Detailing the elements of Skepta x Havana Club’s second edition

Graphically inspiring and aesthetically pleasing

In partnership with Havana Club*

British-Nigerian rap icon, brand influencer and businessman, Joseph Adenuga Junior, better known as Skepta, has, for a while now, made it a major priority of his to imbibe his Nigerian culture into his music and his everyday life. A year ago, Skepta teamed up with Cuba’s finest rum production company, Havana Club to debut the first Skepta x Havana Club bottle which was launched on the 15th July, 2020.

This year, the Amuludun of Odo Aje, Ogun State is back with a Second Edition Skepta x Havana Club 7 bottle. Similar to the first edition bottle, the label on the Skepta x Havana Club 2.0 depicts noteworthy imagery that divulge the significance of both Cuban and Nigerian cultures to this collaboration. Every detail is an emblematic representation of Yoruba and Santeria – an African diaspora that developed in Cuba during the late 19th century. Santeria, which translates to “worship of the saints,” arose through a process of syncretism between the traditional Yorubas and the Roman Catholic form of Christianity also present in Cuba in the late 19th century. 

With Yoruba and Santeria having similarities in cultures, this second edition bottle honours the migration of our ancestors. As projected in the minute-long promotional video, this bottle is dedicated to “the journeys that we continue to take, the journeys that make us great.” As such, the exclusive label has been designed to mirror the scenery and landscapes of the two countries, bringing them together through Skepta’s eyes. Not quite identical to the first bottle, the elements on this bottle have been carefully selected in a way that is graphically inspiring and aesthetically pleasing. 

Here, we delve into the elements that make up the label of the bottle and how these elements have taken form and shaped this collaboration.

Red and Black Themed Background

The Elegua, a Yoruba deity who is still very much respected in Cuba, mostly appears in red and black, which is the colour theme of this bottle. Paying tribute to the Elegua the colour scheme emphasises the transnational associations between both Yoruba and Cuban cultures.

Cowrie Shells

As represented on the first edition bottle, Cowrie shells are found on the statues of Elegua, an Orisha – a deity of roads in the religions of Santería, Umbanda, Quimbanda and Candomblé. A link of cowrie shells around the perimeter of the label forms the exterior of the bottle which represents Elegua’s broad appearance.

Guiro Texture

The guiro texture in the background of the Skepta Head silhouette was inspired by the parallel notches on the guiro instrument. Guiro is a percussion musical instrument which is commonly used in Cuban, Puerto Rican and other forms of Latin American music. In Cuba, the guiro is used in the genre Danzón. 

Conga Drum

Similar to the first bottle, there’s a layered ring styled into the shape of the top of a conga drum. The conga drum is often referred to as tumbadora in Cuba and bembè in Yorubaland. The drum, in this instance, not only ties the two cultures together, but also represents Skepta’s strength as a rapper and a record producer. 

Igi Oye Adire

The adire patterned background on this bottle was inspired by the leaves of Igi Oye, a chieftaincy tree in Yorubaland. The pattern of the indigenous native attire, which originated in Abeokuta, Ogun State in the mid 1920’s, was produced for the first Chief Mrs, and is a symbol of supremacy and chieftaincy in Yorubaland. On this bottle’s label, the Igi Oye adire pattern is a representation of Skepta’s office and Chieftaincy title Amuludun of Odo-Aje, which was conferred to him in April, 2018.

Olumo Rock

The Olumo Rock mountain – which is located in the heart of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria – was used as a protection for Egba people during tribal warfare in the 19th century. The mountain which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Nigeria, on this bottle is a diagrammatic representation of Skepta’s roots and where he comes from.

Foiled Hawks

These native hawks which portray power and strength, are found circling above Olumo Rock. On the label, these hawks are depicted in foil, as a way to add texture to this vibrant and distinct bottle.  

Each element of the label on the bottle draws influence from either Skepta’s Yoruba roots or the Havana club’s commitment to its society and other neighbouring societies. A significant partnership in contemporary culture, this bottle encapsulates the strength in connectivity between the two cultures. 

Image Credits: Ibrahim Adewole/Havana Club

Graphics Credits: Havana Club