There is no stopping the “We Are Africans” movement. Nigerian-born and London-based songwriter/ rapper/ singer/ music & video producer JJC (aka Skillz) spent December 2009 and January 2010 in Lagos, in order to take the movement back to the motherland – and the result is here: an amazing new Nigerian version of “We Are Africans”, featuring Femi Kuti, Dagrin, Eldee, DJ Zeez, Kel, Ay.com, Moe Money and Ragga Remi.
Not only did JJC record the song in Lagos, a video was also shot in Lagos by none other than Big Boyz Entertainment, the production company, headed by JJC and Moe Money, that is fast emerging as a real powerhouse for quality and innovative videos (their production cache includes “Fokasibe” and “Bobbee FC” by DJ Zeez, “Karmakazee” and “Takerewa” by Olu Maintain feat. Kentro Family, “Omo 2 Sexy” by Justina, “Morile” by Bouqui, “Pu’yanga” by Tilla Man & Dola Billz, “Shake” by DK, “Why” by Jibola and “Anyhow” by Shakar El Swagga and many more). The new video will be on your TV screens very soon.
Serious, but also fun, tongue-in-cheek and wildly infectious, “We Are Africans” is an anthem – in fact it can be labelled as the national anthem for the United States of Africa. It is a song for all Africans – from the motherland and from all parts of the Diaspora – which combines the sentiments of pride, unity and positivity. It is also the perfect soundtrack for 2010, a year of huge importance for Africa: The world will be watching when the World Cup games take place in South Africa, and 17 African nations (including Africa’s giant Nigeria) will be celebrating 50 years of independence.
The video for the original version of “We Are Africans” has so far attracted almost 100,000 views on YouTube and more than 15,000 views on the influential American hip-hop site www.worldstarhiphop.com, as well as being playlisted on MTV Base Africa and being on heavy rotation on Nigezie, BEN TV and many other channels.
The phenomenal response to “We Are Africans” has lead to various remixes having been recorded in London, including the Africa On Your Street Remix featuring Tilla Man, Dola Billz, Millaz, Mo Eazy, Magnum and many more (see video link above), as well as a Funky House remix featuring award-winning UK-based Ghanaian rapper Sway. And the movement will continue.
JJC is also preparing for the release of his solo album, to be entitled “United States of Africa”. The album will showcase a wide range of styles and will include “Jigi Lale”, “Skankers”, “Say Yes”, “Hungry” (preview and picture videos of all these can be found on YouTube).
It is no exaggeration to say that JJC is not only a multifaceted, prolific and creative persona, but also a true pioneer of the Afro Pop music scene. He counts D’banj and Don Jazzy as his musical protégés, and under his alias Skillz has produced a range of hits for Nigerian artists, including “Ijoya” by Weird MC, “Pu’yanga” by Tilla Man & Dola Billz, “No dull yourself” by MP and “Why” by Jibola. JJC first rose to fame when he formed Sony Music act Big Brovaz (their first single “Nu Flow” was a worldwide hit) and he then went on to produce for Lemar, Jamelia, Ginuwine, Liberty X, Booty Luv and many others. Alongside these mainstream production credentials, he created pioneering Afropean group JJC & 419 Squad, where he was the producer, songwriter and main vocalist. JJC & 419 Squad, whose hit songs included “Gbao”, “Atide” and “Kilonsele”, broke new ground with their fresh mix of hip-hop and African flavours, with lyrics in Pidgin, Yoruba and English. The group uniquely managed to reach out to European as well Nigerian audiences, and they performed at countless events, including major festivals such as WOMAD in the UK (the biggest World Music festival in the world) and also at MTV Base Africa’s launch concert in Abuja, alongside Ludacris, 2-Face and Asa. Their music was used in Oscar-nominated films (Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things) and on mainstream TV (Channel 4’s drama Stealing Lives) and tracks were included on internationally released CD compilations. JJC & 419 Squad picked up a number of awards, too, such as the 2004 Kora award for ‘Best African Group’. More recently JJC won ‘2009 Best UK-based African Act’ trophies at the African Music Awards and the BEFFTA Awards (both held in London in October 2009), and in December 2009 he picked up the ‘Nigerian UK Artiste of the Year’ award at the annual Dynamix All Youth Awards in Lagos.
“We Are Africans” (original version) – Digital single out now on iTunes, eMusic, Amazon etc.
Original video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTNnuCqLzOY
Original version featuring J-Rock & Randy (Big Brovaz/ Party Dark)
UK remix video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb2pEQ9L7cA
Africa On Your Street remix featuring Moe Money (Big Boyz), Tilla Man & Dola Billz (166 Family), Chi, Naughty 1 & Shaq (Millaz), Mo Eazy (E Ladder Ent), Magnum, Paradise and Priceless (Fenix Ladies)
Naija remix (part 1) video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNAp6Y2xTUo
Naija remix featuring Femi Kuti, Dagrin, Eldee, DJ Zeez, Kel, Ay.com, Moe Money & Ragga Remi