It was around 2010 that the UK’s Afrobeats scene started to make real strides towards mainstream recognition. Songs like Nigerian rapper Panshak “Ice Prince” Zamani’s ‘Oleku’, released as the lead track for his 2011 debut studio album, ‘Everybody Loves Ice Prince’, formed the cornerstone of

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that movement.

(There’s a rather awesome pared down version of ‘Oleku’ at Maida Vale recorded by Ice Prince as part of BBC 1Xtra’s Afrobeats special session knocking about on Youtube)

So huge was that song that were it 2010 now, the MOBO award for which he is nominated in the Best African Act category this year would probably be his for the taking.

But the smart money is either on Naija pop teen heartthrob Wizkid whose hits year on year are a dime a dozen or on former UK chart-topper, Ghanaian Fuse ODG.

Not that Ice Prince has had a bad year at all. ‘Agboke’, his follow up hit single, is decent.

He walked away the winner in the BET awards category for Best International: Africa on being nominated a second time.

Ice Prince trades rhymes with Bad Boy Entertainment/May Mach Music recording artist French Montana in the video for ‘I Swear’. It’s obviously a play for the international co-sign released shrewdly in the run up to the MOBOs. But it will be far more interesting to see what gains the song makes beyond the prize-giving ceremony.

Ice Prince’s album Fire of Zamani is out October 21st.


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