News

Nneka 'Soul Is Heavy' + Tour w/ Bajah & The Dry Eye Crew + Contest


Soul Is Heavy, the third full-length from Nneka, builds on the Nigerian chanteuse's blend of hip-hop beats, Lauryn Hill-esque croons and an unmistakably Naija feel. We've been covering this release for a minute now — from our own Okayafrica TV piece with Nneka, to vibing on her stellar Lagos-street clip for "My Home" and her collaboration tracks with Black Thought and Ms. Dynamite.

Nneka's Soul Is Heavy LP is (finally) out now and avaiable for purchase in the US. In its promotion, Nneka will be embarking on a North American tour with Sierra Leone's premiere hip-hop bandits Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew. Grab the album over at iTunes/Amazon and check out the full tour dates below.

In addition, Okayafrica is giving away 2 tickets to the tour's stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Philly. Enter our contest below!

ENTER HERE TO WIN TICKETS TO NNEKA LIVE IN SF, LA, BOSTON, NY AND PHILLY

Nneka North American Tour Dates

Tue 6-Mar Vancouver, BC Biltmore

*Wed 7-Mar Seattle, WA Crocodile Café

*Thu 8-Mar Portland, OR Doug Fir

*Sat 10-Mar San Francisco, CA Red Devil Lounge

*Sun 11-Mar Los Angeles, CA Troubadour

Tue 13-17Mar SXSW, Austin, TX

Sun 18-Mar Houston, TX HOB Bronze Peacock

Wed 21-Mar Chicago, IL Double Door

Fri 23-Mar Toronto, ON Canadian Music Week - Mod

Sat 24-Mar Montreal, QC Cab Mile End

*Mon 26-Mar Boston, MA TT The Bears

*Tue 27-Mar New York, NY Gramercy

*Wed 28-Mar Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda's

*Thu 29-Mar Vienna, VA Jammin Java

*Sat 31-Mar Atlanta, GA Vinyl

*w/ Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew

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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