addis follows various grime producers as they take cues from the instrumentation, time signatures, and musical scales of Ethiopian music.

The project started out in Addis Ababa, where No Hats No Hoods label co-founder Peter Todd (DJ Magic) spent a week recording traditional Ethiopian instruments like the krar, washint, masenqo and drums.

He then sent those raw recordings to an array of grime produces—the likes of Dexplicit, Ignorants, J Beatz and TC4, JT The Goon, Wize, Shudan, Proc Fiskal and Captain Over—for them to make into their own tracks.

"The inspiration for the project came when we visited Ethiopia in 2016 to shoot the video for Elf Kid's "Reload That" video," Peter Todd tells OkayAfrica via e-mail. " While we were there we met up with local producers and musicians but didn't get chance to work with them properly."


"We were lucky enough to be awarded a new Arts new Audiences Grant from the British Council which helped fund the project. Lots of UK Black music, including Grime, draws heavily from West Africa and Jamaica, so it was a nice challenge to use Ethiopian instruments and explore a small part of their music scene," he continues.

"I found it inspiring to riff on the Ethiopian sounds; it allowed me to navigate a refreshing unexplored space," mentions producer Shudan. "I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can push the sound of Grime and bring something new to the table, instead of returning to the old sounds. I think we can move forwards by combining new concepts and ideas like this project."

Get into London To Addis below and stream it here on all platforms.

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.