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Afrobeats Star, Bella Shmurda Understands Why He is the New Voice of the Street

Honoring his African roots from musical composition to branding to style, with his music at sold-out tours across Africa, Europe, and the United States while facing the highs and lows of a recording artist.


Oct. 25 2023, Published 2:04 p.m. ET

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When an artist decides to be independent in the music industry, they usually weigh all options to see if this is the best move. There are many to consider when you’re an independent artist, such as costs, distribution, or music direction. But it has been a rewarding and incredible journey for award-winning Nigerian musician, singer, and songwriter Bella Shmurda.

In less than 12 months, Shmurda garnered over 250 million streams for his debut album, Hypertension, and featured hit singles, “New Born Fela,” “Contraband,” and “Philo.” He also received 70 million streams for his new EP, “DND.” The numbers indicate his love for music is presented on his records, and he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.

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“DND,” also known as Do Not Disturb, is an EP that presented his plausible approach about not being disturbed in 2023 and not taking his attention away from making groundbreaking music. It was important for Shmburda to “do him” without any disturbances. The recording process differed from his album, Hypertension because he was eager to give listeners a new Shmurda without compromise and was ready to complete the trilogy of the tensions.

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“Hypertension lol….I think that’s the last of the tensions. I actually just decided to finish up the tension sequence, from the first EP, “High Tensions,” to the second EP, “High Tension 2.0,” and based on these two, I decided on Hypertension” for the album,” said Shmurda.

Shmurda and rapper Lil Kesh collaborated on the title track after Kesh sent him the song. Kesh asked Shmurda if he could put a verse and chorus on the record. Shmurda listened to the music, and his words were, “Broski! I think I like this song personally.” The two artists signed off on the record and dropped “DND.”

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“Rewardbeatz crafted the instrumental and recorded a demo in the studio with Lil Kesh. Kesh then sent the draft to me to check it out and see if I liked the track,” said Shmurda.” I listened to it and immediately started recording what I was feeling at the moment, and that’s how “DND” was born. The song perfectly captures my current headspace, where I don’t want to be disturbed while I do things my way.”

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But music has always been a part of Shmurda’s life since he was in grammar school. Shmurda launched his moniker by coining out his government name, Abiola, and added Shmurda because he was a huge fan of Bobby Shmurda.

His love for music blossomed in his adolescent years, and although Shmurda’s mother had other plans in the works for him, he was determined to explore the endless possibilities for music. Shmurda didn’t have a problem honoring his African roots from musical composition to branding to style and will gladly declare that he is African. However, it was Lagos State University that helped him develop his sound.

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“LASU (Lagos State University) did everything that my African roots did for me to have a professional career in music. My time in LASU and my African roots go hand in hand in creating the Bella Shmurda you see today,” said Shmurda.

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Shmurda’s fingers remain crossed about his upcoming endeavors, but he knows he is just getting started in the music business. Shmurda is three years in, but he’s received various accolades, including Global Music Awards Africa recipient, Headies Award nominee, second most streamed African artist on Audiomack, and is notable on multiple media outlets: CNN, Variety, MTV, and the BBC.

He states that he will continue to impact a sizable number of people with his music at sold-out tours across Africa, Europe, and the United States while facing the highs and lows of a recording artist.

“There have been so many highs and lows. I can’t even point to one in particular…. But I’m grateful for what’s coming! More highs and few lows,” said Shmurda.

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