With Afrobeat’s becoming highly infectious within the UK’s music scene, Kida Kudz is here to make Afro-swank known. After the past couple of years of tremendous growth, Afrobeat’s - originating out of West Africa, from the regions of Nigeria and Ghana, is continuing to push the UK’s eclectic talent to the surface. In only a short period of time, this type of music has produced some of the most well-known artists in the UK including Yung Bxne, J Hus, Fuse ODG and Wizkid.
Representing that West African culture, Afrobeat’s has impacted artists not only based across African regions, including South and East Africa but has grown far further afield and solidified itself in UK music. Mixing African rhythms along with the iconic vocal styles and flows, it’s no surprise that with the rise of this music, shaking the globe and certainly the UK music scene, upcoming artists are pushing to develop their own type of sound within the genre.
One of these artists, who is getting a lot of respect from both the native home of Afrobeat’s and the UK, is Nigerian-native, Kida Kudz. Hailing from his birthplace of Nigeria, Kida has been making music since he was fourteen years old and only started pursuing it professionally five years ago, after winning the Peak Talent Show in Nigeria, which was really the beginning of his musical career. Speaking on his beginnings and the scope of his sound, Kida says:
“For past 5 years since I started, I have been searching for my sound but last year I dropped my track, ‘Issa Vibe’ and after I dropped it - I knew what my sound was. Before I was trying to mess about with different sounds but right now I know what my sound is, I know what I’m meant to do, and it sounds natural.”
The Afrobeat movement is one thing for people who might not necessarily be aware of the cultural impact, however, being from Nigeria of course has had an impact in the type of music that Kida has made and asking him this, he said confidently, “The culture is very important. You must know about the origination of Afrobeat’s and the people that’ve been doing it. I’m a fan of Wizkid and Burna Boy, those are my inspirations. It’s mixing our culture even being here in the UK, it’s seeing what we can learn from being in the UK but also what the UK can learn from Nigerians, so for me it’s mixing the two and it’s very important.”.
It’s not just about hearing the music but also understanding the origins and what that music can mean in different places. As the scene has developed quicker in the UK than anywhere else, it poses the question of how people feel about that growth, Kida explained his view saying, “Right now the Afrobeat scene is huge and everybody is trying to jump on it. There are people that are trying to take it in a different direction, there is Afro-fusion, Afro-rap, Afro-pop and all sorts of different parts of it people are trying to create. So where does he fit in to all of this - “for me, I call mine Afro-swank, it’s me interpreting my own Afrobeat’s.”
Although the growth of this genre has shed light on so many artists, and created a whole new scene within the UK’s music culture, are new artists who don’t have as much knowledge on the genre taking away the authenticity of what Afrobeat’s stands for?
It’s a very interesting question and one that made us both think, “I’ll appreciate the fact that people that I see are doing Afrobeat’s, but at the same time not everybody can do it, it’s not for everybody. People can support it, dance it, vibes to it but it’s not for everybody - so I just say it’s better to just stick to what you know.”
Moving on from other artists and re-directing the attention back to Kida, we talked about what he’s doing differently with Afrobeat’s, “my genre is Afrobeat, but my sound is Afro-swank, swank is another way of saying swag, but swag is outdated so Afro-swank is the way I express myself. So, right now if you hear a Kida Kudz track you’ll know that’s my track because there is a way it sounds that is different from everybody else, and that’s what makes it stand out”
Getting to this point has been a process of trial and error and it seems that Kida is solid in what he wants to be known for, right now it’s all about mastering his sound. Taking the time to craft it, is something that people have recognized him for, with artists such as Kojo Funds, Dremo, Abra Cadabra, Ekeno and Olami having had the chance to work with the rapper.
Speaking of his collaboration with Dremo on his latest single, ‘Last Last’, Kida speaks of how that collaboration came about. “‘Last Last’ is slang that people were using in Lagos and I felt I needed put it in a song and it was like a message to anybody going through anything that last last it’s going to be alright everything is going to be good. I played the song for Dremo and he sent me something at 5am and said he would record something and at 5:30am, I got it back!”
So, with the extra attention Kida is seeing this year, we had to know if there’s any future collaborations in the works. “I would love to work with Mr Eazi. At the moment I’m looking to work with Burna as well, we were meant to do something before, but it didn’t happen but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to do something soon.”. As the conversation comes to an end, we are establishing what Kida’s plans for the future are. “I’m working on a lot of singles at the moment and working with a lot of different people, a couple of DJs. I’m also working on my EP that I want to drop for Easter time and so I’m busy with that and just in general more collaborations and more singles for me. There is more music this year I feel like last year was slow, I only released four tracks - but this year there is more music coming.”
The yet to be titled EP itself will be the first solid body of work that we hear from Kida and he already knows what he wants it to sound like. “The EP is based on the Afroswank sound I’ve been talking about, on that Issa Vibe sound. Most of the songs will be good vibe music but there is a couple that will have some messages in here”.
And so, with all that being said and everything that has been discussed in the conversation, I’m curious to know how Kida is able to stay true to himself, in terms of his creativity and as an artist and it’s clear that Kida isn’t having any hesitations or doubts about this as he speaks with confidence saying, “By being myself 100. I always say people just have to be real, keep everything organic, stay focused and your own thing. It’s so easy as an artist to see what other people are doing and want to do things like how other people are doing things but you have to focus on your energy and just believe in yourself and stay true to yourself and with that you will grow, it might take time, but you will grow with it.”.
Words: Seneo Mwamba