New Sounds Of Africa: Ayriq Akam

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New Sounds Of Africa is a new weekly series where we introduce need-to-know artists from the continent and the diaspora. Our third installment features Ayriq Akam, a dope MC repping Cameroon to the fullest. His 2010 album Puzzles (released by Amer Evolution) is as enigmatic as his recent music happenings. Basically, he's dropped off the face of the internet. Maybe he's in a rebuilding stage of his career, transitioning to bigger and better things, or maybe he vanished. Who knows, but one thing we do know is the mysterious Cameroonian has some flavor. The feel good production is funky, imaginative, has traditional Cameroon elements, full in sound when necessary and candy to hip hop ears.  We're head nodding to "I Got Soul" (stream here) as he spits what sounds like a poem being recited.  "We Back" (video below) is hard bodied, laced melodies, cultured swag, and french vocals with some sweet back production. Akam definitely understands how to flow with the music, which makes him a name to watch.

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“Commenting on the New Sounds Of Africa helps the artist and expands the music universe!” -GiKu


Photo: Lex Ash (@thelexash). Courtesy of Simi.

Interview: Simi Is Taking Risks

Nigerian star Simi talks about the successes & risks of this year, her thoughts on the #EndSARS protests, and how her husband, Adekunle Gold, inspired Restless II.

Simi is restless. It has nothing to do with the year she has had, in fact, she reaffirmed her status as one of Nigeria's most successful musicians with a single music drop, "Duduke," which enjoyed widespread appeal as the nation went into lockdown earlier in the year.

The 32-year-old singer's restlessness is a reflection of the organised chaos that has defined her recording process this year as she combined the rigours of being an expectant mother with an examination of her place in the wider world. It, more accurately, reflects her re-negotiation of the parameters of her stardom.

"I've never really been a big fan of the spotlight," she whispers silently early in our Zoom conversation. "I know that it comes with the territory, but when I got my big break and more people started to recognise me, I realised that I had to edit myself, my life, and most of the things that I'd do or say because I wanted to be careful to keep a part of me for myself."

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