London’s Afrikan Boy – one of MIA’s earliest understudies and recent DJ Shadow collaborator – pushes a crunching, tribal-tinged R&B, and talked to Wonderland today ahead of the release of his latest single, “Kunte Kinte”. Stream an updated version of it for the very first time below as well as brand new track, a collaboration with Da Capo called “Criminal”.
Who is Afrikan Boy? Describe his sound in five words.
Afrikan Boy is a second generation Nigerian immigrant living in London. His sound is: LOUD, BOLD, CHALLENGING, GRIME, LONDON.
How did you get into music making? How did the MIA “Hussle” collaboration come about?
I got into music because everyone in my ends was doing music at the time. Everyone that was considered “cool” done music! The collaboration with me and MIA came about after I made my song “LIDL”, I received a MySpace message from her saying she wanted me on her album. I said “Yes” and the rest is history! You can definitely expect to hear crazy, unexpected and some expected collaborators on the album – producer wise and artist wise, but I’m not going to spill the beans just yet ;-).
Who were your early musical influences? Who are you loving now?
Early influences were artists such as Kano, Wiley, Dizzee on the London grime side, and from Africa it has to be Fela Kuti, Sir Shina Peters and King Sunny Ade.
Are you still studying psychology? If so, what interests you about the subject?
No, I have graduated now. I find the study of the human mind very interesting. I try to understand my own behavior in my everyday life and whilst making music. I use what I learned and placed it in my music indirectly so I get the crowd how I want ’em, LOL.
What can we expect from the debut album? Any collaborations?
You can expect to hear my soul and heart in this album. It will be a record that makes you move your feet whether you like it or not! It will have a strong story and message behind the whole record as well. Something I feel artists are failing to execute well these days.
Finally, if you could swap lives with anyone for the day, who would it be?
I’d swap lives with Tinie Tempah for the day because he’s where I wanna be right now in terms of my career. He’s a good friend of mine we started making music the same time.
Words: Jack Mills