It's still rare enough to warrant a great deal of attention when African artists working in contemporary urban genres collaborate with their American or British counterparts, which is odd in the age of the internet; after all, it's never been easier for artists from opposite ends of the planet to record together. Yet, starting from Fela's 1971 collabo with former Cream drummer Ginger Baker on Live!, most have been with artists like Youssou N'Dour (7 Seconds with Neneh Cherry and How Come with Canibus and Wyclef), Afel Bocoum and Toumani Diabaté (on Mali Music with Damon Albarn), or more recently projects like the Owiny Sigoma Band, Sidi Camara Band, the Dutch-Ethiopian meeting that gave rise to Ililta!, and the Juldeh Camara-Justin Adams get together that gave rise to JuJu. Or it's house DJs doing remixes, but we'll leave that for some other day.
For some reason we're not seeing nearly as many such meetings between African R&B/hip-hop/Bongo Flava/Hiplife-type artists and their American/British counterparts. The most prominent ones of late have been the D'banj-Snoop collabo and BLNRB Welcome to the Madhouse (although this one's a differend kind of animal). South African rapper HHP has collaborated with Nas in the past, and his forthcoming album will feature Talib Kweli, but for every one of these you will find at least five of the other. Not sure why this is the case. Could simply be that artists like Youssou tend to appear more often at the big American and European festivals, and as such are more likely to bump into future collaborative partners than their R&B/hip-hop brethren who weren't, at least until recently, getting anywhere near as much international travel under their belts. Perhaps, also, when American and European artists "look" for African artists to collaborate with they're looking for African artists doing "African" music, if you know what I mean. What do you think?
Whatever the case, it's rarer still to come across collaborations between Tanzanian urban artists and American or European ones. The last one we can think of is Loon Bongo from 2007, featuring Ibra da Husla, D Greedy, and American artist Loon (from Bad Boy Records).
Anyway, here's hoping these one-off become a trend, 'coz these collabos are almost always interesting when they happen, and this most recent example from MAMA Award nominee AY (Ambwene Allen Yessayah), American rapper/actor/athelete Romeo and American singer/actress La'Myia Good is bloody hot stuff indeed.
AY and Romeo on the set of the shoot
La'Myia on the set