Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
A month ago, after releasing his love-struck, half-sung/half-rapped track “Naturale,” Ras Nebyu promised a video for “Iyah-Tate” that was taped during his three-week sojourn to the Ivory Coast, where he opened a concert for Nigerian rap superstar Wizkid. The guitar-led, breaks-driven meditative song is produced by Ibrahim Keita, who also has credits as the video’s director and editor. The multi-talented Keita is a D.C. native who has relocated to Ivory Coast, becoming a go-to producer for the ascendant Nebyu.
The video features a series of candid shots of Nebyu—clad in everything from his signature “Washington Slizzards” crewneck to a Trillectro t-shirt and throwback Gilbert Arenas Washington Wizards jersey—playing soccer on the beach, relaxing in a village, riding a horse, and a plethora of other activities. With a hook that says “Let’s fly away, and iyah-tate/ To a higher place/ And give your mind a break,” the vibe here matches Nebyu’s career progression of late that’s seen the one-time “Futuristic Black Man” tone down the fervor of his Afro-centric lyricism and embrace a more pop-appealing —yet still conscious—take on emceeing.
If you’re looking to catch Nebyu perform in D.C. soon, he headlines the “Holy Slizzatrizm 2015” event alongside New Jersey-based rapper Dougie F, Haile Supreme, and DJs including K-Meta and Mista Selecta at U Street Music Hall on Sunday, Dec. 27.