Audio

Hear Kenya's Emerging Producers in the 'Nairobi Nu Wave' Mixtape

DJ Bhayology's 'Nairobi Nu Wave' mixtape is a 30-minute overview of the fascinating sounds coming out of Kenya.

During his recent visit to Nairobi, American born DJ Bhayology encountered various producers and artists from the music scene.


Certain that the Soundcloud revolution had hit East Africa, he was set on discovering the fresh and emerging music makers in the Kenyan capital. This led to the making of the Nairobi Nu Wave mixtape, a 30-minute overview of the fascinating sounds coming out of the city.

This mixtape provides a wider look into Nairobi's thriving underground and digital music scene . Kicking off the tape are individual songs by NuFvnk, Ukweli and Jinku of the East African Wave who along with the Cosmic Homies remain influential in the “NuNairobi” movement.

As the tape progresses we hear more incredible music from Mars Maasai, MR. LU and RVMP, all members of the XPRSO collective, with the latter two having just released solo EPs, Full Moons and Before Everything Alters Me respectively.

East African Wave. Photo courtesy of EA Wave.

SURAJ is a talented producer who blends electronic music with traditional musical elements. His song “Rabai,” featuring Makadem which has come to much acclaim is also featured in the tape.

Veteran producer Blinky Bill isn’t left out of the mix as fans anticipate the release of his upcoming debut solo album. He recently premiered the music video for his track “ATIE” which follows The League of Extraordinary Supergrans—a group of ordinary Kenyan women transformed into fearless fashion mentors.

Blinky Bill at Thrift Social Nairobi.

The mixtape wouldn’t be complete without the likes of Sichangi, Basthma, Irayo, Jwa Kobra as well as other intriguing beat-makers making their way in the East African musical sphere.

The Nairobi Nu Wave mixtape exhibits the diversity of sounds coming out of the city. From tribal down-tempo and Afro-house to future bass and electronic, the music styles and genres span a wide range.

DJ Bhayology plans on putting out more mixtapes and compilations promoting the music he discovers as he travels through different African cities such as Kampala, Durban, Maputo and Dar es Salaam. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on his Soundcloud.

Listen to and download the Nairobi Nu Wave mixtape above.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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