NATIVE Premiere: Bella Shmurda’s Video For “New Born Fela” Pays Homage To The Afrobeat Pioneer

masterfully reminiscent of the Afrobeat pioneer

Bella Shmurda has one of the most unique voices in Afropop. Over the years, he’s wielded that piercing lilt in many forms, crooning suggestively about the good life or poignantly travelling the long miles of memory, reflecting his story through poetic snapshots spiced with street lingo.


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Throughout 2022, the Dangbana Republik frontman has been typically prolific, appearing on collaborations like the remix of King Perryy’s cult classic, the Drill banger Go German,” Cobhams Asuquo’ Jah Eli Jah and most recently, Krizbeatz’s Wild Party,” a colourful bop which also featured Tanzanian singer Rayvanny.

Every solo release from Bella has been considered a run-up to his highly anticipated debut album, tentatively titled ‘Hypertension’. Among those, the bold-faced Fvck Off made the most impression, pairing the explosive element of his lyricism with dance-ready melodies. With its production coming from Niphkeys and Larry Lanes, Bella again marked himself as an artist to watch out for throughout the year.

Now, with the release of “New Born Fela,” Bad Boy Bella is moving into his own. The in-your-face nature of the lyrics is quite adaptive of his highwire qualities, blending romantic zest with the revolutionary turn of the instantly memorable chorus where he sings, “I be the new born Fela/ Storyteller, battery charger/ Baby pana, for my matter, use kayamata/ I know the matter, the matter don’t matter.” 

Channeling the rich visual material familiar with Fela Kuti, the TG Omori-directed video is a masterpiece in its own right. It’s brief, as attuned to the song’s little over two minutes runtime, but the colorful representations and Afrobeat-inspired costumes work magically to bring the viewer into Bella’s world.

He already ranks among the most magnetic Afropop superstars, but this just amplifies the eccentric allure of Shmurda, constructing a riveting visual journey leading up to ‘Hypertension’. Following the video’s release, we spoke to Bella Shmurda about the inspiration behind the video and the prospects for his forthcoming debut album.

His answers, which follow below, have been lightly edited for clarity.

NATIVE: Why did you collaborate with this particular director on this video? 

Bella: With TG, everyone knows he’s the go to director for videos that are different. So I was sure that when I plan to drop my next single. He will definitely shoot it for me. No doubt for my mind he will deliver. Also the message of the song needed to be translated impeccably visually, we all know how he does this so well.

NATIVE: What was the most exciting thing about being on set when shooting the video? 

Bella: For me, when TG sent the mood board, I knew he got itthe costume pieces, the models, the clarity in the direction all gassed me up

NATIVE: How would you say the song is connected to the video? 

Bella: The expression , me, my many wives in the video, the make-up, the interpretation, you can definitely see the connection.

NATIVE: You’ve been gearing up to release an album. What should your listeners be expecting from that? 

Bella: A brand new expression of me, experiments and odd features that you wouldn’t expect, very natural too.

Get an exclusive first look at “New Born Fela” below