11 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

“I don't want to consume negative music anymore,” DJ/producer Walshy Fire tells Apple Music about the principles driving his debut solo album ABENG. Part of the Major Lazer triumvirate, the Kingston-born artist expresses a certain pride in having avoided the pitfalls of slackness in spearheading his passion project—one that seeks to bridge the dancehall reggae traditions of the Caribbean and the seemingly myriad urban music styles flourishing throughout Africa. Seeing far more similarity than difference across the geographic and musical diaspora, Walshy traveled the globe to unite big-name acts and notable up-and-comers for heretofore unrealized collaborations. “Kenya was really the spark, and when I got there it was just so similar to Jamaica,” he says. “Everybody on this album is a friend.” And when you count the likes of Afrobeats leader Mr Eazi, Trinidadian soca icon Bunji Garlin, and Tanzanian superstar Vanessa Mdee among your friends, as he does, that makes for one incredibly epic soundclash. Here is a track-by-track guide to ABENG, in his own words.

“Call Me” (feat. Mr Eazi and Kranium)
“My partner in Major Lazer, Diplo, he's been working with Mr Eazi for a while. When we went to South Africa, we all hung out together and the chemistry was just amazing. One of the biggest parts of my inspiration is his want to be a part of this. He was doing the song three, four times to make sure it was right, because he knows the importance of this project. That's very rare in my experience with artists. Kranium, same thing.”

“Round of Applause” (feat. Ice Prince and Demarco)
“Ice Prince and Runtown are really the spark to the idea. Literally, he would be hitting me up all day long, all the time, like, 'Yo, you got to do this, man, this is a big important project and people are going to really begin to feel this energy that you're feeling.' Ice Prince was such a major participant—I have to give thanks to him and the great energy.”

“No Negative Vibes” (feat. Alkaline and Runtown)
“A lot of people might not know, but this song is about two or three years old. Even the video was shot two years ago. Alkaline did an amazing verse, one of his best verses ever. Runtown was immediately like, 'This should be a big project, this shouldn't just be a single we drop.' He's a mega-artist, man. That song, it just landed at the right time. ‘No Negative Vibes’ is exactly what the entire project is about—no negative language.”

“Outside” (feat. Adekunle Gold and Nailah Blackman)
“There are several songs that are just for fun, and ‘Outside’ is one of them. He just wants to get back inside the house! That's all, basically, really not that deep. When the vibe came, we just ran with it. Nailah Blackman—I think she is going to be one of the biggest artists to come out of the Caribbean in the coming years. To have her on it, it's just a big, big vibe.”

”Xcellent” (feat. Ice Prince and Masicka)
“Ice Prince, again, was the leader on that track. I knew he could rap, but I didn't think that's what he wanted to do until I heard the song. He just went in. It is important because, even though this is targeted to Africa and the Caribbean regions, I do want to eventually branch this out to North America, the UK, Central and South America, and include Africans from the entire diaspora. I think he did a great job of sparking the idea for those people that are into hip-hop.”

“Amazing” (feat. Stonebwoy and Timeka Marshall)
“I live in the dancehall space and Stonebwoy lives in the dancehall space. It was natural that we connected. When we did, it was just instant, instant, instant chemistry. And Timeka Marshall, she was one of the few people that I didn't meet at first. She was just amazing. I have an event called Rum & Bass, and she surprise-performed, just came out and shut the place down.”

“African Lady” (feat. Ice Prince, Jay Newton, and Vanessa Mdee)
“Vanessa Mdee happened to be at a Nigeria show Major Lazer did four years ago. We tried to perform, but it was a thunderstorm. We did like 15, 20 minutes before the stage collapsed and everything went wrong. She was there, and man, what a great energy. Beautiful person, great voice. I had no clue how huge she was until I researched. But I'm so glad I met her without that information, because she was genuinely an awesome person.”

“No Laziness” (feat. Ketchup and Bunji Garlin)
“Bunji Garlin is just an amazing lyricist, amazing performer, and great friend. Ketchup, also a great, great, great guy. Bunji just destroyed that track, and it became a big Zumba hit, by the way. Shout out to everyone that worked out and felt good to this song.”

“Show You Off” (feat. Shizzi and WurlD)
“It was actually the song that made me start to look at music that I make differently. Before this song, everything had to be club, club, club. Then this song came along and I was like, 'Yo, there's actually whole other lanes of people that don't really mess with club music.' It's really for when you're driving around the city, or to sit on the porch and vibe.”

”Until The Dawn (Remix)” (feat. Efya and Christopher Martin)
“I don't know if you remember the Major Lazer song ‘Get Free.’ Same kind of energy: the very slow, Gregory Isaacs-y, bass-heavy, moody, emotional reggae. There is something about that style of reggae. I got introduced to Efya; we spoke many times. Christopher Martin and I happened to be in an interview at the same time and I suggested [remixing] it to him. He really did a great job.”

“Bend Down Pause (Remix)” (feat. Runtown, Machel Montano, and Wizkid)
“I really wanted to make sure that ending energy was high, so that when people got to the end, they would just kind of start back over because the energy was high. I got to get them back into this. Let's do it again.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

“I don't want to consume negative music anymore,” DJ/producer Walshy Fire tells Apple Music about the principles driving his debut solo album ABENG. Part of the Major Lazer triumvirate, the Kingston-born artist expresses a certain pride in having avoided the pitfalls of slackness in spearheading his passion project—one that seeks to bridge the dancehall reggae traditions of the Caribbean and the seemingly myriad urban music styles flourishing throughout Africa. Seeing far more similarity than difference across the geographic and musical diaspora, Walshy traveled the globe to unite big-name acts and notable up-and-comers for heretofore unrealized collaborations. “Kenya was really the spark, and when I got there it was just so similar to Jamaica,” he says. “Everybody on this album is a friend.” And when you count the likes of Afrobeats leader Mr Eazi, Trinidadian soca icon Bunji Garlin, and Tanzanian superstar Vanessa Mdee among your friends, as he does, that makes for one incredibly epic soundclash. Here is a track-by-track guide to ABENG, in his own words.

“Call Me” (feat. Mr Eazi and Kranium)
“My partner in Major Lazer, Diplo, he's been working with Mr Eazi for a while. When we went to South Africa, we all hung out together and the chemistry was just amazing. One of the biggest parts of my inspiration is his want to be a part of this. He was doing the song three, four times to make sure it was right, because he knows the importance of this project. That's very rare in my experience with artists. Kranium, same thing.”

“Round of Applause” (feat. Ice Prince and Demarco)
“Ice Prince and Runtown are really the spark to the idea. Literally, he would be hitting me up all day long, all the time, like, 'Yo, you got to do this, man, this is a big important project and people are going to really begin to feel this energy that you're feeling.' Ice Prince was such a major participant—I have to give thanks to him and the great energy.”

“No Negative Vibes” (feat. Alkaline and Runtown)
“A lot of people might not know, but this song is about two or three years old. Even the video was shot two years ago. Alkaline did an amazing verse, one of his best verses ever. Runtown was immediately like, 'This should be a big project, this shouldn't just be a single we drop.' He's a mega-artist, man. That song, it just landed at the right time. ‘No Negative Vibes’ is exactly what the entire project is about—no negative language.”

“Outside” (feat. Adekunle Gold and Nailah Blackman)
“There are several songs that are just for fun, and ‘Outside’ is one of them. He just wants to get back inside the house! That's all, basically, really not that deep. When the vibe came, we just ran with it. Nailah Blackman—I think she is going to be one of the biggest artists to come out of the Caribbean in the coming years. To have her on it, it's just a big, big vibe.”

”Xcellent” (feat. Ice Prince and Masicka)
“Ice Prince, again, was the leader on that track. I knew he could rap, but I didn't think that's what he wanted to do until I heard the song. He just went in. It is important because, even though this is targeted to Africa and the Caribbean regions, I do want to eventually branch this out to North America, the UK, Central and South America, and include Africans from the entire diaspora. I think he did a great job of sparking the idea for those people that are into hip-hop.”

“Amazing” (feat. Stonebwoy and Timeka Marshall)
“I live in the dancehall space and Stonebwoy lives in the dancehall space. It was natural that we connected. When we did, it was just instant, instant, instant chemistry. And Timeka Marshall, she was one of the few people that I didn't meet at first. She was just amazing. I have an event called Rum & Bass, and she surprise-performed, just came out and shut the place down.”

“African Lady” (feat. Ice Prince, Jay Newton, and Vanessa Mdee)
“Vanessa Mdee happened to be at a Nigeria show Major Lazer did four years ago. We tried to perform, but it was a thunderstorm. We did like 15, 20 minutes before the stage collapsed and everything went wrong. She was there, and man, what a great energy. Beautiful person, great voice. I had no clue how huge she was until I researched. But I'm so glad I met her without that information, because she was genuinely an awesome person.”

“No Laziness” (feat. Ketchup and Bunji Garlin)
“Bunji Garlin is just an amazing lyricist, amazing performer, and great friend. Ketchup, also a great, great, great guy. Bunji just destroyed that track, and it became a big Zumba hit, by the way. Shout out to everyone that worked out and felt good to this song.”

“Show You Off” (feat. Shizzi and WurlD)
“It was actually the song that made me start to look at music that I make differently. Before this song, everything had to be club, club, club. Then this song came along and I was like, 'Yo, there's actually whole other lanes of people that don't really mess with club music.' It's really for when you're driving around the city, or to sit on the porch and vibe.”

”Until The Dawn (Remix)” (feat. Efya and Christopher Martin)
“I don't know if you remember the Major Lazer song ‘Get Free.’ Same kind of energy: the very slow, Gregory Isaacs-y, bass-heavy, moody, emotional reggae. There is something about that style of reggae. I got introduced to Efya; we spoke many times. Christopher Martin and I happened to be in an interview at the same time and I suggested [remixing] it to him. He really did a great job.”

“Bend Down Pause (Remix)” (feat. Runtown, Machel Montano, and Wizkid)
“I really wanted to make sure that ending energy was high, so that when people got to the end, they would just kind of start back over because the energy was high. I got to get them back into this. Let's do it again.”

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