This isn’t your average crypto piece, and no, I’m not asking you to buy the new monkey picture lol. It’s safe to say over the past year, collective doubts about cryptocurrency have multiplied and really there’s no easy way to say this, but it’s all natural.
Part of the cycle. Now although crypto is relatively young, its pros in disrupting the infrastructure of other industries greatly outweigh its cons. Music is one of those industries.
‘Music’ has changed over the years. Everything from the medium, to the business of music has evolved. But the extent of this change is a complicated question; by what metric should this ‘change’ to be judged?
Has the experience of listening to music gotten better? Is it easier for artists themselves to make ends meet off of their music? Is the ‘business of music’ better off? The answers to these questions are rather complicated.
Truth is, yes things are better but only for the very small percentage of superstars. In Africa it’s been even harder to make that call because label companies, publishing houses and DSPs either suffer from either a lack of ideas, a lack of empathy, or both.
All of these problems are solved with Cryptocurrency, Web 3, and NFTs.
To the uninformed, ‘NFT’ is a buzzword, a new catch in a never ending conquest for the human attention span and it couldn’t concern them. If by any circumstance this is you then I suggest you read this for a quick summary on the unlimited opportunities NFTs present independent artists.
Now we’re done with introductions, we’ll review a couple African artists pioneering the new frontier with on-chain music. I’ve also added relevant links and Twitter handles so you can check them out, immerse yourself and possibly become a collector.
Although most of these are genesis projects and very nascent (read ‘cheap’), remember to DYOR. Someday maybe a few of these could be auctioned at Christie’s, or maybe they won’t, but their true value as one of the earliest in the space will never be lost.
Anatii (@Anatii): A Soul Train Music Award on his belt and MTV street cred as one of South Africa’s hottest MCs, Anatii made his NFT project; ‘PUNISHER’ available for mint on the Fair platform. This 55 piece collection from ‘The Electronic Bushman’ (as he’s known on Twitter) has a bustling (and equally hilarious) community behind him and collectors from all over.
PSIV (@psivmusic): You’d naturally expect articles like this one to have objective descriptions, but it’s too hard to not like this talented Nigerian artiste PSIV. The smooth afrobeat rapper takes listeners on a “retro Nollywood party” ride with his 100 edition release; ‘SO SEXY‘ available on Nina Protocol, alongside very cool merch.
Zanib (@zanibwaves): Hailing from Equatorial Guinea, Zanib is a talented vocalist and violinist. What’s also interesting is how well her silky vocals blend with the electronic riffs and snares on her 11 edition collection; ‘Pressured Diamond’.
Wisdom Trust Forever (@wisdomtrust4eva): One of the earliest artists in the space, the talented SA rapper’s goal is helping to spread the message of web3 across developing Africa. He delivers his craft through emo-like beats and somber lyrics on his 25 edition NFT, released on April 12th; ‘Right My Wrong’.
MercuriMedici (@MercuriMedici): Here’s another multidisciplinary Nigerian creative leaving his mark in web3 music. The rapper and producer blends soulful afropop with alternative hiphop on his 50 edition genesis project; ‘Memories’.
Dedeukwu (@_Dedeukwu): Known as ‘Dede’ in NFT communities, it’s no coincidence his name translates to ‘Elder’. The seasoned Nigerian artiste pours his unique highlife and house sound into his music and boyy it is refreshing. Released on Mintbase, his eponymous NFT; ‘DEDEUKWU’ is a 1/1 collection that highlights the importance of a connecting with one’s roots.
Mansa (@Mansa_nova): This Tanzanian known as Mansa, is yet another very talented creative. His immersive audio-visual projects transport you to a deep futuristic afro utopia that may be here sooner than we think. His exodus piece, ‘TIMBUKTU VOL.2‘ is a 1/1 release and is part of a 3 piece collection available for mint on Zora.
Rama (@simplyramaa): Sudanese singer and songwriter Rama, is gifted. If you’re a fan of the 50’s style blues then you’re in for a pleasant shock listening to this song bird. She laces her beautiful voice into solemn lyrics then lays them on a bass guitar driven beat like she was born to do this. Comprised of 20 editions, her song ‘NUMB’ is available for mint on Zora.
Osaze (@OsazeFire): Smooth like a cold bourbon, Osaze pours effortless rap over a lowfi-esque hip hop beat that’s sticks in your head lol. Talented is definitely one word you’d describe the Canada based Nigerian rapper by, especially since this is his debut! Although the song is not available for mint you can listen on W3 streaming platform Audius.
Maxwell Bruno (@maxwellbrunoNFT): Who knew reggae and electronic would be such an amazing mix? The Kenyan artiste Maxwell sure did, he makes music that defies the rules of making music, and this in itself makes him a whiz kid. His collection is available for mint on Opensea.
Although 10 barely scratches the surface, it is sufficient to get you informed on some African creatives inspiring change with W3, and it’s beautiful to watch. So if you’re a lover of good music, a collector or just an enthusiast for all things innovative, pour yourself a drink and enjoy this deep dive. Cheers.
Words by Alexx The Curator