Today’s Kwanzaa: Calid B.’s Newest Afrobanger Celebrates Umoja as a Lifestyle
Interview between Lauren Ash and Producer/Emcee Calid B.
Now that it’s officially wintertime in Chicago, Chicago-based, Columbus Ohio-born Calid B. has been silently creating the sophomore album to his well received Afrobang EP. He’s offering us teasers along the way, to satiate our desire for more creatively produced, thoughtfully written songs that speak to the African diaspora in a smart, yet twerk-worthy way. I wanted to explore what’s currently on Calid.’s mind as he usher’s into Kwanzaa 2016 and as he debuts his newest single: Umoja. With lyrics like “we no see no title” and “I got the keys like Tubman” he’s making a statement that more of us should be embracing as we head into what will surely be quite an interesting year for black people around the world.
Lauren Ash: Your newest song celebrates one of the Kwanzaa principles. For those of us new to the celebration, what does Umoja mean?
Calid B.: Yes, Umoja is the first principle of Kwanzaa and it means unity. It’s all about bringing together the African diaspora.
Lauren Ash: Afrobang is more than just a genre, for you. Speaking with you earlier this year, writer Britt Julious has suggested that “Afrobang is not just a musical project, but a moment for people to come together.” For you, what does it represent beyond the music?
Calid B.: Well beyond the sound, AfroBang is a movement to connect black people across the African diaspora through the creative arts. Our mission actually carries the spirit of Umoja, and we want our music, events, or whatever projects we’re working on to celebrate our heritage of black people in a refreshing way.
Lauren Ash: What significance does Kwanzaa hold in your life? How did you learn to celebrate it growing up?
Calid B.: Kwanzaa is very significant to me because that’s what I was raised on. My mom made sure we attended the community Kwanzaa celebrations every year in Columbus, OH and put me in African drum and dance classes so I was immersed in the African arts as a youngin. It was dope to attend community Kwanzaa and celebrate with the other kids who were also raised on the principles, because having commonalities to share as a kid is a major key in character development.
Lauren Ash: You’re situated in Chicago—a place that has some heavy hitters and rightfully so. From chance, to Jamila Woods; Noname Gypsy to Saba, how and where do you see yourself fitting in?
Calid B.: It’s a great time to be an artist in Chicago. There’s so many talented artists doing big things, and it’s very inspiring because it shows the possibilities and how far your music can go coming out of Chicago. There’s a spotlight on the city right now and everybody is stepping up showcasing their best work, and I plan on adding to the pot.
Lauren Ash: How will you be celebrating Kwanzaa this year?
Calid B.: That’s the cool thing about Kwanzaa is that you can celebrate it your own personal way. This year I’ll be celebrating in Minneapolis and Columbus, and I’ll write down goals for how I can live out each principle in the upcoming year.
Lauren Ash: What’s on the horizon for Afrobang? And can we expect another dope video?
Calid B.: Ya ya! We’re wrapping up the video for “AfroBang Premiere” (from my Afrobang EP) as we speak, so that will dropping very very soon. I can’t wait! Also, I’ve been producing tracks for other artists and looking to collaborate for AfroBang Vol. 2. We’re also looking to expand our Make Africa Great Again merch and drive more donations to Ashesi University in Ghana.
Lauren Ash: If i want to gift a homie of mine one of your dope Make Africa Great Again hats, where may I cop one? I really appreciated how you conceive of the idea behind that phrase, too.
Calid B. We have them available at www.afrobang.com.
More about Calid B.: Calid B. is a Chicago based producer/emcee that is pioneering his own sound in which he describes as Afrobang. After making his mark in the industry as a manager for BrandUn DeShay, and an ad man at some of the world’s top ad agencies, this time around Calid is ready to share his musical talents in more of a lead role.
Afrobang is inspired by his upbringing which is firmly rooted in what it means to be a black man in America today, but also reaches back to his father’s Cote D’Ivoirian origins. The energy behind Afrobang fuses together contemporary hip hop production elements like trap drums, synths, and 808s with the tribal percussions and chants from west Africa. However, Afrobang is more than music – it is a necessary culture and a community that Calid plans on cultivating.
Afrobang Vol. 3000 is the first EP of a series that Calid B. plans to release. It includes features from Chicago stand outs Sam Trump, Adad, and Cori Munro, in addition to a rap debut from the Party Noire collective.
More about Lauren Ash: Lauren Ash is a Chicago-based writer who explores wellness, culture, and blackness. Her work has been published in AFROPUNK, Design*Sponge, and she has been featured for the work that she cultivates with Black Girl In Om and Party Noire in ELLE, Teen Vogue, Bitch Media, The Cut, and more! Find her on Instagram and Twitter.
Umoja means unity in Swahili and is the first principle of Kwanzaa. Thanks for listening! Give me a follow and stay tuned for future releases. Ya ya! www.afrobang.com