I had watched Tobe’s Instagram posts and admired his art since I discovered him a few months ago, but I hadn’t properly reflected on how much his art speaks to our reality as Black people. This past year has been a long one; fighting for ourselves and our freedom as Black People against police brutality and impunity across the world, and with the emotional and mental wounds from the aftermath of the EndSARS protests in October still fresh in my head, I immediately decided to write a piece about the Houston-based rapper when he posted the video for WILDINGSfeaturing Olu of Earthgang + Duckwrth on Instagram. Little did I know that he had an impressive album lined up for roll-out. He got lyrical heavyweights like K.R.I.T, D Smoke, Royce Da 5’9, Trae the Truth and others to work with him on the album which is saturated with witty punchlines, sick flows and unusual beats. He delivers smoothly his bars which express the experiences and pain of Black people and our painful history and reality. It’s about to be a long one! But I really have to pick every song apart, because it is a thoroughly enjoyable album and I want a first listener to totally understand and reflect on each song that they find most relatable.
Burgeoning Nigerian, Canadian-based artist; TOBi released Elements Vol. 1, a solid mixtape series last month following the warm reception his debut album STILL has received from listeners. He explores and experiments effortlessly, bending genres like jazz, grime, afro-pop, hip-hop and R&B to produce an unapologetically soulful project. The project explores themes like Black Joy as an act of resistance in a fundamentally lop-sided society. He says ELEMENTS is not just ‘the album’, he sees it as his own Dedication (Lil Wayne’s) series as he plans to keep ELEMENTS alive for years to come. TOBi creates his own sound by blending everything he listens to, and drawing inspiration from reading dub poetry to create soulful sounds.
Few weeks to the most lively and busy month of the year, you would think that all the ‘songs of the year’ should have dropped months ago and we would just be waiting to turn up to them. Buuuuuut!!! Nigerian artistes have chosen not to let our ears rest. It’s been raining good music even up until November with so many amazing projects being released that if music was alcohol, we would all be drunk to stupor. Our favorites at Apex Village have also joined the long list of super talented artistes that have contributed to the heavy showers of good music on the Nigerian music scene. Newly signed act, Azanti—who is a singer, songwriter and producer—has teamed up with Psycho YP to release what I find to be an amazing Joint EP titled YP & Azanti Vol. 1. Judging by the title, I’ll say we would be getting more projects like this going forward.
2018! 2018! 2018! if you were a Nigerian child, at this point I would be asking you how many times I called your name. It took you long enough to come to an end, and even though you still linger for a few days more, I think I can safely say thank you for the music but now it’s time to go.
This year brought in so much music; the ones we expected, the ones we begged for and the ones we didn’t see coming a mile away. While this is not a chart-like-piece or in-depth reviews of the projects, I think it’s a good place to start taking stock of what musical gifts 2018 dragged in.
Let me start in the corniest way possible; it was Thursday the 15th of November just after 5pm CAT, she walked through the doors at Trans Africa Radio where I work as a Radio Host & all round superman. I had finally reached the end of the road, it had been months of sliding into her DMs trying to arrange an interview and here she was in the flesh. I was ecstatic!
Did you know, if you collect your thoughts and emotions and make a collage out of it, the soundtrack would be Mich Straaw‘s debut EP, ‘Collage Collection‘?
7 pieces make up this collection of love in all its many forms. With a production so laid back but still groovy; it perfectly represents the daydreaming, loneliness, neo craziness, patience, persistence, frustration, joy and sincerity it takes to bare ones being to another in the name of love.
Mich Straaw’s use of pidgin English is something that might miss you all too easily – in the roughly 30 mins it will take you to bask in this project. Mostly because he’s very subtle about it and almost cunningly blends it with common English and as such it doesn’t stand out for the untrained ear.
The reoccurring sexiness in Come Again is a Long Way from being enough to show you just how much romance novels Mich must have read growing up. He follows this with Ctrl which speaks to how powerless we can all get when the right person pushes all the right buttons. and while the goal is typically to rise after you fall, I know a few too many people who would be keen on staying Fallen if surrounded by such sweet talking. The sincerity in this project is yours to discover in all its Fine lines, so find your favourite streaming platform and dive into your feelings.
Pray for blessings, talk a little sexy, celebrate life, love, lament the painful experiences, blow the cash out the water when you get a chance and then ask your maker for some more to be planted right in your backyard, talk real life issues and hope someone remembers, reflect on the quite familiar and all too often depressing feeling of being alone in a crowded place, celebrate your Queen Mother; because every day is mothers day. Then celebrate your spirituality through the wonders of creation giving life to an undeniable proof that God exists, reminisce about the good old days when life was simpler, then go right back to the blessings that overflow in your life but you’ve all the while not seen it because you spend oh too many nights thinking of the neighbours green lawn. And finally? profess your love that will always stay loyal and on call.
Think of a bridge between the nostalgic sounds and stories some of us grew up with and the new wavelength on which most of Africa’s sleekest talents are threading…yep that unexpected sound of joy is what our ‘Afro Vision‘ sounds like.
In truth, that’s what Muzi’s Afro Vision sounds like but we can safely say we share that vision with him.