Swizz Beatz Sings praises For Black Coffee and Burna Boy in New Interview

Swizz Beatz sits down for an interview with Slikour On Life.

Swizz Beatz, while in South Africa for the Barcadi Holiday Club concert, hung out with some of SA's biggest stars including Cassper Nyovest, Reason, DJ Fresh, AKA, and a lot more.

He also sat down for an interview with the arts and culture website Slikour On Life. Interviewed by Slikour himself, the producer and rapper spoke about his upcoming project, his Ruff Ryders days, and also his connection to music from the continent, among other things.

Slikour asked the artist what made him connect with Black Coffee, who Swizz has a relationship with.

"Just his passion," he answered.

"I got a chance to watch Black Coffee in a lot of scenarios. And it's not everyday that you see somebody that confident but also powerful [and] so reserved. I got to watch him in New York, LA, Miami, and all these different places, and he's just on another planet. So I connected with him on a spiritual vibe. More than his music–he makes dope music, and I discovered his music way way back, when they did the World Cup. But he's just a different type of guy­–he like to help people, he gave me a record that was his first single. People don't give away their first singles. I knew it was a big record for him, but he was like you know what? You can take it and we can figure something out. He's just a cool guy."

Asked about Burna Boy who he had a recording session with, he simply remarked, "Very talented."

Slikour then asked him what he thinks it is about the "African sound" that moves the world. This was a cringe worthy moment for me. What is the African sound exactly?

In his response to Slikour's question, though, Swizz spoke about listening to Fela Kuti even before the world paid attention to music from the continent–highly likely referring to the explosion of Afrobeat.

"The African sound," he said, "only you can do if you born here. The melodies, you can't escape those melodies, they spiritual. It just takes you to a different place. That's really the strong point in the music, it's just that people don't really understand that even if you pull from it here and there, it's not the same. So that's why you never hear me remixing anything. I just let it be what it is because it's already great. And I just think the sound here, it's the only place that can offer it.
"Even back when I was listening to Fela and people were making fun of me for accepting the African and they were like 'ah man, you need to get back to the Ruff Ryders stuff we were listening to.' But now, everybody tryna figure it out. So you have to be a leader as a creative also."

You can watch the full interview below:

Read: The 10 Best Black Coffee Songs

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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