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Benjybwoy creates a storm

AFRO-BRITISH music producer Benjybwoy is looking to revamp Jamaican music in his ancestral Nigeria with his latest project.

“The intention and formation of this new rhythm was to push dancehall and reggae in Africa, especially in Nigeria to complement the huge afrobeat scene,” Benjybwoy, whose given name is Benjamin Asabi, told the Jamaica Observer.

“Reggae and dancehall music was huge back then growing up in Nigeria; especially with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, King Yellowman and so on. But the vibes in the last 10 years or more has been terribly down as compared to other African countries; hence the need to revive it,” he continued.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, Asabi spent most of his childhood in the capital Lagos before returning to England in the 1990s.

The new rhythm, titled Hurricane Africa, officially dropped six weeks ago and features up-and-coming Jamaican artistes such as Real VI, Frass Hill, Sassipearila and Billie Jean, as well as Zimbabwean Eyetal Fyah.

Benjybwoy attained a degree in business studies from the University of East London in 2000, but realised his true passion was music.

“Music has always been part of my life growing up and living in the UK in the early '90s and being close to so many Jamaicans back then who were mostly deejays and selectors, sound engineers and producers. This aroused my interest and I basically taught myself how to mix,” he recalled.

He is principal of BB Productions UK, a five-year-old company which merged with Nigerian record label WCN Productions in January 2018.

Benjybwoy has only visited Jamaica once, in 2007, but got the opportunity to work with producer Cornelius Daley of Cornelius Records last year. Daley produced Macka Diamond's Tight Shoes, as well as emerging acts, including Baanz ( Planetz) and Prince Banton ( Temperature).

“I have most respect for Cornelius Records. He gives upcoming artistes opportunities to voice on his rhythms and that is something most big producers in Jamaica will never do,” he said.

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