Think Asa meets Bez meets Stevie Wonder
Paper Anthems are a huge part of the pop music canon, especially in Nigeria where the need to ‘blow’
seems to supersede all other preoccupations. Our popstars fantasize about it, and almost every popular artist who makes it to the mainstream seems to release an ode of some kind to their struggle and the triumph of finally getting their paper. While it has predominantly been a genre trope that only male artists really get to indulge, the tide might be finally changing. Especially now that alt-soul singer Maka is taking it out for a spin on her new single “I Just Got A Cheque”.
2017 was an important year for Maka, especially for her profile as a performing artist. She stepped out of the booth and onto the stage, sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in the alternative music scene (she was one the headlining acts at Bez’s end of year concert) while asserting herself as more than just a niche artist. She even caught our attention with her Christmas ditty “Before Christmas”, that subverted the tropes of the classic christmas song. Her new single “I Just Got A Cheque” sees Maka truly test the boundaries of her sound, incorporating a more contemporary electronic sound. While the song’s composition plays to Maka’s vocal strengths and her preference for unconventional song structure, the lyrics are more aspirational. She sings about the artist’s struggle and the validation that comes from hard earned success, without any of the aggressive braggacadio that seems to follow the trope.
It also helps that she manages to drag reclusive rapper, Munachi Abii out of her self imposed hiatus to her first feature of 2018. Muna evokes the slacker rap sound of Naija’s mid 2000’s rap scene and that little vocal skit at the end of the song is everything. “I Just Got A Cheque” is guaranteed to get a bump into chillwave playlists everywhere. Don’t sleep on it.
Watch the new video for “I Just Got A Cheque” here.
We sat down with Natalie Adeola Akingbaje and dished on New Haervest.
With all the pon-pon music out there and the banku inspired drowsy beats that seem to have overwhelmed the airways, it’s easy to forget that there used to be a time when all we cared for as Nigerians was a heavy thumping bass and rapid fire dancefloor ready lyrics. This was the era that artists like Terry G and Stereoman Ekwe tapped into, a sort of primal tribal influence that got us on our feet and dancing before we could even parse what was being said. That kind of urgency in music has been in scarce supply and it is somewhat nostalgic to see a contemporary artist like Justin Konk dig in those wells for inspiration.
The afropop singer’s new single “Go Down” has its entire soul tied to a eclectic tribal drum loop that mimics traditional oghene music. The staccato beat is so classic Terry G that it doesn’t register that you’re listening to a throwback until the more contemporary synth melodies interspersed with athletic electric guitar riff is layered onto the percussions, driven by Konk’s urgent voice. A pure dance rave, through and through, Konk weaves a fascinating mix of sung-rap lyrics, switching between pidgin and yoruba, his delivery made even more distinctive by what you realise at the end of the song is a distinctive lisp.
“Go Down” might not get the rabid conversations that follow alternative underground music makers but Justin Konk’s gamble looks like it may pay off. The song will definitely resonate on a subconscious level with former fans of a more urgent, more Nigerian afro-pop sound.
Stream “Go Down” below
Edwin eats his rice and cabbages. Tweet at him@edgothboy
Maka just made a classic, can you tell?
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