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Yasiin Bey & Kenyan Style Duo 2manysiblings In Nairobi

Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) links with brother-and-sister Kenyan style duo 2manysiblings in Nairobi.

All photos by Sarah Waiswa


Last month Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) was in Nairobi for what was being publicized as his first “first trip to East Africa.” While in town Bey linked with Kenyan brother-sister style and art enthusiast duo 2manysiblings. The meeting was a follow-up to siblings Velma Rossa and Papa Petit's interview feature on the rapper's website, A Country Called Earth, which he and Chicago-based journalist Ferrari Shepard conceived during a trip to Morocco last year.

According to Velma Rossa, "He [Yasiin] came down to Kenya for a music performance and our good friend Buddha Blaze, one of the organisers of Yasiin's trip down here, hooked us up." Papa Petit added, "we were afforded the opportunity to simply hang out and be part of his travel experiences. We attended the artist's panel talk at Pawa254 where he shared his insights on being a creative, hopes of easing creative-based movements across borders... inspirations."

On what they wanted to show Bey in their hometown, Papa Petit tells us "we took him to a couple of spots we like. Kuona Trust art centre where he met artist Cyrus Kabiru and purchased some funky eyewear. Had some good food at Juniper's Kitchen, the nightlife at THE BUS and did an impromptu photo shoot (his brilliant idea) with photographer Sarah Waiswa which we are very excited about." Velma added, "basically he got to experience our nighlife, art, creative and food cultures... I think the crazy / chaotic traffic on our roads is also some sort of culture experienced?"

See more from 2manysiblings impromptu shoot with Yasiin Bey, shot by Ugandan-born, Kenyan-based photographer Sarah Waiswa, via A Country Called Earth. Stay tuned for news on Papa Petit and Velma Rossa's thrift socials, an initiative they say blends creative cultures (musicians, photographers, and  thrift vendors) to give back to their community in Nairobi.

Follow 2manysiblings on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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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