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Mystro. Image courtesy of the artist.

Mystro's 'Atarodo' Will Spice Up Your Week

The Nigerian producer gives us an exclusive listen to the lead single from his upcoming full-length.

Mystro, the well-regarded Nigerian producer, is set to drop his debut album in December.

"Issa Vibe" his duet with Davido, which he wrote and produced, was one of the stand out songs of the summer. As he prepares to release his yet to-be-titled debut album, Mystro's making its first single, "Atarodo," available to fans as an OkayAfrica exclusive.

"Atarodo" is a mellow delight and finds Mystro in praise of a lover's beauty who he says "fine pass Rihanna." The single is named after the Yoruba word for Scotch bonnets (atarugu in Hausa), a very hot chili pepper whose quality Mystro likens to his lover.

"I wanted to do a song for all the women supporting the afrobeat culture," Mystro tells OkayAfrica in WhatsApp messages from his base in Lagos, "that's why atarodo is so sexy, melodic but yet empowering."

"Atarodo" pairs soft percussion with a sweet and melancholic piano. It does a good job of plucking the listener's emotional strings. The song's made better by Mystro's tender singing and heart-rendering, layered with muffled counter melodies that deepen the emotional pool of the song.

"I build my instruments with the piano. I always try to make my melodies compelling and also carry a driving force," writes.

Mystro's debut LP, when it drops, will feature Maleek Berry who has also made an impressive turn from producer to solo artist, as well as Ycee, Tomi Agape, Eugy and Nonso Amadi.

Listen to our exclusive of "Atarodo" above.

Mystro. Image courtesy of the artist.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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