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Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)" music video.

Is Zanku Set to Be the New Dance Craze of 2019?

Breaking down what could become the year's new dance craze.

With last week's release of the video for "Zanku (Leg Work)," Zlatan Ibile has consecrated himself as the originator of the newest dance craze in afropop.

The specific origin of the name 'zanku' is uncertain but the dance itself, says Ibile in this interview from December, is one he noticed from his visits to The Shrine in Lagos and refashioned into a trend.

The best zanku, so far, works best in beats combining repeated foot tapping or pounding, with hands held aloft, and finished with a flourish—a stylised thrusting of one foot as if to knock down a door. Variations include a faster footwork, mimicry of slicing and screwing hand motions and the brandshing of a white kerchief, all of which is done with vigour and attitude.


ZLATAN - ZANKU (LEG WORK) OFFICIAL VIDEO www.youtube.com

Zanku is not new.

It was in Zlatan's video for "Jogor," which was released in back in August of 2018. That music video featured Lil Kesh—who started the shoki dance craze—and Naira Marley whose song "Issa Goal" was a big street and football anthem during the World Cup. But, with a World Cup afoot and the shaku dance at its most popular, the zanku had a slower intake into Nigerian pop consciousness.

The Zanku dance found ample berth in Chinko Ekun's "Able God," released in October of 2018, which features Zlatan and Lil Kesh as well. The video for "Able God" sees all three artists giving individual variations of the dance which, combined with the song's triumphalist theme of "no more insufficient funds," made it an endearing smash hit.

CHINKO EKUN - ABLE GOD ft LIL KESH X ZLATAN IBILE [OFFICIAL VIDEO] www.youtube.com

Zlatan has sensibly capitalised on his invention by making his new single explicitly about the zanku dance and titled after it, in a way that will crystallize the wave as his. That zanku wave is likely to dominate many dance floors, memes and Instagram posts of 2019.

That is not to say that shaku is dead. The footwork and hand gestures of shaku fit snugly with that of zanku. Even with the excitement of a new fun trend and cheap internet access, it could take weeks and probably months for zanku to fully dominate and finally eclipse shaku, as has happened to shakiti bobo and shoki before it.

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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