With acts like Burna Boy and Wizkid flying its banner, Afrobeats has helped make Nigeria the hottest spot in music. It has also paved the way for acts like IceSleek.
The Lagos-born and raised singer's latest crack at the big time comes April 7 with the release of Holla, a song that blends Afrobeats with Jamaican dancehall.
According to IceSleek, with Afrobeats acts a dime a dozen in Nigeria, being different is important.
"Basically, because I'm me, and me is me. Everyone who's done great or doing great in this art called music, is definitely unique in their own right. I've got my own sound. I'm practically unique in my own right especially in fusing Afrobeats with any other genre that comes on my mind," he said.
Holla is produced by Tuffgig Music Empire, a company owned by New York-based Nigerian Hardy Jimbaz, who has collaborated regularly with Jamaican musicians.
IceSleek (born Prince Ikenna Akunne) says prior to meeting Jimbaz, he was a "lone artiste". He expects working with a structured company to benefit his career.
"The fact that I get to share ideas especially with the boss himself, Hardy Jimbaz, and with the production crew, helps in bringing much solid and stronger aspect of this new single and project. And I feel like people will clearly see the uniqueness and hopefully, gravitate to it," said IceSleek.
His influences are cross-generational and diverse. From Bob Marley and Lucky Dube, to Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Wizkid and Justin Bieber.
Jimbaz, who is also from Lagos, started Tuffgig Music Empire in 2004. As an artiste in the 1980s, he recorded to traditional Nigerian beats and did reggae songs with roots deejay Angie Angel after settling in New York.
In recent years, Jimbaz has produced a number songs which feature keyboardist Sidney Mills of Steel Pulse fame.
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