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!
OBI, SOLDIER OF NIGERIA IS OUT NOW
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