News

Sorry Guys, Wizkid Is Not the First African Artist to Sell Out London's Royal Albert Hall After All

News spread over the weekend, that Wizkid was the first African solo act to sell out London's Royal Albert Hall, but it appears that may not be the case.

Last Friday, Wizkid, performed a sold-out show at London's iconic Royal Albert Hall. The afrobeat heavyweight headlined an electrifying night with thousands of fans and fellow Nigerian artists Skepta and Tinie Tempah in attendance.


Following his buzzed about performance, news broke that the 27-year-old singer had become the first African artist to sell out the famed hall—his tickets sold out two days before the show—and congratulations were in order for Wiz. Fans and celebrities alike took to social media to congratulate the young star. Even the Royal Albert Hall sent out a tweet, sharing the historic news. Folks even began drawing comparisons between Wizkid and the late Fela Kuti.

It appears, however, that this information, may not have been completely true. On Sunday, one knowledgable Twitter user, Mr. Aye Dee, pointed out that Wizkid is not actually the first African, or Nigerian artist for that matter, to sell out the famous hall—perhaps just the first since many of his younger fans can remember. According to Dee, Sade sold-out the auditorium back in 1993.

For some reason, for some of Wizkid's admirers, this realization was not sufficient enough to take the title away from him. Some on Twitter argued that Sade is considered a band, therefore, Wizkid still remained the first solo act to accomplish the feat. Others questioned whether Sade identified as a Nigerian, to which he set the record straight by pointing out that she, in fact, does and listed several other African headliners who've sold out the hall as well.

This afternoon,The Royal Albert Hall, sent out a tweet, stating that they "may have got that wrong," and named Miriam Makeba as another sold-out solo African headliner.

Of course, it's not as if this news takes anything away from Wizkid's success. Sure, he's not Fela Kuti—let's collectively chill with the comparisons—but his accomplishment remains rare and impressive, and only helps solidify Starboy's status as a global ambassador for afrobeats and the contemporary African music scene as a whole. We're congratulating him nonetheless.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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