One MOBO for the whole of Africa



The African Diaspora is well represented in this year’s British MOBO awards which are being held tonight. Artists contending for the Best African Act award include British Nigerian producer/rapper J.J.C. and Canadian Somali rapper K’Naan. These two are facing renowned Ethiopian musician, Mulatu Astatke who is also known as the father of Ethio-Jazz, the dynamic duo of Nigeria, P-Square and Ghanaian star Tinny.

K’Naan became widely known after his catchy anthem ‘Wave Your Flag’ was chosen as Coca-Cola’s 2010 World Cup theme song. He has continued to ride the wave of success since then. Unlike many other artist, who when they reach certain heights in their careers, prefer to distance themselves from their roots, K’Naan has chosen to stick with his foundation. He is often heard on different songs rhyming in his native Somali language and telling the stories of his old home. One of his early videos was shot in of the poor ghettos of Somalia and he has featured at events and performed in Africa on several occasions.

The same can also be said about J.J.C. who also known as Skillz. He is a talented rapper and producer who moved to England from Nigeria at an early age. His hit song, ‘We Are Africans’ is backed with powerful bass and drums and other instruments which are a reminiscence of ancient Central and West African tribal anthems that can only leave the listener nodding his/her head in amusement, even without understanding a word that is being sung. The video of the song is equally compelling. Shot in different scenes with a military atmosphere, and a bunch of squadrons chanting the song’s catchphrase “awooooo!”. It is definitely a winner.

All the other contenders are from the mainland and are gifted in their own different ways. P-Square is certainly not a newcomer to the mainstream. The brothers have been a hit in their homeland for quite a number of years and their numerous hits are played in clubs all over the world. Tinny is Ghana’s favourite son who is also beginning to make inroads on the global scene. It is shame that for an event that is suppose to award the achievers in the music of black origin, there is only one category which features both traditional artists and young urban artists for the entire African continent. Maybe things will change in the future.

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