Lagos to the DMV - This is My Song

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with and interviewing rapper and AMN collective co-founder Ill Stafa Humphreys and Nigerian-American rapper Ike Obioha, more widely known as Ikey.

The young African import has been releasing a slew of tracks over the past few months on the AMN group's SoundCloud page with the first track being released just about two years ago.

Recently, his work has been gaining traction on major music journalism outlets such as Pigeons & Planes with the video for his dark afrobeat-esque track "When We Were Kings" premiering on their site. The level of sophistication makes the video feel like more of a short film reminiscent of a combination of some arcane tribal practice and modern visions of revolution.

Obioha, AKA King Jaffe Jo, released his first official project just under a week ago via Complex Magazine. The 9-track Green Card EP features focused, pensive lyrics delivered by a distinct rapped-sung style as he forms sonic connections between his experiences around the American landscape (having lived in Harlem, Maryland and most recently DC) and his past experiences in Lagos. The afrocentrism that his style is deeply rooted in is largely apparent throughout the tape as he draws from various influences around The Dark Continent, the most notable of which is Afrobeat legend and fellow Nigeria native Fela Kuti. But his influences are located within a wide spectrum between Biggie and the downtempo electronica vibes of Portishead all the way to (Sir) Elton John. As someone who goes about constantly observing the day-to-day trials and tribulations of everyone around him only to later relay that through song, Ikey's largest influence is simply life itself.

I grew up in Nigeria where I used to have family members who grew up in the village and they would come to the city to spend the night and wake up at like 5 in the morning to go to the embassy because they wanted to get a Green Card or a Visa. I would see them go through all that, that antsiness that desperation. Everyone in the world is searching for that Green Card; it might not be a physical Green Card but everyone’s looking for that ticket to live the American dream.


 

The way he masterfully combines his observations and his roots with the sounds and feels of where he's at now, physically and mentally, creates a unique and brilliant first effort that will soon definitely make him one of the hottest in the DMV, and in the greater scheme of hip-hop. 

Cop the tape here

Make we hear how people different,
For this our Lagos town