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AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #75: Nigeria's National Football Team

Nigerian football stars John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi & Kelechi Iheanacho share their favorite tracks in a new AIYE mixtape.


We've all thought about what our favorite footballers do as they prepare to defend their club or country.

We've all seen the live TV images of players walking down the tunnel into packed stadiums around the world with their headphones on, dead-focused on the match ahead.

It made us wonder: what songs do these players listen to as they get ready for the big game?

The answer—well, the Nigerian answer—lies in this new installment of our mixtape series Africa In Your Earbuds.

For these special selections, we asked Nigerian football stars John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho to share the tracks they listen to as they get ready to take the field to represent the Super Eagles or one of their elite Premier League clubs.

Nigeria's captain John Obi Mikel, a veteran of the national team and Chelsea F.C., threw us a bit of a curveball by revealing that his favorite song currently is Sia's "The Greatest" featuring Kendrick Lamar. He also told us that he's a fan of Tekno's "Wash," Desiigner and Drake.

Arsenal winger and forward Alex Iwobi, who elected to represent Nigeria over England internationally last year, shares that his go-to tracks are Wizkid's "Murder" featuring Wale, Banky W's "Yes/No," and Duncan Mighty's "Obianuju." On top of those Nigerian bangers, he regularly bumps hits from French Montana, Fat Joe, and Tory Lanez.

Lastly, striking talent Kelechi Iheanacho, a rising force up top for the Super Eagles and Manchester City, told us that he plays P-Square, Flavour, Yemi Alade, Kcee, and, even, Celine Dion.

Check out all of the selections from these Nigerian stars in AIYE #75: Nigeria's National Football Team above— expertly mixed by DJ/producer Kashaka—and see Mikel, Iwobi and Iheanacho's track list below.

The mix is the first in a group of special articles Okayafrica will be releasing, in partnership with Nike, to promote the 2016 Nigerian National Football team and its new kits as part of our #NaijaBrilliance campaign.

AIYE #75: Nigeria's National Football Team Track List

Tekno “Pana"

Wizkid ft. Wale “Murder"

Banky W “Yes/No"

Duncan Mighty “Obianuju"

Flavour “To Be A Man"

P-Square ft. J Martins “E No Easy"

Tekno “Pana"

P-Square ft. 2face “Possibilities"

Kcee “Limpopo"

Yemi Alade feat. Selebobo“Na Gode"

Tekno “Wash"

Splash ft. Charass “Onye?"

Wizkid “No Lele"

Sia ft. Kendrick Lamar “The Greatest"

Fat Joe “All The Way Up"

French Montana “Drink Freely"

Wale ft. Neyo “White Linen"

Drake ft. PartyNextDoor “With You"

Drake ft. Wizkid “One Dance"

Yxng Bane ft. Kojo Funds “Fine Wine"

Duncan Mighty “Hand of Jesus"

Desiigner “Panda"

Tory Lanez “Luv"

MIST “Ain't The Same"

Celine Dion “I'm Alive"

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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