by the partae


Blinky Bill has the undeniable swagger of an artist with the world in his sights

**** MOJO
Will make you want to get down the moment you press play Earmilk
A hard-hitting, inventive and sublime body of work Okay Africa
An adventurous set of hip hop and R&B blended with various electronic and African styles KEXP

Kenyan talent Blinky Bill has released the video for ‘Don’t Worry’, the latest single lifted from the Kenyan producer & rapper’s debut album ‘Everyone’s Just Winging It And Other Fly Tales’ (out now via The Garden), which also features collaborations with Sampa The Great and Petite Noir. Arriving close on the tail of a sold-out London show alongside Dope Saint Jude, ‘Don’t Worry’ follows 6Music & Radio 1Xtra supported lead single ‘Showdown’, which also charted #1on iTunes Africa. Watch ‘Don’t Worry’ here.

The new clip for ‘Don’t Worry’ – whose title rubs up against its claustrophobic trap beats (drawing influence from Missy Elliott & Busta Rhymes’ African-referencing style) – was filmed at Detroit’s distinctive Heidelberg Project, an outdoor art installation created to support the surrounding area’s community. Blinky – aka Nairobi native Bill Ochieng Sellanga – came across the project on Heidelberg Street whilst in Detroit to deliver a talk on Afrofuturism with director Andrew Mageto. Says Bill; “The song is called Don’t Worry and I feel like the vibe we created with the visuals is in tune with the spirit of the song, which is just about staying in your lane and minding your business. I like that it takes a song that is serious and aggressive and makes it a little more fun.”

Blinky Bill – a childhood cartoon nickname that wouldn’t budge – originally made a name for himself in electro-funk outfit Just A Band. Formed in-between studies at the University Of Kenyatta (which Bill originally entered with a sports major), the self-effacingly named band’s debut album ‘Scratch To Reveal’ arrived atop a strong electro house sound, spiked with the owned-up spirit of touchstones including Gorillaz and Daft Punk. 2009’s follow-up album ’82’ took off via viral single releases ‘Huff + Puff’ and ‘Ha-He’, the latter of which arrived with a blaxploitation-referencing music video which became Kenya’s first viral internet meme.

Bill’s pursuit of a solo career was solidified by a formative collaboration with AIDS charity Red Hot Organisation, for which Just A Band hooked-up with both Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino for contributions to the charity’s ‘Red Hot + Fela’ album (which also featured the likes of ?uestlove, Tune-Yards and Tony Allen). Writing & recording as Blinky Bill was soon interspersed with stints in partnership with both TED – who selected him as a 2014 Fellow – and Red Bull Music Academy, whose alumni also include Hudson Mohawke and Flying Lotus.

‘Everyone’s Just Winging It….’ thrums not just with Blinky’s latest enriching collaborations, but the sights & sounds of a childhood spent surrounded by the cultural push/push of Kenyan’s post-colonial capital city. Whilst teenage years were spent with a nose firmly stuck in books, Bill remained equally tuned into the disparate soundtracks of both his Mum’s religious chants & the vintage Congolese records of his Dad’s collection, as the output of cult African label Ogopa Deejays (alongside revelatory Western touchstones including Chic and 2Pac) and the clubbing ambiance of Nairobi’s cult ‘Matatu’ minibuses, which criss cross the city to a throbbing soundtrack of Kenya’s up-and-coming artists.

Whilst its title might speak to an on-the-fly approach, ‘Everyone’s Just Winging It…’ draws together a collection of 12 precision-produced tracks, as diversified & resistant to categorisation as the bubbling Nairobi music scene which feeds into it. Blinky Bill may well – like everyone – be just winging it. Though on the basis of a self-produced debut this bold & boisterous, you suspect it’s a little more than just chance that has brought him to this point. |

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