We Plug to You... IYEOKA

Powerful, passionate and talented are the words that come to mind when asked to describe the poet and artist that goes by the name Iyeoka Ivie Okoawa. Iyeoka pronounced ee-yo-kah means “I want to be respected” - a name originating from her native land of Nigeria - and respected she is or very well should be. Iyeoka is a seasoned and incredible artist and performer by all accounts despite the lack of mainstream popularity and it is with great pleasure and delight that we're able to share her with you...

The Nigerian-American poet, recording artist and singer began her musical career by founding the group The Rock by Funk Tribe and was able to blend her poetry with genres like Jazz, Blues, Funk and Gospel with the aid of this collective of musicians to create a beautiful bridge between poetry and music. In 2004, she released her first album of poem-songs (fusion of poetry and music) called Black and Blues followed by her second album Hum The Bass Line in 2007 and then in 2008, she recorded a live album in Hawaii called Live @ KTUH – Honolulu. Later that same year, she beautifully covered the U2 hit song "Desire" for the compilation album In The Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2 which also featured Grammy Award-winning and nominated African artists such as Angelique KidjoLes Nubians and Soweto Gospel Choir.

In 2009, Iyeoka transformed her sound and songwriting approach from poem-songs into more traditional song forms with the help of new producer David Franz and original collaborator Francis Phan and released two EPs that year - This Time Around and Run Into the Rain - with a more "electronic soul" sound fusing more Pop, R&B, Dance and Hip-Hop into her music. In November of the following year, Iyeoka released her third album Say Yes. Outside of the music, the list is endless when it comes to what this Nigerian-American singer/songwriter, poet, educator and 2010 TED Fellow has accomplished but for this here feature, we focus on the music and plug to you... IYEOKA

We Plug to You... The Illersapiens - Elevate

Hi GOOD folks, here's a story for you! A friend of mine heard this UK Hip-Hop group by the name of The Illersapiens while roaming the shops of London late last December and she was ever so kind to send me one of their songs (have no fear, I'll be sharing it later on in this feature). After listening to it and more songs by the group, The Illersapiens have fast become one of the few UK Hip-Hop acts that I find myself constantly looking out for.

I plug to you The Illersapiens, a seven-piece band hailing from South London, UK made up of Mr. Man (MC), Louis (drummer), Ollie (stringer), P-Riddimz (bass), Callum (sax), Dom (percussionist) and Katy B (female vocalist). Some of you might recognize Katy B from Rinse FM and popular hits such as "Lights On" and "Broken Record" to name a few and her very excellent solo debut album On A Mission. In a recent interview with Heads High Music, the group's lead eMCee - Mr. Man described their sound as an eclectic mix of genres that span Afro-beat, Hip-Hop, Garage and Reggae with basically no limits in creativity.

We Plug To You... Wizkid - Superstar (Album Review)

If you're Nigerian and/or into African Music and except you are living under a rock somewhere far away in Yemen or something then I can bet with all that I have (which is not much by the way) that the name Wizkid is not unfamilar to you. Poster boy of the EME family - the stable that birth Nigerian R&B crooner Banky W and also houses emerging Nigerian emcee Skales - finally releases his long-awaited and highly anticipated debut album titled Superstar.

Such an apt title for our very own "Justin Bieber/Chris Brown" and yes maybe I'm stretching the comparison just a tard bit but you can't deny the easy comparison that they are all very young cats who have taken their respective music scenes by storm in recent times. A young Fela as the "superstar" says on his twitter profile perhaps or maybe a young 2face Idibia? I have to honestly say that I am yet to find a suitable comparison, which is testament to the fact that Wizkid - real name, Ayo Balogun - is in a league of his own.

The buzz started slowly but unlike other artists that fade away or burn out before they've even begun, he kept people wanting for more and more of him - the clamour stemming from very stellar features on tracks with everyone from M.I, Jesse Jagz, Olamide, Kel, Ice Prince and so many more. His first single "Gidi Girl" was released and I have to be honest and say I was slightly disappointed. My expectations were much higher than this release... Soon after that, came the controversial hit song "Holla At Your Boy" and I as with quite a few others began to see the makings of Wizkid - the superstar. That record was soon followed closely by the instant banger "Tease Me/Bad Guyz". "Don't Dull" was subsequently released and it went on to rock every Gidi party from Nigeria to the UK to the US, leaving almost no one on their seat, to bring 2010 to an end.

It might then surprise you to hear that I was still not a fan of the kid. He seemed to be holding back just a little bit, and I thought he might be a little lazy with his verses, choosing to let the beats and musical backdrops of his songs do most of the "work". Still I looked forward to this album. To whom much is given much is expected and it was obvious that it was his time to shine.

The first song I got the privilege of listening to and definitely my favorite song on Superstar is the Shizzi-produced "LOVE MY BABY" (yes I had to put this in capital letter). This song just makes you happy and this is coming from a cynic on love such as myself. I found myself wishing I was getting married the next day with Wizkid singing this song while my husband and I danced away. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the instrumentation and I can imagine that a live rendition of this song will be quite EPIC with just drums, piano, a guitar and great backup singers. Banky W harmonizing on this song was the perfect complement. Not one to overhype, listen below to a sweet little extended snippet of the song...

"Love My Baby (Extended Snippet)":

The next song you are about to listen to - "No Lele" - I also like because of the instrumentals. I'm not sure if there was indeed a drummer during the recording sessions but if there was, they need to be really commended because they went all the way hard and hats off to producer Sunny 'Masterkraft' Nweke for this record. While Superstar is largely a party album guaranteed to have you dancing from start to end, Wizkid still manages to infuse two really inspiring songs that motivate & praise (watch out for the other one - "Oluwa Lo Ni"). "No Lele" is a song about survival and overcoming and I can particularly relate to it right now plus those drums patterns are just divine! Listen below

"No Lele (Extended Snippet)":

"When them tell you say, you no go fit, my sister make you tell them say No Lele"

Speaking of party songs, one particular record on Superstar is in my opinion one of the select songs that will be sure to have clubs going mental this year, the song is titled "Pakurumo". I suggest to DJs to start their sets with this song, end it with this song and make sure to play it a couple times in between throughout the night. Before I go on, I have to say that producer SAMKLEF deserves a standing ovation for his work on this song. He goes hard and the combination of Samklef and Wizkid is money everytime kinda like DJ Khaled and Rick Ross; Dr Dre and Eminem; Timbaland and Missy (OK you get my point). I must confess that I'm also slightly biased towards this particular song because he mentions my sister's name in the song (Hi Tolani), check it out below.

"Pakuromo (Extended Snippet):"

"They way you whine, whine, you blow my mind, mind"

Overall, this album is a very stellar debut effort from Ayo Balogun aka Wizkid and highly recommended here at WPGM. Other notable tracks on the 16-track Superstar include the Banky W-featured "Slow Whine", "For Me" featuring Wande Coal, "Wad Up" featuring D'Prince, "Scatter the Floor" and "What You Wanna Do".

I would have liked that rather than include old singles like "Gidi Girl" and "Holla at Your boy", we got treated to some new tracks but alas one can only wish plus remove the four previously released songs and we still have twelve brand new songs and sixteen solid tracks in total on Superstar (bar "Gidi Girl" which is alright but not on par with the kid's best) and in my books that makes for a 100% + "10/10 Shikena" album. As an aside, I would have also loved to see Skales on one or two other tracks on the album but I am sure his time will soon come and we will be compelled to do a similar feature on him when that time comes.

Ok so we can't just tease you with snippets and leave you feening for more, that wouldn't be fair so peep one of the many other stellar songs that did not make it on the Superstar album, this one only barely making the cut as a bonus track - the recently "leaked" "Wiz Party".

"Wiz Party":

It's also definitely a Wiz Party this Summer as Wizkid and the entire EME family come here to the States for a tour starting June 24th in Washington DC. Make sure to check their website for tour dates at a city near you.

Wishing the album was out already, aren't you? Yes ladies and gentlemen, VERY SOON you can get Superstar from your local vendor and stores and for those of us outside Nigeria, you can get your hands on the album via the online store at Not Just OK

Till Next Time...

Peace Love & Good Music


We Plug To You... LV + Joshua Idehen - Routes

Hey music lovers, its time for another plug and I have to say today’s feature could not have landed in my inbox at a better time. Recently, I have been in a funky, electro-house, urban dance listening frenzy and not only did it fill the void in my music library, its GOOD music too. With that I am ecstatic to plug to you LV + Joshua IdehenRoutes.

LV is a production trio out of South East London made up of members Will, Si and Gervase. The three members as you can imagine are all creatively different and their ability to aggregate those talents into crafting an artistic sound can be attributed to their musical success thus far. This recipe has worked over the years for the group gaining them a fan base, respect from record labels, DJs and also on to being mentored by Martin Clark - the UK bass critique, Rinse FM DJ and label boss of Keysound Recordings.

Their recent album Routes is a follow up to their previous EP 38 - both are released on Keysound Recordings. The EP 38 was named after the legendary London bus route 38 and with the new album Routes, it is clear the group is keeping up with references made to transport modes and direction within London. LV has previously worked with MCs such as Dandelion, Erol Bellot and other guest artists successfully but featured guest Joshua Idehen who took the vocal lead on 38 returns and does so again on the trio's new album Routes and plays the fourth member role pretty well... Without further ado, let's get into some music!

The first song I plug to you from the 12-track album Routes is the interesting 'Northern Line'. The track uses a blend of synthesizers, drums and hi-hats with a funky bass loop. When you also consider Joshua’s humorous lyrics, this makes for the complete groove tune. The song fits well with the album title Routes as the track progressively mentions the locations found on the northern line on London’s underground tube. service Luckily, I have been on the northern line one too many times to understand when Joshua asks, "what do you know about places such as Waterloo and Edgware?". And if you are no where able to ‘get on the northern line’, rhythmic body movements once you press play could get you a little closer.

Northern Line:

The next song 'Melt' keeps up with the funky house music style featuring stints of spoken words from Joshua Idehen to make for the ultimate dance track. Instruments common in this genre of music such as a drum-kit and bass in addition to a ‘four to the floor’ uniform rhythm pattern are used and makes this one of the standout tracks on the album.


This last song 'Primary Colors' is more of an electro house dance song with a huge potential in the dance clubs. Sadly however, it is the shortest of all the tracks on the album running at only 1:59 minutes. Just as most tracks in this genre, the songs usually have fewer words with more emphasis on the electronically derived instrumentals. No different, the sole verse on 'Primary Colors' includes only two lines said repeatedly by Joshua Idehen. I included this track to showcase a different sound on the album, as I’m glad to see that the group can embrace diverse styles of music switching genres almost flawlessly.

Primary Colors:

All together, I got the impression the groups purpose was to make an album about London and its very creative sounds which they somewhat succeeded in doing. I think every city has its theme song, which I will leave for a later conversation, but if I had to pick one from this album I'd go with 'Northern Line'. Apart from that, I could not gain a cohesive meaning from the album but I guess that’s the beauty of the music where it is left to the listener’s interpretation and yours will almost certainly be different from mine or his or hers or theirs

On some rare occasions, Joshua’s poetic delivery do not mesh with the track all too well, for example on the song 'I Know' while 'Last Night' with its eerie unconventional sound-bed also stands to be an easy hit or miss. However I enjoyed listening to Routes and it is an all round solid effort from the production trio LV. Adding Joshua Idehen as the guest vocalist seems to be a match that has worked now, in the past and I’m almost certain we will be hearing more from their collaborative unit in the future.

Purchase: LV + Joshua Idehen - Routes (iTunes) // Amazon

Keep tabs on Joshua Idehen - Twitter // Tumblr
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