News

Reniss x Sadrak 'Owé Owé' (Produced By Le Monstre)

The "first lady" of Cameroonian label New Bell Music Reniss teams up with Sadrak on 'Owé Owé,' produced by Le Monstre.


We first heard Douala's Reniss back in January on New Bell Music head honcho Jovi's bouncy lead single "B.A.S.T.A.R.D." off his latest electro-rap offering Kankwe Vol. 1. Mankon-hailing, the New Bell "first lady," whose background is in gospel music, sings in a mixture of English, French, Pidgin and Mankon languages. She made her official debut in September 2013 with Afrikan LuV, a six-track "story about love from a young african woman's perspective," produced by Le Monstre (aka Jovi's producer alter-ego). With their second EP together now in the works and due out later this year, Reniss and her right-hand producer/labelhead came through today with a new single. An all natural break from the electronic production we saw on the first Kankwe EP, the sunshiney "Owé Owé" sees Reniss joined by Francophone emcee (and fellow New Bell signee) Sadrak, who rides swiftly over the song's "Owé" chants and what sounds like Western Cameroonian instruments. Listen to Reniss and Sadrak on "Owé Owé" below. For more from New Bell Music stream Jovi's most recent single "CA$H" and read our Top 10 Cameroonian Urban Artists to Watch in 2014 list.

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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