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Okayafrica's Guide To SXSW 2014

Presenting Okayafrica's Guide to SXSW 2014 featuring showcases from Tinariwen, Young Fathers, Petite Noir, Afrikan Boy, Christian Tiger School, and more.


South By Southwest is nearly upon us (less than 1 week!!!). This year we're going down to Austin with tricks up our sleeves (4 to be exact). To recap: the cherry on top of the Okayplayer network-wide takeover of SXSW is a stacked to the tee bill that includes SA noir wave mastermind Petite Noir, Edinburgh's Scottish / Liberian / Nigerian art-rap trio Young Fathers, and Cape Town's Christian Tiger School (the beatmaking cornerstone of one of our favorite Player Xchanges to date). That's three Africa In Your Earbuds alums all in one night (like we said, cherry on top of SX for us). For FOMO's sake though, we'll be hitting the ground hard in between our own events. So in the spirit of tradition, we've sifted through South By's official showcase schedule, picking out our favorite artists across Africa and the diaspora that will be down in Austin next week. But before we get to that, there's two panels to note. The first is "Packed With Electronic Beats: Africa's Next Music Coming to America" (Thursday, March 13, 5-6pm). The second is "Africa's Mobile Music: A New Way of Listening" (Friday, March 14, 2-3pm). And now, without further adieu, Okayafrica presents 10 artists to catch (in alphabetical order) at this year's edition of SXSW.

* Denotes SXSW OFFICIAL showcase

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Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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