Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief
Podcast artwork

Bobi Wine & Bas Send Off 'The Messenger' In Tell-All Finale

As the inaugural season of the podcast comes to an end, the two break down what happened during Uganda's most recent presidential election.

After an undeniably successful first run, Sudanese-American rapper (turned podcaster) Bas has ended off his inaugural season of The Messenger speaking with the man himself: Bobi Wine.

The Ugandan musician-turned-politician has had a tumultuous few months; from being added to the presidential ballot and then subsequently arrested, to Wine and his wife being held under house arrest, there has been a lot to keep track of. The Messenger podcast certainly acted as an anchor point for fans or supporters to digest Wine's latest updates in relatively real time.

Eight episodes later, the finale gives Wine the opportunity to rely the events leading up to and following Uganda's 2021 presidential election and the abuse he and his team faced at the hands of Uganda's ruling party and president.

The episode, entitled Smoke From Fire, sees the two artists discuss the complications behind juggling roles as personalities known for their celebrity or art, versus someone who uses their platform for their people. Special mention is made to MTV Base's recent decision to postpone this years MTV Music Awards, which was to be hosted in Uganda's capital Kampala, as it would be crazy to think that Wine and the events occurring around him didn't influence the music giant's decision. The two sat in conversation to discuss where and how the country needs to move forward and onward.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

Bobi Wine's Release Detailed in Latest Episode of 'The Messenger'

Trauma is the topic on the podcast's latest episode: "The Ballot or The Bullet."

Listen to a Podcast Detailing the Life & Times of Iconic Ugandan Activist Bobi Wine

Launched by Sudanese-American artist Bas, the project called The Messenger goes on to discuss the political turmoil most of Africa faces and channels it through music.

Watch Bas' New Video For 'Amnesia' Featuring Ari Lennox & Kiddominant

A blend of Afro-house, soca, afrobeats, and sounds from Bahia, Brazil produced by DJ Moma.

Watch the Music Video for Bas' Single 'Jollof Rice,' Featuring EarthGang

The infectious track gets an equally vibrant music video.

popular.

Bas Announces New Album, Talks African Influences In His Music & More on Beats 1 Radio

In an interview on Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio, the artist reveals a new project dropping in September and discusses what he learned on a recent trip to Lagos with J.Cole.