Video

Santi Has the Nigerian Dancehall Jam You Didn't Know You Needed

Nigerian artist Santi delivers a refreshing new afro-dancehall song and video "Gangster Fear" featuring Odunsi.

There are a plethora of artists emerging from Lagos’ ever-growing music scene, but few are delivering music that sounds as refreshing as Nigerian artist Santi’s (also known as Ozzy B) latest song “Gangsta Fear.”


The track—which also features afro-fusion artist and producer Odunsi—blends dancehall, afrobeats, and mellow, '90s-tinged hip-hop production to deliver a laid back tune that is sonically distinct from what we’re used to hearing from many of today’s Naija artists.

The music video is just as unique. Ozzy B successfully avoids Nigerian music video cliches by offering a clip that's thoughtfully crafted and reflective of a side of Lagos that is rarely shown. The fact that it’s shot in the actual city, is in itself a departure from the afrobeats norm of outsourcing video production to the UK.

The video’s lurid texture and chilled-out vibe reflect Santi’s version of Lagos— one that’s relaxed, slow-paced and notably different from typical portrayals of the city.

Artists like Santi and Odunsi are creating a new wave of genre-bending Nigerian music that we can’t wait to hear more of.

Check the video for “Gangsta Fear” and stream Santi’s latest EP Suzie’s Funeral above.

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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