Africa In Your Earbuds

The Okayafrica Mixtape Series: AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #1

When we re-launched Okayafrica this March (or launched for reals, really), we asked some of our favorite peeps if they would curate a playlist or mixtape of their favorite African or African-inspired music to share with the rest of the music-loving world.


To christen the series - Africa In Your Earbuds – world traveling DJ, producer, writer, and Dutty Artz crew member Chief Boima (who is currently somewhere in Liberia wrapping his head around urbanism, globalization and, as some in our office would hope, daggering in Freetown not far from ancestral hometown) sent us this 40+ minutes of excellent African sounds. We've been bumping it non-stop.

It also is stands as the first installment of the new Ghetto Palms Redux column over at our good friends The Fader, written by Okayplayer’s own Eddie Stats. Here’s what Eddie has to say about Boima’s choices - and we’re not saying it ourselves, cuz it couldn’t be said better:

What I really love about this shit is the range; it gives you the breadth of an actual Chief Boima club set from afropop to soca to reggaeton/kuduro and house. My favorite moments, though, are double-time and digital; the points where Ghana or Angola synchs up with a flash of “Black & Yellow” or “Look At Me Now” -- probably because of all the conversations with Boima, where he’s talked about that being his zone, his micro-climate: the African in African-American.

For Boima that connection is obviously up close & personal but it’s also one that I think really resonates with now. I get the sense that Cubans and Brazilians—even the ones of European descent—are conscious of how much of their unique national identity is African. But despite all the post-blackness talk, and the narrowing of the ‘empathy gap’ that is embodied by a president who is not just black but 2nd-generation Kenyan, Americans seem to have a mental block about it. There are notable exceptions (for instance Midwest Electric - Wills Glasspiegel’s Afropop Worldwide piece on Juke and Detroit Techno) but even recognizing Africa in black American culture is usually cloaked in uncomfortable “Coming to America” jokes. Now try telling the white kid in the next row that his whole American belief system (Not just Hemingway’s ideal of “grace under pressure” for instance, but the whole concept of “cool”) is just a set of classical African concepts transplanted into North American soil.

 

DOWNLOAD AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #1

[audio:http://www.okayafrica.com/wp-content/uploads/OkayAfricaChiefBoima.mp3|titles=Chief Boima Mix]

For more on Boima, check here. Tracklisting after the jump.

AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #1 TRACKLIST:

Lulu, “Alhamdulillah”

I-10, “100 Percent vs. Look at Me Now”

Sarkodie, “Lay Away” f. Sway & JaySo

Dagrin, “Thank God” f. Omawunmi

Iba One, “No Limit vs. Poirier Black and Yellow Soca Remix”

Surpluz Rage, “What About”

M.I., “Blaze” (f. Jesse Jags, Ice Prince & Blaise)

Vybz Kartel, “Love Dem”

Morachi, “Marry Me”

Volcano, “Live Zouglou”

Awilo Longomba, “Manon”

DJ Magistral, “Instrumental”

Agev Munsen, “Gotta Get With You” f. Cassio Ware

Professor, “Baby”

Old Money, “Mamaseh” (Instrumental)

Supersonic Crew [Devin; Melo], “Untitled”

Mito, “Sele Mama Sele” ft Rei Anaconda

Lucenzo, “Danza Kuduro” (Original) f. Don Omar

Cabo Snoop, “Foi de Brincadeira” f. Mwana Po & Maskarado

Zito Silva, “Vamos Brincar”

Sports
Photo by Ned Dishman, courtesy of Pops Bonsu.

In Conversation: Meet Pops Mensah-Bonsu—the Ghanaian Former Pro Player Trailblazing the Front Desk of the NBA

We speak to the general manager of the Capital City Go-Go about his journey to professional basketball stardom, his hopes for the Basketball Africa League and more.

Nana Pops Mensah-Bonsu didn't take basketball seriously at first. For the now General Manager of the Capital City Go-Go and a former player in the NBA and European leagues, the game wasn't as exciting as other sports. "For me, I was impressionable," he says, "I was young; all my friends played soccer and ran track. That's what I really wanted to do."

Born and raised in London, England, the former pro with Ghanaian roots (whose name stems from his middle name, Papa—the equivalent to 'junior') grew up playing soccer and running track. His older brother started playing basketball, a relatively invisible sport compared to soccer, when he was about 16 in the early 90s and eventually moved to the U.S. on a scholarship. Mensah-Bonsu says that when parents witnessed his brother's experience, they took it as an opportunity for the rest of their children to do the same—allowing them to have a better opportunity to succeed.

Mensah-Bonsu's dad introduced him to basketball and took him to the other side of London where he started developing his skills. After juggling the three sports with basketball on the back burner, Mensah-Bonsu eventually realized his potential once he made the move stateside himself as a teen. Making a name for himself as a student-athlete at George Washington University, his work ethic led him to a professional career in both the NBA, playing for the likes of the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors as well as internationally—playing for clubs in Spain, France, Turkey, Russia and Italy, to name a few.

Retiring in his early 30s, Mensah-Bonsu is still a part of the game—but on the decision-making side. Currently serving as the Capital City Go-Go's general manager of the G League (the official minor league of the NBA) in Washington, D.C., he's trying to blaze a trail for more diversity and inclusion in the NBA front office. "I really want to do my best and succeed at this next level because I know how profound and impactful it can be if it's done well," he says. "I put pressure on myself to work extra hard to make sure I can get to this position where I can have that impact on these guys and show them a mirror image of themselves and show them how possible it is."

We caught up with Pops Mensah-Bonsu to learn more about his journey navigating basketball stardom to calling the shots behind the scenes, his hopes for the newly established Basketball Africa League and more in the interview below.

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Music
25K. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

How a 3-Year-Old Song Earned SA Artist 25K a Deal with Universal & a Co-Sign From AKA

We interview 25K, the South African rapper poised to be the country's next star.

AKA was so moved by up-and-coming Pretoria rapper and producer 25K's single "Culture Vulture," he gave him a slot on his monumental Orchestra on the Square concert in March.

"The whole process when Kiernan (AKA's real name) reached out," recalls 25K, who will later admit AKA is one of his favorite artists, "that was like a dream come true for me. We were doing a gig, when I got home, I got a text, and it said, 'Yo, this is Kiernan, hit me back.' So, I saved the number, I was like, 'Yo,' then he FaceTimed me. He was like, '25K, I just had to reach you, dawg. Your song is great,' So, I was out of words. Just listening to him talk to me. He was like, 'Bro, we need to cook up something.' But eventually, time will tell. So the people will get to hear."

Thabiso Khathi, the respected hip-hop head & record label executive popularly known as Hip-Hop Scholar, as well as the newly appointed Head of Urban at Universal Music Group South Africa, lets the cat out of the bag. "I don't know if the world knows that AKA officially jumped on the remix for 'Culture Vulture,' which we will be bringing out in the next few weeks," says Scholar. Today, him and the label have gathered journalists at the Universal Music Group headquarters in Rosebank to witness the young artist's signing.

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Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Nigerian-British Actor Susan Wokoma's First Rom-Com Feature Film Is In the Works

She's set to write and star in BBC Films-backed 'Three Weeks'—a rom-com drama about abortion.

Just two months ago, we got wind of Susan Wokoma landing a series regular role in CBS' new comedy pilot, Super Simple Love Story.

The Nigerian-British actor and 2017 BAFTA Breakthrough Brit honoree continues to make power moves in entertainment, as it was recently announced that she's in the process of writing her feature debut, Three Weeks, Variety reports.

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