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Nigerian folk singer, Mobelieve’s indigenous aesthetic has been described as many things. Some view him as ‘shalte’, the descriptor given to artists who tether the line between the retro alte subculture and more contemporary or ‘shepeteri’ influences. For others, the extremes he combines are farther apart.
Mo’Believe is a child of two significant eras of Nigerian culture. His music is heavily influenced by the Yoruba folk music of bygone decades. He sings with urgency about poignant topics like fate and societal expectations, much like icons of the era, King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey. He is, however, also a product of the internet era, the 2010’s and the DIY culture that has made musicians’ bedrooms the primary source of viral hits.
On the remix to “Bi Oba”, a track off his 2018 album of Mo’Believe combines both to create a muted reminder of his aspirations and a tribute to all his influences. Produced by Olumba, the song is sparse yet careful constructed with light synths and traditional instruments like the Konga drums and the gan-gan which Mo’Believe calls for at some point, (“Oni
Like most of the music from the era that inspired it, “Bi Oba” is something to relax, grab a cup of something strong and sway to. The song’s hook calls for the listener to take his position and move to the beat. Mo’believe is only doing what he was called to do, he sings. In this case, he has come with the groove at just the right time.
Mo’believe is one of the beneficiaries of Mr Eazi’s Empawa 100 fund for emerging artists. The music video, made with the platform’s support, is where “Bi Oba (Remix)” most comes to life in vivid detail.
Mo’believe appears first in a denim jacket, trousers made from local ‘adire
One of the more eloquent comments on the video reads, “You show how beautiful our culture is in both your lyrics and the video“. It’s a simple compliment that it is spot-on.
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