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Backstage On The Macklemore Heist Tour With Owuor Arunga

Armed with a GoPro, the Sultan of Swag, Owuor Arunga, took Okayafrica TV backstage on The Heist tour with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.


The official trumpeter for The Heist album and tour and an esteemed member of Seattle's hip-hop community in his own right, Owuor Arunga has played just about every note along the way of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' historic rise. And it was just about a year ago that Okayafrica first found out the "Sultan of Swag" hails from Kisumu, Kenya. Since that fateful day, Macklemore and co. have continued their meteoric takeover with a show-stopping performance at the VMA's and a massive tour of Europe under their belt.

Luckily, Okayafrica TV had behind-the-scenes access to these moments and more along the Heist tour. Armed with a GoPro, "Hip-Hop's Dizzy Gillespie" took us backstage for an exclusive look at life on the road with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Somehow in between trotting the globe Owuor even found time to visit his pops in Cairo. When all was said and done, the Heist's orchestral renaissance man turned out to be quite the candid filmmaker (his sneak peak of Chance The Rapper tap dancing backstage in Paris is pretty convincing proof, right?). After three months of traveling with the GoPro in tow, Owuor caught up with us to assess the footage and answer some questions we'd been dying to know. When did he and Macklemore meet? Who was the troublemaker and who was the "square bear" of Seattle's legendary Garfield High? How did he end up jamming with kids in Cairo? And of course, how stoked is he to bring the Macklemore tour to Kenya? (The answer to that last one is a resounding YES) And so without further adieu, get to know the Heist's Owuor Arunga as he takes us backstage in the latest episode of Okayafrica TV.

Videographers:

Allison Swank

Imani Lindsey

Jason Koenig

Editor:

Lance Steagall

Music by:

Owuor & Friends

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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