The power of Music & How it led me to Africa 🌎
Last July, I was in DTLA cleaning my apartment. On my TV was a playlist of Youtube boiler room sets on shuffle. This combined with using Shazam is a “musical practice” of mine, and is one of the ways that I discover new music. I remember hearing a song which at the time I didn’t know called “Dipatje Tse Felo” & looking up to see who the DJ was because the song was that good. This woman had an amazing ear for music and an undeniable stage presence, which is rare for a DJ. This woman could dance her ass off, and she just had this swag to her that was so infectious. This woman was Uncle Waffles.
I was glued to my screen for about 25 more minutes as I continued to watch & listen to the unique music she was playing but I now know as Amapiano. I used Shazam to find out the name of that song along with others that I really liked during her set. Her set was so good, that I kept going back to play it on my TV days after. After playing it non-stop for about a month, I sent it to a few of my friends like “yo you HAVE to listen to this” :
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The discovery of Amapiano re-sparked my love for Afrobeats and made me listen to music from the continent in a different way. I no longer cared about the fact that I couldn’t understand all of the lyrics…. It was more about how the songs made me feel.
“Scratching the Itch”
Naturally when I have an interest this specific in something, it’s like an itch. And the only way to scratch the itch is for me to indulge; so that’s exactly what I did. It got to a point where listening to the music wasn’t enough for me. I had to go all the way. I started reading more about west/south African cultures and the origins of the music. Next thing you know, I’m playing the music in my car, I’m getting dressed to it, sending the songs to my friends, I’m doing the dance moves, etc. I indulged soooo much that I decided that I want to find out where in Africa I was from.
Finding out where in Africa I was from gave me a new sense of pride, and it got to a point where all I could talk about was visiting Africa. Everybody around me KNEW that I wanted to go in December. I looked at #DettyDecember & Afrofuture as the perfect introduction and opportunity “get my feet wet” in order to experience a culture that was taken from me, but returned back to me through music. (I really want to talk about this a little deeper later. maybe ill do a vlog on it. idk) So boom few months pass by, and December is here, which is also my birthday month. I remember telling myself about 2 days before my party “Detty December is in a few weeks, n*ggas gotta fill out visas and stuff. I haven’t bought my flight. I’m not going” or so I thought.
Fast forward to my birthday part on December 8. I’m having a good ole time, I had just broken my “no sex, no liquor” fast, and my best friend Olamide gets on the mic and does this:
Right after the announcement, DJ Breemz played Organise by Asake which completely set the tone not only for the rest of my party, but for the rest of the year. I fell to my knees literally because wow, God really loves me. My friends really love me, LIKE? But most importantly, I was so eager to experience the culture that I’ve been so engulfed in for the last several months. I left for Accra on December 27, and I returned to LA on January 9. (I’m still recovering) The trip changed my life to say the least. But isn’t that what travel is supposed to do? Shift your perspective? Change how you view not only the world, but yourself? So many people have asked me how was Africa, and to describe it. The best way I could put it is like this : Everything that you think is serious, it’s not in Africa. Time, Problems, Negativity, Inconveniences. #ItsNotThatSerious.
About This Playlist
Honestly, I don’t even look at this playlist as a playlist. It’s more of a soundtrack to my trip. I curated the soundtrack to mimic my actual journey to Africa starting with my discovery of uncle waffles as a DJ, leading into my afrobeats reconnection, followed by a few songs that were played at my bday party, to the songs I shazamed while on the continent, and ending with some calm chill songs to represent the peace that I gained from this trip.
This cover was taken by me on my camera my first night out in Accra at Front Back. The vibe was everything that I imagined. Looking around seeing people that look like me exuding joy in the form of dance from listening to music felt so good. I was at peace. I was at home. I added photos of both passport stamps (Nigeria and Ghana) to the background and faded it out to pay homage to the impact that these countries have had on me.
South Africa up next. Hope you enjoy.
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