Featured

Video: Viral “Makmende” Signals Shift in African Music as Twitter Generation Takes Lead


Since 2004, we at Modiba Productions have aimed to be Purveyors of Cultural Dopeness. We're the crew who brought you "ASAP: The Afrobeat Sudan Aid Project," introduced you to the son-of-a-legend, Vieux Farka Toure (who you most recently saw at the World Cup's Opening Ceremony Celebration), and are bringing it up to the present with Sierra Leone's finest, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew. Running an international record label, publishing and management company, we have the privilege of working with some amazing musicians, artists and organizations from around the globe, and have accordingly had the opportunity to share some of our stories via a column in The Huffington Post. The Modiba Column is HuffPost World's regular feature that highlights interesting musicians and musical trends around the world. So when our friends at Penya Records in Kenya saw the video for Just A Band's "Ha-He" turn into Africa's first "viral success," Modiba team writer Lars Russell dug a little deeper. To those who have heard at least one Chuck Norris joke (ie. Chuck Norris can win a game of Connect Four in three moves), the premise of the video is a familiar one: Makmende Amerudi is the infallible gangster that guys what to be and girls want to be with. Check out the full video, and then continue reading Lars Russell's take on the video and band that came to be known as Africa's first viral hit.

Continue reading at The Huffington Post's Modiba Column.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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