A legend in his own right, the unapologetic rapper Joe O, based out of New Jersey, is helping define a new sound coined as Afro Drill, where he seamlessly blends Afrobeat and African-inspired sounds with New York-style drill. This unique blend is clearly evident in his latest hit, “Magic Sturdy” which has been a global phenomenon with over a million impressions across all media, especially TikTok, where ardent users have been quick to use the music on their profiles. Interestingly, I also discovered this song on TikTok!
This track has prompted headlines with positive reviews from the music press and tremendous stream numbers on popular streaming platforms; for example, the high-quality music video on YouTube already has over 55K views and numerous appreciative comments from listeners who can’t seem to get enough of it.
Despite all this growing buzz, the creative process that led to the creation of this raw and hypnotically compelling masterpiece isn’t overshadowed. Let’s deconstruct it for a minute, shall we?
The intro comes off as familiar to so many of us; especially to those who grew up consuming African Rhumba music from Ivory Coast and Congo. The intro features a sampled zouglou dance track, “Premier gaou” by Ivorian band Magic System that sets the tone for the track.
With the groundwork sufficiently laid, the drill beats are then aligned, and they come crushing in with a bang, followed by Joe O’s first-class lyrical demonstration as he moonwalks over the heavy beat with some thought-provoking bars, intricate wordplay, and stunning cadences.
You’ve got to love the idea behind this production; it’s simply brilliant and very unique. The style feels so new and different in a good way. The dense drum beat with the background vocals is hypnotic, to say the least.
The music video is stupendous and high-end, really fits in with the track’s essence and narrative, and helps elevate the track to newer and higher levels.
Just recently, Joe O set the stage ablaze at the Afrobeat and wine festival that took place at the Bullpen in Washington, DC, delivering a show-stopping and energetic performance that all those who attended are still raving about!
A trailblazer who is helping engineer a new international sound, Joe O deserves the widespread acclaim that he is receiving. He is indeed helping pioneer a new sound that will be his legacy!
In case you haven’t already listened to “Magic Sturdy”, how about you follow the attached link and “Break it down nice and slow”