By Henry Akubuiro
The burgeoning African music scene is welcoming a co-traveller to its fold, one remaining steadfast to Afrobeats’ ideation yet seeking relevance in new global frontiers.
Worldwide, Afrobeats is having a ball with giants like Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido driving the fuzz. But DJ Balor’s two new singles, Sere and Amapiano Riddim, draw attention as a compelling talent bringing a unique sugarcoating to the tangerine.
Akinboboye Victor, an indigene of Okitipupa in Ondo State of Nigeria, holds a BTech in Agric from Federal University of Technology, Akure, but music found him on the four walls of the university, and he has been pushing his disk jockey career ever since his national youth service.
Like some popular Nigerian DJs have been doing in recent years, including DJ Xclusive, DJ Cuppy, DJ Spinall, DJ Tunes, DJ Jimmy Jatt, among others, mixing disc jockeying and producing singles, EPs and music albums, the talented DJ Balor, who has performed internationally, including in Turkey, has joined the fray.
For DJ Balor, it’s therapeutic to combine both, for he gets to hear what others don’t hear. This also comes with an eclectic music taste for the artiste, who recently won the popular Jimmy Jump competition judged by veteran DJ Jimmy Jatt, among others.
Two new singles of the fast rising artiste – Sere featuring Pasha and Amapiano Riddim – are tunes bridging colonial ruptures and propagating diasporic vibes by leaning on Afrobeats, Caribbean, Amapiano, Jazzy and R&B influences without sounding implosive. The blend creates a crossover effect meant to compete across cultures.
Sere is a sonic, party banger that instantly gets you jiving, whether you are in California, London, Kingston, Lagos, Nairobi or Jo’burg. It is an intersection of feel-good Afrobeats vibes with dancehall reggae, rendered in a husky, patios-laden voice. At once, it is a deep mesh of ornate local Nigerian flavour with gaily-toned bars and racy melodies.
The word “sere” denotes “play” in Yoruba, and the lyrics of this collabo are a serenade reverencing a female lover. It blends four languages – English, pidgin English, Jamaican patois and Yoruba – amid a singalong chorus: You causing the Gobe… Eya hee/There is something on your waist…. Eya hee. The transitions of this song project a sonic brilliance, and the minimal instrumentations of R&B at different breaks heighten the sound bites to levitate seamlessly to breathing verses.