Words by DJ Aljahzeera
Selector’s Choice heads to Africa for the first time to check in with Ghana’s DJ Aljahzeera. A musical explorer and radio host in Accra, he’s an ambassador of many music styles, including those from the Caribbean. An early proponent of afro soca, he connected Fay-Ann Lyons and Stonebwoy B for their collaboration, “Block the Road.” Here, he shares a diverse selection of tunes from across the continent.
Greetings from the motherland Africa to the entire Large Up crew. This is DJ Aljahzeera from Ghana, the host of the syndicated Urban Xpress Hiphop Show and the Groove Xtra Show on Xlive Africa Radio (9-12 GMT, Monday – Friday). It’s a pleasure and a great moment to be featured in Selector’s Choice. Big up and LargeUp!!!
Currently, I’m working on developing more syndicated radio and tv shows, and developing a specialized tech product to integrate music promotion for both upcoming and existing artistes for diverse tv and radio outlets while artistes can also learn about music business and its transformations.
I always cherish introducing the best, most refreshing music ,and giving a platform to new artists on the African continent to justify their talents, building up a loyal global fan base where the audience can discern between “good” and “popular” music through my platform. Here’s my current top 10 songs, ranging from hip-hop, afropop, soca, afrobeats, down to dancehall.
Youssoupha – Black Out (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Undoubtedly the best French lyricist in Africa currently. Even though I don’t understand too much French, I am able to catch, as Youssoupha mentions several African leaders who tried liberating their countries from slavery. Charting at No. 1 for over 10 weeks in a row on Urban Xpress’ Urban Vibes Chart, “Black Out” is my best out of Youssoupha’s NGRTD album.
Ketchup – Pampam (Nigeria)
A great song with much appeal for dancehall lovers “Pampam” has a sampling of Shaggy and Chaka Demus, and an upbeat tempo you cannot help but bump your head to. I would describe this as a straight hit song which merges afrobeats and dancehall.
A.Y. ft Diamond Platinumz – Zigo Remix (Tanzania)
A.Y. and Diamond Platinumz are both breeds of bongo flava music, which originated in Tanzania in the late 90’s. Zigo (remix) has a soft touch of class from the multiple award winning singer Diamond Platinumz with a rhythmic flow from A.Y., who has been revitalizing indigenous African music. No doubt, it has close to 6 million views on YouTube since being uploaded in late January.
Fay-Ann Lyons ft. Stonebwoy – Block The Road ( Trinidad & Tobago/Ghana)
One of greatest songs being released not just for collaboration purposes but beginning a new history of the Caribbean world rekindling the relationship with their roots and staying connected to Africa always by creating a new music sensation dubbed “Afro Soca” which I’m more than glad to be a part of, a sub-genre bridging Afrobeats and soca music. One fascinating thing; this record “block the road” featuring the BET Best African Act winner is about the song having a global release on my radio show.
Roberto ft General Ozzy and Reekado Banks – Dreams (Zambia/Nigeria)
A very good song comprising three amazing voices with a positive message. Lusaka, Zambia’s Roberto, who is noted for his hit single “Amarulah,” features Reekado Banks from Nigeria and his blood brother, General Ozzy. This an inspiring record which will give comfort to any depressed soul.
Shatta Wale – Chop Kiss (Ghana)
Rated as controversial, Shatta Wale’s “Chop Kiss” is the latest street anthem in Ghana which cuts across the lips from the young to old. This is certainly a jam that no DJ in Ghana, or Africa, will elude from his play list.
Runtown Ft. Wizkid, Machel Montano – Bend Down Pause Remix (Nigeria/ Trinidad & Tobago)
Another example of good music crossing borders from Nigeria to the Caribbean. This record has a blend of Afrobeats, dancehall and soca with groovy rhythms that could get anyone on the dance floor when it’s being played, even more so now that it’s been remixed by an ace musician from Trinidad & Tobago.
Xtatic – Means War (Kenya)
“Means War” showcases real talent by Xtatic from Kenya, which I believe can be pitched with Nicki Minaj. Each and every time I play this, the pace and delivery gives me the notion of discovering and empowering young and naturally-gifted female rappers in Africa, to show the world what really exists on this side.
Kuvie, Moe, Ayat – K3 ke mi (Ghana)
With me having much greater interest of unveiling new artistes and producers, This song blends tribal African percussion and xylophone tones with an urban hip-hop feel to create an enjoyable jam that unites three popular Ghanaian dialects in perfect harmony. An awesome tune to be listened to.
Dama do Bling Ft. Victoria Kimani – Taking Over (Mozambique/Kenya)
My last jam, which complements my research into finding new sounds across the continent, is “Taking Over” from the multiple award winning Mozambican singer and rapper Dama do Bling. The track, which features Chocolate City Records’ First Lady from Kenya, Victoria Kimani, epitomizes a blend of hip-hop and indigenous Kwaito music from South Africa—it’s Afrobeat music with an urban feel.