SXSWest Africa: Portraits Of Ice Prince, Sarkodie, R2bees, Samini & More

Portraits of Ice Prince, Sarkodie, R2bees, Samini and more from SXSW 2015 in Austin, Texas

Photos: @solomonsfam

Last week we went down to Austin, Texas to witness West Africa's unprecedented invasion of SXSW firsthand. On Friday, Nigerian heavy-hitters Ice Prince and Emma Nyra joined Ghana's Sarkodie, R2Bees (aka cousins Faisal "Paedae da Parlem" Hakeem and Rashid Mugeez) and Samini in a packed-out room at the Austin Convention Center for the "Meet Africa's Leading Musicians" panel, hosted by comedian Eddie Kadi.

Later that night the whole gang — with the notable additions of Davido, Côte d’Ivoire’s Serge Beynaud, and DJ Spinall on the decks — brought Lagos and Accra to Austin's 6th Street for the first ever Sounds From Africa official showcase (produced by Rickie Davies PR, Winnie K Mgmt, and Coyah Productions). In what turned out to be the closest thing to a hot and sweaty West African nightclub SXSW has ever felt, the party saw Sarkodie and Ice Prince, arguably the two hardest emcees in Austin that night, on stage together to perform their "Shots On Shots" collaboration live. Meanwhile, superstar Davido closed out the night with a slew of his hits, including a "Dami Duro" sing-along.

While we were in Austin, Okayafrica TV caught up with a few of the artists on the roof of the Convention Center (more on this to come soon...), where NY-based photographer/filmmaker Garth von Glehn snapped some behind-the-scenes portraits of Ice Prince, Sarkodie, R2bees, Emma Nyra and DJ Spinall. Browse through a gallery of von Glehn's pictures above.

Naija history at #sxsw--@davidoofficial to close out the #soundsfromafrica showcase. #davido #damiduro

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A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

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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