When two different artist communities come together, the end result is a refreshing discovery of new music for the fans. Such was the case last year when multiplatinum-selling artist 6LACK and Nigerian Afro-fusion star Omah Lay teamed up for the latter’s “Damn,” which currently has over 9 million streams on Spotify. Though the two artists collaborated on the track in 2020, they had never actually met, until now. During a discussion via Zoom for XXL, in which 6lack connects with Omah Lay on the success of the Afro-music scene, working together and the popularity of Spotify’s African Heat playlist, the two artists’ support for each other is apparent.

“We have a song together that you allowed me to take part of, thank you for that,” 6LACK tells Omah Lay at the start of the conversation.

“Well, man, glad talking to you, man,” Omah Lay expresses. “I mean, it’s amazing. Never had time to, I didn’t know how it was gonna feel like talking to you for the first time, but it’s amazing, man. It’s natural.”

6LACK, 28, has been one of hip-hop and R&B’s most celebrated artists for his ability to glide from singing to rapping seamlessly throughout his more than a decade-long career. From his 2016 debut album, Free 6lack, to his 6pc Hot EP, released last year, the Atlanta-bred LVRN/Interscope Records artist continues to elevate with each release.

Born Stanley Omah Didia, Omah Lay has become one of the rising stars of the afrobeats scene with his two EPs, Get Layd and What Have We Done, both released in 2020. In addition to “Damn,” “Godly” and “Bad Influence,” the latter of which he self-produced, showcase his spirited, soothing melodies and gift for colorful storytelling.

Linking up for a remix to “Damn” has helped introduce each of their respective fan bases to one another. “I think that it’s always been super important for us to figure out ways to bridge our communities and to bridge our music and to figure out ways to amplify each other’s voice,” 6LACK affirms. “I know that people have looked at American music at the forefront for so long, but for me, it’s like I get to be invited into your world. And I get to have my voice carried over into a new place when you allow me into your space and vice versa. It’s like we get to share communities.”

As their talk gets underway, Omah Lay says he feels “blessed to be part of the movement” in the African music space. The 24-year-old singer earned further success as a new artist last year when he popped out with an EP and more new singles during the pandemic. He also reveals how artists like 6LACK, Drake and Post Malone inspire him. “Honestly, I listen to you [6lack] for a long time, man,” Omah Lay shares with 6LACK. “I listen to you for a long time, bro. For a long time. And I also listened to Drake, listen to Post Malone a lot. And I listen to WizKid, Burna Boy… You guys actually like are a part of the reason why I’m here. If it wasn’t for the time I listen to your songs I don’t know if I would’ve ever been Omah Lay, so.”

“I appreciate that, man,” 6LACK says. “That’s beautiful, man. And just know it’s always mutual, bro. The thing that you do with melody and with words and with sounds is special to you.”

Those sounds can be heard on Spotify’s African Heat playlist. Known for “the tracks heating up the continent right now,” Omah Lay is a staple artist. At times, he’s had up to four tracks on the playlist. Recently, his collaborations with Gyakie on the “Forever (Remix)” and “Pronto” with Ajebo Hustlers have been highlighted. His impact is clear. “Man, I don’t even know how to describe the feeling. But it’s huge man, it’s huge. And coming from where I came from, and starting at the time, calculating from the time I started making music, and seeing all of these, man, I can’t even express how much… man, I don’t have no words to describe the feeling.”

“’Cause one is dope,” 6LACK conveys. “Two is cool, three is crazy. If you got about four on there, you on the run.”

“It’s crazy, man,” Omah Lay adds. “I really appreciate it. I appreciate the support.”

6LACK also appears on the African Heat playlist on Spinall’s “Sere (Remix),” which also features Fireboy DML.

Watch 6LACK and Omah Lay discuss the rise of Afro-fusion, working on their joint track “Damn” and bridging their communities in the interview below.

This editorial advertisement is presented by Spotify’s African Heat playlist.

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