Intro­du­cing a dynam­ic and cul­tur­ally enrich­ing World Sol­diers, the cre­at­ive force behind the sen­sa­tion­al track “OBI, Sol­dier of Niger­ia.” In this cap­tiv­at­ing con­ver­sa­tion, the vis­ion­ar­ies share their inspir­a­tion for the anthem, draw­ing from Lon­don’s mul­ti­cul­tur­al tapestry and their Nigeri­an friends’ her­it­age. They reveal how the song’s vibrant Afrobeat rhythm pays homage to Fela Kuti and the nation’s rich music­al leg­acy. Through an excit­ing col­lab­or­a­tion with Nigeri­an All­star artists and renowned pro­du­cer Lekaa Beats, the cre­at­ors seam­lessly blend tal­ent and cul­ture to craft a song that res­on­ates deeply. The music video’s high-energy, GTA-style concept comes to life as the inter­view delves into its metic­u­lous exe­cu­tion. As the minds behind the revolu­tion­ary “World Sol­diers” concept, the inter­view uncov­ers the inter­con­nec­ted­ness of music, gam­ing, and rep­res­ent­a­tion. Each “World Sol­dier” char­ac­ter becomes a token of cul­tur­al cel­eb­ra­tion, bridging gaps and fos­ter­ing appre­ci­ation. Their auda­ciously cre­at­ive approach to pro­duc­tion shines through as the inter­view nav­ig­ates their col­lab­or­at­ive pro­cess with artists of diverse back­grounds. Ulti­mately, this inter­view unveils how World Sol­diers’ music, visu­als, and mer­chand­ise unite in a power­ful mis­sion to cel­eb­rate diversity and spark mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions across the globe.

“OBI, Sol­dier of Niger­ia” is the latest addi­tion to your inter­na­tion­al series of hits ded­ic­ated to dif­fer­ent nation­al­it­ies. Can you tell us more about the inspir­a­tion behind this track and how it rep­res­ents Nigeri­an cul­ture?
Grow­ing up in an extremely mul­ti­cul­tur­al part of Lon­don, a lot of my close friends were of Nigeri­an des­cent and I learnt a lot about the cul­ture. I felt it was a her­it­age that needed to be cel­eb­rated in a main­stream way, and there­fore worked closely with a group of Nigeri­an friends to design OBI – The Nigeri­an World Sol­dier. In our brain­storm, the name Fela Kuti came up a lot as a strong lead­er and is regarded as the pion­eer of Afrobeats, so ele­ments such as the instru­ment, pose and fea­tures were heav­ily inspired by him. The weapon he adorns is a tra­di­tion­al Nigeri­an ‘Hausa’ sword, and he has a tat­too on his chest which reads ‘Nigeri­an Pride’ – one which I have seen in real life at Afric­an fest­ivals. His back­ground story, nar­rated at the begin­ning of the music video, was also scrip­ted through what the focus group felt was needed at a time of tur­bu­lence in such a beau­ti­ful coun­try. The name OBI also means ‘heart’, which we felt was appro­pri­ate to cap­ture the essence of his char­ac­ter. This song is a theme track to bring OBI’s story to life, but mostly to shine a light on the nation in the West­ern world and cel­eb­rate the coun­try.

The col­lab­or­a­tion on “OBI” involved sev­er­al Nigeri­an All­star artists and was pro­duced by Afrobeats super­star pro­du­cer Lekaa Beats. How did you come togeth­er with these tal­en­ted indi­vidu­als to cre­ate such a vibrant and cul­tur­ally rich song?
I move in a lot of the same social circles as these artists and met Sneakbo at an event. He was lit­er­ally on my vis­ion board for this song and I’ve been a fan of his music for years, so I explained the concept of our music and for the song I had in mind. As a proud Brit­ish Nigeri­an, he was up for mak­ing the track togeth­er. He has worked with the pro­du­cer Lekaa Beats on some huge hits such as ‘Love is A Gamble’ also fea­tur­ing Kida Kudz and ‘Nah’ fea­tur­ing Not3s, and with Lekaa being of Nigeri­an des­cent too, it made sense to have him pro­duce the song. I wanted to make this a ‘Nigeri­an All-stars’ track, and had also been a fan of Big Tobz and Wavy Boy Smith’s music, who are also of proud Nigeri­an des­cent so reached out to them and they also blessed the track with some incred­ible fea­ture verses.

The music video for “OBI” has a high-energy, cine­mat­ic GTA-style concept. How did you con­cep­tu­al­ize and execute the visu­al rep­res­ent­a­tion of the song’s nar­rat­ive?
From the incep­tion of our move­ment, a lot of celebrit­ies sup­por­ted us because they liked both the concept of cel­eb­rat­ing diversity, and the aes­thet­ic of our brand­ing. Many of them said we should turn World Sol­diers into a video game, com­ic book series or even a movie. As we nat­ur­ally merge the worlds of music and gam­ing in our eth­os, we decided to cre­ate this music video in one of the most pop­u­lar gam­ing styles on the plan­et – Grand Theft Auto. We mod­elled the 3 rap­pers in 3D to gami­fy them into the GTA world, and then cre­ated dif­fer­ent set­tings led by each artists verse. Sneakbo talks about the Afric­an struggle grow­ing up in the vil­lages, so his scene it was set in that kind of envir­on­ment. Big Tobz’ verse refers to hood life and being tar­geted by police, so his scenes were set in the hood with a high speed police chase. Wavy Boy Smith talks about that stunt­ing life on boats and planes, hence that kind of visu­al rep­res­ent­a­tion.

World Sol­diers merges the worlds of gam­ing and music in a unique way. Could you elab­or­ate on the con­nec­tion between your vir­tu­al “World Sol­dier” char­ac­ters and the music you cre­ate?
The ‘World Sol­dier’ char­ac­ters for each nation are inspired by brands such as Street­fight­er, X‑Men, and Mar­vel but mostly a token fig­ure­head to give us a some way of cel­eb­rat­ing each nation. Whilst the music we make in name are essen­tially theme tracks for these ‘World Sol­diers’ – the deep­er mes­sage of our music is to cel­eb­rate and shine a night on each nation in a way no oth­er main­stream enter­tain­ment plat­form is doing.

Each of your “World Sol­dier” char­ac­ters rep­res­ents a spe­cif­ic coun­try and its cul­tur­al ele­ments. How do you ensure that these char­ac­ters and their accom­pa­ny­ing tracks authen­tic­ally cap­ture the essence of each nation?
In design­ing the char­ac­ters, we work with a focus group of people from each coun­try to insight­fully incor­por­ate ele­ments of that coun­try into the design. For the music, the artists we work with will ori­gin­ally be from the coun­try we are cre­at­ing a song for — For example, our Ira­ni­an World Sol­dier theme track ‘Shah­in’ was vocalled by Mic Right­eous, who’s fam­ily have roots in Iran.

Every artist we work with is able to, and act­ively encour­aged to cre­at­ively express what that nation means to them and their exper­i­ences of hail­ing from that coun­try, whilst also bring­ing the World Soldier’s back­ground to life. We also ask them to edu­cate our listen­ers on insight­ful facts or any proud her­it­age that you and I may not be aware of regard­ing the coun­try. The beat will also include a subtle sample of music asso­ci­ated from that coun­try too.

“OBI, Sol­dier of Niger­ia” is described as an Afrobeat anthem for the end of sum­mer. How do you approach incor­por­at­ing spe­cif­ic music­al genres to cre­ate a cohes­ive and cel­eb­rat­ory sound for each nation­al­ity you fea­ture?
We will look at the whole music scene in gen­er­al and short­l­ist who we think is most appro­pri­ate to rep­res­ent the music­al genre and nation we want to rep­res­ent – Both in terms of pro­du­cers and vocal artists. We give them a brief in terms of what we’d broadly want the themes to be – And then we leave them to their art. You have to impli­citly trust their expert­ise, as there’s a reas­on they have got to the stage they’re at. We respect this, and that is essen­tially how the magic hap­pens.

The World Sol­diers concept cel­eb­rates eth­nic diversity in mul­ti­cul­tur­al cit­ies. How do you hope your music and art con­trib­ute to a bet­ter under­stand­ing and appre­ci­ation of dif­fer­ent cul­tures?
Our aim is to cel­eb­rate diversity and accept­ance of each oth­ers dif­fer­ences. We hope our music and art will con­nect people of dif­fer­ent races, faiths and nation­al­it­ies, who can come togeth­er under one safe ban­ner to appre­ci­ate each other’s sound, cul­ture, his­tory and art.

Your group’s aes­thet­ics are inspired by icon­ic styles like The Gor­illaz and Street­fight­er. How do these influ­ences come through in your music and visu­al present­a­tions?
Our char­ac­ters are inspired by Street­fight­er, Mor­tal Kom­bat, X‑Men and so forth, and this is visu­ally depic­ted in our World Sol­diers char­ac­ters. Gor­illaz has gone lit­er­ally stra­to­spher­ic in the ‘vir­tu­al car­toon band’ genre and has inspired our music videos (albeit in a dif­fer­ent style) such as AARON (the Eng­lish World Sol­dier) ft. Harry Shotta and Little Dee, SHAH­IN (the Ira­ni­an World Sol­dier) ft. Mic Right­eous, and now OBI, Sol­dier of Niger­ia.

Your approach to music pro­duc­tion has been described as auda­ciously cre­at­ive. Could you share some insights into your cre­at­ive pro­cess when craft­ing these theme tracks with artists from vari­ous back­grounds?
We will always be at the cut­ting edge of enter­tain­ment, push­ing bound­ar­ies both visu­ally and music­ally. We have dabbled with car­toon music videos, now GTA style music videos, and I lit­er­ally can­not wait for you to see what we have in store next!

In addi­tion to your music, you also have a Lim­ited Edi­tion range of mer­chand­ise ded­ic­ated to dif­fer­ent nation­al­it­ies. How does this mer­chand­ise tie into your mis­sion and vis­ion as World Sol­diers?
Yes, this range is now avail­able on ASOS here. This mer­chand­ise provides a way for people of vari­ous nation­al­it­ies to ‘buy into’ their nation, in a way no oth­er main­stream brand is doing aside from the gen­er­ic foot­ball shirt. The T‑shirts proudly place the flag of the nation on the sleeve, and the prot­ag­on­ist World Sol­dier on the front. People have been buy­ing this to wear to on days where their nation­al sports team is play­ing, at car­ni­vals, fest­ivals or gen­er­ally as a fash­ion item. Some people are even buy­ing oth­er nations World Sol­diers T‑shirts because they love the design or just respect that coun­try, which we abso­lutely love!



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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.