90s Baby Sound Off: Let Idris King and friends take you on a journey to the future
Premiere of Idris King's 'Squad' video? Check. Rare Bris B performance? Check. Yinkabernie shutdown? Yup. Check too.
Idris King premiered his video for Squad at the cafe BarBar in Victoria Island, but our trip with him started way earlier than that.
There was the host, Tosan who managed to hold the audience down with a voice that didn’t threaten our lives while dropping random bars.
90sbabySoundOff is easily becoming the biggest of those trippy, intimate nights that offer the best emerging talents from the underground scene in Lagos.
The third edition, which went down on at the Cafe Barbar, off Fola Osibo in Lekki, really just kept the vibe going.
One of my favorite highlights from the show happened at the very start, and it came in a double dose with the label ‘The Kazez’ stamped on it.
The duo of Tenkaz and Kenkaz have energy for days and it showed on their set; an acapella rendition of their soon-to-be-released single, ‘Time’ and a charged performance of ‘Alcohol’.
I went there with little knowledge of what the twins could do, and left convinced, a new convert.
Nothing about the night was par for the course, because this night was a showcase of musicians that have chosen paths, sonic and otherwise, different from the regular.
90s Baby is a lifestyle brand that was founded to create a platform for young emerging talent from Africa. In the build-up to the event, the team invited other musicians to take advantage of the opportunity by registering to perform until a hour before mic check.
Everyone has been at shows like that before – a bunch of guys take turns on the mic, trying to draw your attention and tickle your interest.
What they offer is different ends of the spectrum – one soulful songstress’ heart-tugging ballad is followed by something that looks too much like a cry for help. Proof that life always finds a way to create balance.
This was somewhat different – each performance was distinct in itself yet just another shade of a movement that is changing our impression of what ‘Nigerian’ can sound like.
The range of sound on display was astounding; the lights were turned off for Yinkabernie to wreck havoc with his standout ‘Silhoutte’, but that energy easily smoothed when the extraordinary Jazz Atta drifted through melody as she sang some new material from her forthcoming project.
Regardless of what was happening in that section of the room that was transformed into a makeshift stage — barelyanyhook’s rapid delivery or Ozone’s stellar set — there was a constant air of confidence about those performers.
Something that said, even before they held the mic, that what they gave would keep up the vibe that began with Tosan.
No-one embodied this more than Kay, one with the makings of a lyricist whose gait reflects his ability. His set weaved through heavy-hitting original tracks; a favorite of mine interpolated a sample of BlackStreet’s ‘No Diggity’, a true relic of the 90s if there ever was one.
One of the more special moments of the night also brought back a part of our past that is promising big things for the future.
It’s been a while since anyone saw Bris B, a man we remember most as one of the members of the L.O.S, undoubtedly pioneers of this sonic rebirth that we are privileged to have front sear tickets to.
Bris told us that he had been absent due to an injury he sustained from an accident months ago. And then, he immersed himself in a rare performance, filled with his trademark passion, buoyed by the abilities of his two older brothers.
This is why we come out to these shows, hoping to catch these young creators re-make their moments before our eyes in real time — the soundoff has all the elements that make this happen; the vibe, a shared sense of purpose to build something special, and an emerging sound that will define this generation for times to come.