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Olugbenga Shares 'Olu's Omniverse: We Don' Catch Am' Mixtape

London-based Nigerian songwriter and producer Olugbenga mixes Okmalumkoolkat, Vieux Farka Toure and Temi Dollface in a new mixtape.


London-based Nigerian songwriter and producer Olugbenga (of Metronomy) comes through with the 34-minute Olu's Omniverse #2: We Don' Catch Am mixtape, a collection of tracks from a familiar roster featuring South Africa's Okmalumkoolkat, DJ Spoko, and Christian Tiger School, Nigerian songstress Temi DollfaceVieux Farka TouréDotorado Pro and Seye, as well as a brand new remix of UK folk singer Laura Marling.

"This... mixtape is Pure Internet," Olugbenga writes in a detailed explanation, "My first son was born almost two months ago and I haven’t really left the house since then. There have been walks around the park and a few shows with Metronomy, but certainly no DJing. I am still well acquainted with being awake when most respectable people are asleep, but I haven’t seen the inside of a club in months. I’ve... spent hours (and hours!) listening to tunes from all over the world, panning for gold.

"From hearing the first few bars of Holy Oxygen, I just knew this was the song with which to open up proceedings. I’m still not 100% sure how to pronounce Okmalumkoolkat or what he’s on about a lot of the time, but I know this is the freshest hip-hop I have heard in a while... uniquely representing his region of Africa but also of a generation that has grown up with a global mix of influences. His music is both spiritual and carnal, from what I can make out, and I always think that’s an interesting mix."

"One of the things I was looking for this month was music from East Africa. I have a great affinity for that part of the world. My mother is from Mombasa in Kenya, and I’ve had some wonderful times there and in Mozambique. So P-Unit and The Kansoul are representing Kenya this month... From Nigeria there are funny, party tracks by Temi Dollface and Orezi but the tunes by myself and my brother Seye are lyrically much more reflective. Seye’s been keeping busy the last couple of years playing for people like Damon Albarn and The Very Best. Another track I am very pleased to be sharing is my remix of Divine by the inimitable Laura Marling. The closing run of Vieux Farka Touré (remixed by Mawimbi), Dotorado Pro, Midnight Ravers and Christian Tiger School was just an excuse for me to imagine a dancefloor going off during one of the peak periods of the night."

Stream Olu's Omniverse #2: We Don' Catch Am above and Olugbenga's remix of Laura Marling's "Divine" below. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

TRACKLIST

Okmalumkoolkat - Holy Oxygen

The Kansoul - Nyongwa

Temi Dollface - Just Like That

P-Unit - Weka Weka

D Mackboogaloo - Here Comes Freedom

DJ Spoko - Angels & Demons

Orezi - Shuperu

OLUGBENGA - Silver Pixie, Iyawo Mi (REMIX)

Laura Marling - Divine [OLUGBENGA REMIX]

Vieux Farka Touré - Ana (Mawimbi Remix)

Dotorado Pro - African Scream

Midnight Ravers - Danbe

Christian Tiger School - Chorisolo

SEYE - Dream [OLUGBENGA REMIX]

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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