WIZKID BRINGS THE HOUSE DOWN AT AFROREPUBLIK FESTIVAL
If you were not at the O2 this past Saturday then you were definitely missing out on a show the much anticipated AfroRepublik festival brought to you by Disturbing London finally hit the O2. The festival which celebrated music from Africa included Afrobeat artist Wiz Kid as well as other Nigerian artists such as Mr Eazi, Twi Savage, Yxng Bane and Not3s to name a few. The night kicked was a good 6 hours of music, good vibes and Afro beats and ASBO was right in the mix to capture all the magical vibes.
Arriving at the O2 on Saturday afternoon was a sight of colourful delights. A sight I've rarely seen at the O2 with African stepping out and representing for the culture and the night that was about to ensue. Before WIZKID took the stage a little after 9 pm a number of artists got the crowd warmed up and hyped including DJ Tim Westwood who kept the tunes playing in between acts and keeping the vibes going throughout the day.
Kicking things off Maleek Berry took to the stage setting the crowd off. His 40-minute set got the growing performing songs like tracks such as Been Calling, Let Me Know, Sisi Sis and Kontrol. Berry really brought the energy as the first performer setting the tone for what was to follow.
A range of musical styles including Afrobeats, Hip Hop and African musical styles were all on display one thing that was prominent and unmissable was the energy that the crowd brought, at no point did silence fill the room as the crowd really brought the applause cheers and sing-along and I'm talking for every song.
Other artists of the night included Yxng Bane who again came out and brought an energized performance which ended with him taking off his shirt. His set included his songs Bestie, Dun Talkin, Fine Wine in which he brought out Kojo Funds. As well as his tune Rihanna and his track Corner which also included an appearance by Maleeb Berry. He ended his set on a hight with his current single Vroom that made the audience really go for it.
Following Yxng Bane Nigerian artist Mr Eazi came on the stage and whilst at this point, there was still a number of performers to follow one might have thought of Mr Eazi as the headline act as he came out with a 5 piece band complete with backup dancer and a set design. However such was not the came. Coming through in a number that consisted of a coat that was ditched throughout the performance. He also came through with a set that was a treat.
Having just released his latest single London Town with Grime Rapper Giggs. His set included a surprise performance from the rapper for its inaugural live performance and even though the song had only been out for less than 24 hours at this point the audience was already here for it and singing along with the song.
The transitions of the show were set by DJ Tim Westwood who many were sceptical about in terms of why they went with him rather than an African DJ however whilst people may have been hesitant with him to begin with. However, he not only delivered on the tunes he also came through with some classic Afrobeat tunes playing music from other Afrobeats artists such as Davido, Fude ODG and some of Classic as well as fusing with the tunes we all love from the likes of Drake, Cardi B, 21 Savage and the tune that get us going.
Following Mr Eazi the next notable artist to the stage just happened to the only female on the lineup. Songstress Tiwa Savage. Originally slated to take the stage before Mr Eazi she took the stage just as it seems like the crowd was starting to die off and the crowd couldn't be more excited to see her.
Coming through her now set of background dancers Tiwa also came through with a strong performance. As the only female up on the lineup, she was representing for the ladies and did not disappoint.
Just before Wiz Kid took the stage the file performer leading up the main act Not3s took the stage. The Young East London Rapper came on bringing thhat final buzz before WIZ KID took the stage. Performing his tracks Alaadin, Addison Lee, Sit Back Down, M3 Not You and his hit song my Lover he came through with the vibes and following that the crowd was ready for the WIZ KID.
WIZ KID who made history was the first Africa-based artiste to perform at the O2 arena in London performing to a sold-out crowd of 20,000. His headline set did not disappoint as he brought fire, sparks, vibes and bangers. With a stage set with various rises at different points of the show he also shared the stage with songstress Tiwa Savage but also had model Naomi Campbell introduce him to the stage and had grime artist Skepta come out during the show.
Wiz who also sold out The Royal Albert Hall at the end of last year showed that Afrobeats and African artist have got the abiility to take their music to new heights the performance included tracks from Wiz's debut album which came out last year and featured the song Come Closer which featured American Rapper Drake on it.
This was the point in the show where you could barely hearing anything because a lot was masked with the sounds of the crowd cheering and singing along with Wiz the whole night. For most who had been at the show since 5 pm. The tiredness did not come through one bit with Wiz's performance reviving the energy in the room.
Overall the show was nothing short of good music and excellent vibes. As the first AfroRepublik festival, we are definitely sure that this festival will have a great future with many more to come. As a platform for Nigerian and African artists. we cannot wait to see what comes next of the festival.
Words: Seneo Mwamba
Images: Ollie Millington/Joseph Okpako