Video

Video: Solange Knowles 'Losing You'

Cape Town-shot music video for Solange Losing You co-written/produced by Dev Hynes.

Solange flew to Cape Town to film the video for her break-up single "Losing You," a synth-flanked ballad co-written and produced by Blood Orange's Dev Hynes (who's been racking up those production credits). Notably featured are a band of hyper-sharp sapeurs inspired by Daniele Tamagni's Gentleman of Bacongo book. In an interview with Fader, Solange delved on the video's Congolese inspiration:


What’s so exciting to you about the Sapeurs? I think it’s about the fact that they really believe that this interpretation of style is giving praise to God. Sort of marking their place in the world. There are all of these commandments that a Sapeur must abide by. Sort of like a society. [It's amazing] to really be able to capture that in its origin, which is in the Congo, which is in Brazzaville, a place that has had its fair share of horrific things happen.

They’ve been able to just sort of create this movement and have the foundation of it be about, you know, having style and grace and edict and portraying that in every way. It’s not just about the fashion, a Sapeur must know how to speak French, a Sapeur must know how to tie his tie the right way, he must have perfect posture, just that classic edict. It’s so amazing, especially in contrast to what Brazzaville is like, which is why I think the book was so interesting to me.

Watch the Melina Matsoukas-directed video 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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