There’s been a lot of growth in the music scene in Africa, our sounds have more circulation. There’s closure within us, because the world is paying more attention to Africa. We have more diversity too and DJs excite me the most in that spectrum.
DJs are they are the key. They are the ones who find the music, who dig out the new sound in its raw-est form and share with everyone.
From their fluid mixes to self produced songs, DJing is slowly gaining ground as an art form, especially among the youth.
It’s beautiful seeing them rise, and grow into the mainstream music scene. Now they aren’t just the guys who play the latest Davido, Wizkid or pop songs, DJs actually listening to and directing the culture now.
This new diversity and open mindedness are helping us move past things like sexism, and is giving the female gender a more expressive role in carving the future of the African music.
Female DJs like DJ Femo, DJ Cuppy, and DJ Yin are some of the young, female DJs changing the scene.
I had the pleasure of talking to DJ Yin, whose real name is “Oyin Asu-Jo” for this article.
Sometimes there’s a block but DJ Yin believes we can out grow them in the new age, “Well, honestly we can, but it will take a lot of work. Once we can get rid of the women belong in the kitchen mentality.” Says DJ Yin, talking about some of the obstacles that curently exists in the industry. Her optimism is as sure as her fingers on the turn table. DJ Yin who under the tutelage of Nigeria’s foremost disc jockey, DJ Jimmy Jatt, has come to blossom in this field for the past 4 years.
“I don’t know if words are enough,” She says, “But it’s how I feel what I think about what I’ve been through and everything there can be to it. That’s the reason why I’m a DJ and an artiste. That way I’m making music that can heal, and playing it at the same time.”
DJ Yin broke out into making music with her debut on BankyontheBeats All female project, Fuegos Senoras.Then she offered her vocals on Ozzy B’s Beat it Up and DJ FeMo’s Adara.
DJ Yin doesn’t say so much, but she will put it all in her music, “I do that with my music. Not really the type to say how I feel. I sing it.”
Music can have a very strong connection with any artist it is as a way of expression. “Growing up I was around a lot of music. And the feeling it gave me was one compared to none other. So I started writing rhythmic poems. But it wasn’t enough. Then I turned the poems into songs. The lyrics happened to be my thoughts and my mood at the time.” DJ Yin discloses. Suddenly getting nostalgic she says, “First time I sang in my life I cried, because it was an experience I had never felt before. It became a sort of therapy. And a drug at the same time. Till today. I say how I feel or how I’ve felt in the past with my music.”
One might wonder with such an affinity for music,, why did DJ Yin go into DJing first, “I find DJing very fascinating. I remember listening to other DJs spinning and then I’d say ‘oh he should have brought in this song next’. In 2012, I decided to give it a try. Establishing myself a bit as a DJ before proceeding to become a musician.”
The DJs are the plug. Their relevance can’t be ignored. They should be given more free role.
“Honestly speaking ,with the likes of FeMo, Osivue etc pushing the new music there is a huge chance that the breakthrough of new music will be faster than we even thought. Because, honestly speaking the more gigs they keep playing new music at the better it is for us. Everything takes time, but one thing no one can deny is that our presence can be felt. It’s just so sad how the younger generation DJs don’t get treated as well as they should be,” The young DJ says with candor.
Building a new culture where the music scene respects DJs a lot more and allows them to inspire more content, will face a lot of challenges.
“We need to empower more of them”, says DJ Yin “First off they need to get rid of that ‘they’re young so they can’t be that good’ mentality and we need to stop looking at ourselves as females in the industry like we don’t know anyhing.”
She riles up a bit when I asked her about the gender balance in the DJ scene,”Gender inequality lol. It’s messed up. And these so called big event planners need to stop paying peanuts, or payment in form of exposure. Some of us earn a living from this, man.”
DJ Yin reminds me a lot of other young people I’ve spoken recently: quiet, not saying too much- Allowing their work speak about all their mind wonders around.
But I still needed to know what made her tick.
So I asked about what she loves about her music. She replied, “I’m all about preaching love, and that is what my music is focused on at the moment. I wanted to do something people related to, and that was personal to me as well, so I did ‘What You Started'”
The future has a lot for all of us growing and participating in changing Africa. We are all legends of a new wave of creativity rising in Africa.