LargeUp Mix Series

Supposedly, “Afro Soca” is a term coined by original Fela! cast member Shakira Marshall, who appears on the cover of this pleasantly raucous mixtape. In this genre, for the most part, the beats are pure West African pop, while the patois-steeped vocals, steel drums, and dancehall-inflected synths come to us straight from the Caribbean. For newcomers, this mixtape includes the hit “Ojuelegba,” the brilliant tri-national collaboration between Wizkid (Nigeria), Skepta (UK), and Drake (Canada) that borrows from British grime and American hip-hop while remaining essentially a Nigerian romantic coo in both style and substance. Other standouts here include Machel Montano and Kerwin Du Bois performing a reggae-reworking of Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s “Possessed.” Davido, an Atlanta-born Nigerian vocalist who has found widespread success on three different continents, collaborates with South African experimentalists Mafikizolo on “Tchelete (Goodlife)” to create a sensual, soca-based ballad. It’s not an exact fusion. Most of the heavyweight tracks sound like they were cooked up in Lagos and Johannesburg and sent to producers in Port of Spain for some soca sonic add-ins. But it’s an excellent guide to the new micro-genre that is sweeping dance clubs and ever so slowly trickling its way into mainstream American Top 40.