First release in series showcasing Nigeria’s ‘Freebeat’ movement unveiled via MOVES Recordings
Cruise! EP 1 features Nigerian artists DJ Slimfit, Professional Beat, DJ CORA, DJ Khalipha and DJ Stainless.
Freebeat incorporates tropes taken from gqom, amapiano and techno, and is blowing up on Nigerian blogs and TikTok. The first ever compilation to showcase the movement, ‘Cruise!’ will be split into 4 VA EP’s with the first made available on streaming platforms today.
It’s a genre driven by dancers, who often take the tracks and speed them up to 140BPM from their usual house tempo to catalyse a constant cycle of regeneration. Tracks are exchanged via market sold CDs and blogs with producers name tagging each track so as not to go uncredited on inevitable bootleg versions and reissues.
Whilst, as is often the case, it’s hard to track exactly the complex ways the music has developed, the seminal club started by afrobeat Godfather Fela Kuti and maintained by his sons Femi and Seun ‘New African Shrine’. As Moves Recordings tell it:
”After Femi or Seun Kuti have a gig they have the afterparty. Here, in-house selector DJ Step was playing amapiano, but making it faster – the Cruise sound is basically amapiano and gqom really sped up, with lots of samples added. The people that started taking in this new sound were rural everyday people that didn’t have anywhere to go after a long day of work. The shrine is open to everyone of all socio-economic classes – because of how Fela approached his life, the everyday lower class people feel like they have a place there at the Shrine. Club-goers will tell you that you wouldn’t hear this sound on the Island (Victoria Island, the upmarket part of Lagos with a lot of the clubs). They wouldn’t play Naira Marley on the Island, they wouldn’t play Cruise on the Island, but now it’s blown up, DJs have to play it everywhere.”