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From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

Tinie Tempah's New Capsule Collection Is Inspired by Dynamic, Fast-Moving Lagos

The Nigerian-British musician's menswear label 'What We Wear' presented a new collection in Nigeria for the first time. It was produced in a week.

Young Nigerians all over the world are breaking barriers in industries from music to fashion, but not many have successfully embedded themselves in both industries the way Nigerian-British artist Tinie Tempah has.

From collaborating on records with Wizkid to having his line, What We Wear, on the runway of London Fashion Week, Tinie's vision is influencing creative spaces all over the world. While his mind is on world domination, he also recognizes the importance of shaping and adding value to his Nigerian roots and presented his 7 Days Till Lagos collection in collaboration with Nigerian streetwear label, Vivendii, at Arise Fashion Week in Lagos.


Tinie Tempah at Arise Fashion Week in Lagos. Photo by Amarachi Nwosu.

He was inspired to name his collection 7 Days Till Lagos after deciding to produce and execute a whole new collection seven days before the show. The collection was the perfect introduction to Nigeria featuring supermodels Imaan Hammam and Adonis Bosso on the runway donning vibrant colors and prints. Tinie also collaborated with Nigerian-American celebrity stylist Ugo Mozie and brought out artists like Not3s and Dice Allies to perform during the runway show.

I go to get a look behind the scenes at the show and chat with Tinie briefly on what inspired the collection, as well as what his experience was like presenting What We Wear in Lagos for the first time. Read our conversation below.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Amarachi Nwosu for OkayAfrica: Were you inspired by Lagos when creating this collection? If so, how?

Tinie Tempah: I was definitely inspired by Lagos when creating the collection. Obviously I have Nigerian roots, so I am very familiar with Lagos as a city. It's one of the most energetic, vibrant and motivational cities in the world and a city that never sleeps. Our previous collection was about the real world, the modern working man and all the different capacities that they work in, so I feel like it all tied in perfectly with this collection. We were able to really bring it alive with the fabrics, textures and colors we used that have inspirations from Lagos as a whole.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

Why was it important to collaborate with young Nigerians for this editorial?

It was really important to collaborate with young Nigerians for this editorial because it was the look and feel we wanted to capture. There was a number of photographers we could have went with, but saw it as a priority to work with someone who understood the city properly and knew the cool spots that represent young people in the city. I didn't want to make the shoot look touristy—we wanted someone who would help us make everything authentic.

What was your experience working with Arise Fashion Week like? Do you plan to host more events and presentations in Nigeria?

I [always] wanted to do more presentations in Nigeria and it was amazing that Arise gave me the opportunity to showcase my work outside of music and gave me a unique platform to express myself and other artists.

What are your biggest aspirations for the What We Wear brand?

I want to get to a stage where every man to some capacity owns something from What We Wear—whether it's a pair of socks, a pair of boxer shorts, a cap, a full on tracksuit or a long luxurious winter coat. For me, that is my aim because I feel like it is an essential brand for men and it has so many pieces to offer and staple pieces as well. So if the brand can get to that stage, that would be a job well done.

Take a look at more behind-the-scenes photos from the runway show and looks from What We Wear's editorial below.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

Tinie Tempah and Mobolaji Dawodu at Arise Fashion Week in Lagos. Photo by Amarachi Nwosu.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

Imaan Hammam in What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' runway show at Arise Fashion Week. Photo by Amarachi Nwosu.

What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' runway show at Arise Fashion Week. Photo by Amarachi Nwosu.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

Stylist Ugo Mozie and model at Arise Fashion Week in Lagos. Photo by Amarachi Nwosu.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

From What We Wear's '7 Days Till Lagos' editorial. Photo by Baingor Joiner.

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7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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