Video

Yasiin Bey LIVE FROM AFRICA: Streaming Exclusively On Okayafrica & Okayplayer

Yasiin Bey LIVE FROM AFRICA is streaming exclusively on Okayafrica/Okayplayer on Friday, January 17th, 5:30pm EST.


WATCH YASIIN BEY: LIVE FROM AFRICA

Earlier this week Yasiin Bey (f.k.a. Mos Def) unveiled he'll be releasing new material this Friday to celebrate the 72nd birthday of the champ Muhammad Ali. We don't know too much– but we do now have confirmation that Yasiin Bey: LIVE FROM AFRICA is streaming exclusively on Okayafrica and Okayplayer.  That's right, tomorrow, January 17th, the artist formerly known as Mos Def will be performing “3 New Yasiin Bey Exclusives” on the continent (the location of which will be disclosed at the end of the performance), and we’ll be hosting the stream here on Okayafrica as well as over on Okayplayer when it all goes down. Special special thanks to Shiba Melissa Mazaza and all her hard work putting this together! Catch the new trailer below and tune in to this post tomorrow at 5:30pm EST to watch the live stream of Yasiin Bey LIVE FROM AFRICA.

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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