Since the past year or two, Americans are beginning to pay more attention to music other than the traditional Hip-hop, Country or Rock music which are the default popular genres in the States. Music lovers are increasingly expanding their listening taste to include popular genres from other parts of the world. You can directly ascribe this to the positive effect of globalization or whatever boring thing you wanna call it but the interesting thing is that now than ever, there is more color in our music market making it the most beautiful and brightest we have ever had it.

We now have hit singles and albums from the UK Grimes scene (Skepta, Stormzy, Dave), reggae and dancehall from the Caribbeans (Koffee, Busy Signal, Chronixx) reggaeton from the Latin America (J Balvin, Rosalia, Nicky Jam) and Afrobeat from the continent of Africa (Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy) doing pretty well in our music market and the beauty that comes from this colorful infiltration is that the introduction of these sounds into our market is beginning to influence our local sounds in the most fascinating way as can be heard in Drake’s One Dance, Tory Lanez songs, Casanova, Juice WRLD’s Hear me Calling, Dip Lo, Cardi B, and so many other US top 40 songs right now. What a beautiful time to be alive right?

CONTROLLA – Stream/Download

I have been very intrigued by this movement and hence when I ran into Ajofe StreetMic who creates Afrobeat I knew it was time to get answers to some of my question, so we chopped it up a little.

How long have you been creating music for?

Mediocrely for about 9 years now haha. But professionally I would say this is my 2nd year. I didn’t really know what I was doing with my sound until 2017.

Oh interesting. So what type of music were you creating before then?

Mostly rap (bursts into a funny mild laughter that suggests a little bit of embarrassment)

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Photo by Chris Scott

Oh nice so you got bars then…haha. When did you decide to start making Afrobeat?

Ermm I would say 2017. That was when I decided to give up on my “rapper” dream and really focus on developing what I feel is my original voice. The rapping thing was cool but I did not really feel satisfied with my delivery. I always felt like something was missing. So when I recorded one of the songs on my XVI EP titled “Selecta” I felt it. It felt whole and complete and the creating process was super fun too so I decided to stick with that sound and it’s been amazing. Like I actually started feeling like a musician you know haha.

Do you always produce your songs?

Nooo. Not at all. It can be overwhelming sometimes you know haha. I always keep an open mind towards jumping on sounds created by other people. “Controlla” was even actually produced by one of my old producer friend. Jedi made the beat, I recorded and mixed it and it was mastered by Andy “Hippy” Baldwin at the Metropolis studio in London.

Oh wow. So this song was made in 3 different continent?

hahah yes actually. That’s funny but true.

What is it like to be an afrobeat artist in the US? Are you treated differently in the music community out here?

errrrm (looking into the ceiling like the answers are hanging up there) that’s a good question. Well, some people are pretty receptive of the sound actually. They find it hard to understand the lyrics though haha which I understand you know. But yeah, every single person I have played my songs for so far love the music but they always ask for the lyrics.

That makes sense. What other 5 Afrobeat artists would you recommend I have on my playlist?

Locally I would say listen to Ebi Chris of course haha. We are actually in the studio cooking some mad sounds for his next project. Then hmmm Wizkid for sure. Burna Boy is hella dope! I don’t really listen to Davido but he’s good. Kizz Daniel is dope. NSG from the UK…mad group. They are fire! is it 5 yet?

Nope 1 more…

ermmm, there’s like over a thousand of them man haha. Just go to Apple Music, select genre, then African Music. A lot of them…but yeah for your 1 more, listen to Afro B. He is lit. I actually just started listening to his shit recently.

Tell me about this song “Controlla.”

So Controlla is actually gonna be my first ever commercial single since I started doing Afrobeat. I was chatting with my friend Jedi and I told him I needed something a little commercial and boom the next morning he sent this hella dope beat…I jumped on that shit right away haha. It was good to let sleep. Literally everybody that has listened to it loved it lol..People were like put it out and I was like well, it’s a really good song so I don’t want to hurriedly put it out you know.

Oh yeah? So it’s been a while you recorded it then?

Hell yeah haha. Recorded it hmmm like June last year

Wow..So you sat on it for almost a year?

Yes Sir haha. I initially wanted to shop around with it for a single deal but ermm, I feel like I can handle it alone haha. I decided to shoot the video back in Nigeria so I talked to a video guy back there in February. He loved the idea I pitched, he developed the idea more and we started shooting.

Oh wow. Why did you decide to shoot the video in Nigeria?

Well, I wanted the video to have that original African feel you know. I want to introduce people to the lifestyle and what the community there looks like through the video.

Gotcha! Well, I must tell you that you achieved it. The video is hella dope.

Thanks bro. I’m glad you like it.

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Photo by Chris Scott

Of course. Just keeping it 100 with you. What are we expecting from you this year?Any major collaborations in works? Projects?

Ermm collaboration wise, none with any major artists in work yet but I have been featured on a couple of dope songs by other upcoming artists. Songs like ……You should look them up. Per project, yes…LUCID II: JUNGLE is coming hahah. It is gonna be my best work yet.

Got a release date yet?

No specific date yet but sometime around June/July. But will definitely share more info about that on my instagram page (@ajofestreetmic) as soon as I know for sure.

Okay bro. We will be on the look out.

Bet.

Thanks for stopping by today and chopping it up with us. I got some new music on my playlist now haha.

hahah It’s always a pleasure bro. Let me know whenever you want me back here. haha

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Photo by Chris Scott

Sure bro! One love.

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