SOOTHING AFROBEATS FOR A CHAOTIC TIME
By Agidi Guide
Once in a while, there are music artists that try to innovate and expand the boundaries of music genres by combining it with different ones. Afrobeat has definitely been one of those popular genres to experiment with in the last couple of years. However, it’s quite rare that true Afrobeat artists show us how it should be done in the right way. T.U.C and BemiSoul are two of those artists that truly embody the spirit of Afrobeat. They have now released their EP ‘Kaotic Riddim’. Could this EP mark a new chapter for Afrobeat culture beyond the borders of Africa?
The backstories of both BemiSoul and T.U.C. are both interesting to consider when you listen to ‘Kaotic Riddim’. Both of these artists are raised with the Nigerian culture. However, BemiSoul was born in Washington D.C., USA, and T.U.C in Jos, Nigeria.
It’s interesting to hear in ‘Kaotic Riddim’ that their shared interest for Nigerian Afrobeat was skillfully combined with western genres like soul, R&B, and on some occasions even funk influences. One of the best examples of this can be heard in ‘Heartbeat’, the first song of their EP.
African syncopated downbeat is a signature feature in most Afrobeat beats. Their nature is normally repetitive yet captivating and organic. However, it’s highly refreshing to hear this genre with a mix of R&B and soul elements, especially when it’s accompanied by a vocalist like BemiSoul. This refreshing combination of Afrobeat and western musical elements is continued in the second song ‘Memories’. We are yet again introduced to a great organic sounding beat. They manage to set a chill mood for the song, which is again strengthened by the soothing elements of Bemisoul’s voice. Even though the song builds in its sound along the way, it always stays true to the orderly nature of Afrobeat.
T.U.C and Bemisoul also show in their third song ‘Body Hot’ that this orderly feeling could also be achieved if the focus shifts to a more energetic style, which focuses more on R&B vibes. The song fits perfectly in the current western styles of music that incorporate Afrobeat. However, this track shows definitely a more organic and logical approach than most other ‘Afro’ R&B and soul tracks out there that are considered “popular”. ‘Memories’ functions as a great recap on why ‘Kaotic Riddim’ is a unique music project by two unique artists. It’s a refreshing take of creating order in a time of chaos in the world.
T.U.C and BemiSoul also mentioned themselves that this project was created to be a representation of happiness and beauty in the midst of chaos. “We want to push love, to encourage people to make memories while they can, and to recognize that beauty does lie in chaos. Tough times never last.” T.U.C. & BemiSoul After having listened to this EP, I couldn’t agree more with their statement. The captivating sounds of their Afro-inspired beats blend surprisingly well with the soothing R&B and soul elements from BemiSoul’s voice. It results in a well-balanced EP that truly communicates peace and happiness. This could be precisely what we need for chaotic times like these in the world.