Kida Kudz is a one-off.
Raised in Nigeria and moving to the UK as a teenager, since then he’s developed his distinctive ‘Afroswank’ sound - a harder-edged, groove-orientated twist on Afrobeat - and collaborated with the very artists he admired as a child. Now with viral smash ‘Issa Vibe’, the Wiley-featuring ‘Bounce’, the stripped back yet dance-floor ready ‘Jiggy Bop’ and work with Chip and Burna Boy under his belt, Kida’s gearing up to release a mixtape.
“It’s more ‘Afro-jiggy’ now,” he says. “But Afroswank is still my vibe. The whole ‘jiggy’ thing is about being original, being yourself, standing strong. That’s how I am, in my own zones.” To maintain this, Kida says he listens to older music like Billy Paul or The Temptations, to random Spanish songs (“I don’t know what they’re saying, but I love it”), and builds playlists by Shazam-ing tracks he hears on Uber rides abroad.
Kida’s able to cross genres because of this individuality - spitting and singing in his Nigerian-London lilt, his unique melodies and instrumentation - and embraces what makes him unique: “Never be ashamed of who you are. I’m 100% African, on my songs I make sure you can hear it because that’s who I am.” It’s a confidence he’s worked hard to forge.
“It was difficult,” he says, remembering when he arrived in the UK. “Coming from Africa, people couldn’t understand what I was saying sometimes, and I couldn’t understand them, but I fought my way through. I didn’t let it belittle my dreams. I wanted to do music or nothing, so I kept going and going.”
He remembers watching footage of Fela Kuti playing to London audiences, as well as MCs and freestyles on Tim Westwood’s show, when he was growing up in Ibadan. “I was really tapped in; I knew about Giggs, I knew about Skepta, I knew about everyone,” Kida says. “I told Wiley when we did our song, ‘I was watching you in the ghetto in Nigeria, and now I’m here!’”
With new projects ready to roll out, and plans to work in Africa and America (“I make music to make people dance, I need to be in the sun!”), Kida is most definitely here.
Where:: North London via Nigeria
Get 3 Songs: ‘Issa Vibe’, ‘Bounce’, ‘Jiggy Bop’
Fact: In 2010, he was the winner of a national TV talent show in Nigeria.
BTS Next Wave Issue 113 with Tommy Jeans
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Words: Emma Finamore
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Zarina Shukri
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