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PsychoYP. Image courtesy of the artist.

Interview: PsychoYP Wants to Lead the New Wave of Nigerian Hip-Hop

We speak to the fast-rising Abuja-based rapper about his new project YPSZN2 and his take on the future of Nigerian hip-hop.

PsychoYP is easily one of the brightest stars to watch in the Nigerian hip-hop scene right now.

At only 21-years-old, YP has already amassed a healthy catalogue of music including two solid mixtapes and several collaborations with various artists in and out of Nigeria. His rap-sung melodious trap style resonates incredibly well with the younger generation and sets him apart in a hardcore-rap leaning rap scene. His 2018 debut project, YPSZN, placed him as one of the most prominent voices in the new wave of African hip-hop. It also earned him nods of approval from his peers as well as the veterans who paved a way for him.

His recently-released sophomore project YPSZN2, displays the rapper's growth and versatility as a song maker. "City of Kings," an ode to his hometown of Abuja, kicks off the album in high gear. Wavy cuts like "Strip Club" and "No Chaser" are the kind to bump loudly in the car or club, while "Superpowers" and "i&u" take you deeper into the rapper's earnest thoughts and emotions. The songs on YPSZN2 flow effortlessly into each other, giving the listener an enthralling and diverse experience.

The 16-track mixtape includes features from stars like Terri, LADIPOE, Blaqbonez, Skales and BOJ. Along with his Abuja-based hip hop collective Apex Village (including Zilla Oaks, Marv OTM and AYÜÜ) , YP is one of the key figures pioneering trap culture in Nigeria and steadily pushing melodic and experimental trap sounds within the country and beyond.

We spoke to the fast-rising rapper about his new tape, inspirations and his take on the future of Nigerian hip-hop.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Harmonize, Diamond Platnumz, Burna Boy "Kainama" (Youtube)

The 20 Best East African Songs of 2019

Featuring tracks from Harmonize, Diamond Platnumz, Sauti Sol, Irene Ntale, Ethic, Vanessa Mdee and many more.

2019 was a year full of positive growth for East African music. It saw many artists from the region make the necessary strides to take East African music to the next level.

The launch of new independent imprints continued to develop a class of budding stars. Sauti Sol's new Sol Generation label, for example, boasts a stellar roster that includes artists like Bensoul and Nviiri the Storyteller, who have topped the charts this year. =Tanzanian bongo flava heavyweight Harmonize left Diamond Platnumz' WCB Wasafi records and set up his own independent imprint called Konde Gang Music Worldwide. This is a dramatic move from the bongo flava superstar but it's exciting to see what he and his new label will offer in the coming year.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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