[The Music Blog]: On Mafikizolo’s recent collaborations with Nigerian Afropop

P-Square‘s recent split brought the rise and fall of many African music groups back to light, from Styl Plus to Camp Mulla. But the Mafikizolo story is quite the exception. The groups’ presence on the continent has spanned over 20 years and in celebration of two decades of existence, the duo is releasing an aptly titled 20 LP, expected later in the year. However, despite being a South African super-group, two pre-released singles off 20 have indicated Mafikizolo may be potentially tapping Nigerian Afropop for this upcoming project.

The real question for them here perhaps is why?’

Mafikizolo first popped into Nigerian consciousness in recent times with 2013 summer hit, “Khona” off the group’s critically acclaimed Reunited album, a debut post-hiatus project. The success of “Khona” largely opened doors for South African house music producers with Nigerian Afropop, with collaborations starting with Uhuru, who is also a collaborator on “Khona”.

Taking the same cue, the strategy for Mafikizolo‘s pan-African campaign thus became obvious from then on. First, the group collaborated with singer May D on “Happiness”, then Davido on 2014’s “Tchelete”. Though the group spent much of the last two years on tour, the roll-out towards 20 has featured markings of Afropop.

“Love Potion”, the first single off the soon-to-come project shares the same percussive baseline popularly dubbed as Nigeria’s ‘pon pon’ sound, but that’s not all. “Love Potion” also features production from Wizkid collaborator Masterkraft, who also works on their latest single, “O Fana Nawe”, decidedly featuring Mama Africa herself, Yemi Alade.

In Africa where music careers are riddled with uncertainties due to poorly regulated industries, two decades in the game is no small feat, especially as a group. At the moment, Mafikizolo is not only surpassing all expectations by thriving for so long, the group is also doubling down on a crossover in West African markets to solidify their artistry into a Pan-African legacy.

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