Music

Stiff Pap Reference Past Eras In Their Progressive New EP ‘Stiff Pap Radio’

The Cape Town duo take a leap forward.

Stiff Pap is a duo from Cape Town consisting of the producer Jakinda and the rapper Ayema Problem. In the last two years, Stiff Pap has refused to be ignored. In just a few years of meeting in the University of Cape Town, where they are students, they have managed to become mainstays in the alternative scene.


With their latest EP titled Stiff Pap Radio, Stiff Pap take a leap forward as a duo. Their debut EP Based on a Qho Story, was lean in nature owing to the overt gqom influence on the project. On Stiff Pap Radio, however, Jakinda intensifies their production and Ayema Problem's writing goes further than the fun raps. The opening song"NNNEWWW," for instance, sees the emcee reflect on his life rapping, "I feel sad most of the time, I don't even know why," over a wide airy pad that ripples like ocean waves.

Jakinda is primarily an electronic producer, so it's expected that he favors synths and pads in his production. The drums on Stiff Pap Radio vary from 1990s and 2000s kwaito ("MKokotelo," "Yebo") to trap ("Maradona").

Stiff Pap - NNNEWWW (Official Video) www.youtube.com

Nostalgia plays a huge role in the creation of Stiff Pap Radio. It starts with the project's skits—listeners call in to Stiff Pap Radio and request their favorite songs. The 8-bit synths and video game effects point back to the '80s and '90s. So do a huge amount of Ayema Problem's references, which include Van Damme, Patrick M'boma and Jika Majika.

His writing is emotive this moment, boastful and playful the next. His wordplay isn't complex, but it's still entertaining—a great example is on the song "Yebo," where the rapper plays around with soccer references.

Stiff Pap Radio manages to take you through different eras in its 5-song span. It displays a more refined Stiff Pap making memorable songs and have a tighter grip on their craft.

Stream Stiff Pap Radio below:



Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

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Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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