Music

Meet 3 of the Producers Behind Afrobeats’ Latest Hits

We hear from Nigeria's P.Priime, Rexxie, and Tempoe, whose work has populated airwaves in Africa and beyond.

When an afrobeats song becomes a hit most of the praise is often attributed to the artist. The producer, who carefully crafts a song's underlying rhythm, tends to be an unsung hero. In afrobeats, a genre that relies heavily on rhythm and danceable instrumentals, music producers are equally responsible for its greatest hits.

It takes at least two skill sets to make an afrobeats song. Vocals melodies are to the underlying rhythm like Yin is to Yang, on their own they’re incomplete, but together they become a wholesome form. Song producers' contributions to the global rise of afrobeats are immeasurable.

We spoke to three Nigerian music producers with multiple hits in their catalogues; P.Priime, the 19-year-old entrusted with Wizkid’s “Anoti,” Olamide’s “Infinity” & “Loading,” and very recently Reekado Banks’ “Ozumba Mbadiwe.” Tempoe, who produced Ckay’s global phenomenon “Love Nwantiti,” Omah Lay’s smash hits “Godly” & “Understand” and Joeboy’s “Sip (Alcohol). And Rexxie, the Grammy-winning producer familiar from Naira Marley hits like “Coming,” “Soapy” and “Am I A Yahoo Boy,” and a viral hit of his own “KPK.”

The three told OkayAfrica about how some of their hit songs came to be, how producers can take more hold of credit for their work, and things that their contemporaries should always pay attention to.

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Interview

Lojay Is On the Rise

Earlier this year, the Nigerian artist released a stellar debut EP in collaboration with Sarz, which contains a sole feature from Wizkid.

"Tonongo," one of the stronger afrobeats singles of 2021, came out back in May courtesy of Lojay and producer Sarz. The subtly sultry song primed the singer's riveting debut EP, LV N ATTN.

As soon as word went around of a Wizkid feature on Lojay's project, listeners questioned how he managed to secure the elusive StarBoy verse. The answer was a Sarz co-sign and a lot of patience, which culminated in a wholesome surprise made viral by the internet.

"It was my genuine reaction to hearing someone I had grown up listening to and watching him do all these things with afrobeats, creating my desire through his actions, now be on a song with me — and it's on my first official tape — like what!? It was a very amazing feeling to say the least, and the video shows you the raw reaction to that."

The 5-song LV N ATTN EP presents a medley of R&B, electro, and amapiano sounds built on an afrobeats base, forming a cohesive body of work worth every replay. Listeners have fashioned terms such as "Afro-sexy" & "Afro-sensual" for the EP, but Lojay chooses to describe it differently, "The best way for me to explain it maybe is Afro-fusion, but then I feel like that's a cheat code, 'cause you can just put 'Afro' behind everything. So simply, I make Lojay music, that's every genre."

Below, we caught up with the rising singer to discuss working with Sarz and Wizkid, and dabbling in different genres while residing in a familiar space.

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