Artists You Should Know: AMAKA Redefines Herself With Afro-Futurism Dance Track “Cruisin'”

AMAKA by Obidigbo Nzeribe

AMAKA has released her debut single in the form of “Cruisin'” a sweltering new dance track from the ever-rising Nigerian-born artist. The project of Jessica Nwokike there’s a good chance you’ve heard her music and dulcet vocals as part of the R&B duo VanJess — a project that saw her release two albums alongside her sister Ivana. But now Jessica has entered a new era of musical expression that she’s chosen to herald in spectacular fashion with her newest single.


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In “Cruisin'” she wraps herself in a beat-buoyant celebration designed to keep the spirit elated and the body moving raptly to its rhythm. Mingling a stirring selection of percussion and weightlessly shimmering electronica the track is a resplendent vision of what AMAKA refers to as afro-futurism. So it makes sense that house producer and artist KAYTRANADA helped her mold “Cruisin'” into this sonically ebullient soundscape.

“Just look on the lane in front of me,” she sings on the track. “Don’t be what’s jamming all the traffic.” Radiating nothing but heartwarming vibes the song becomes this anthem for leaving one period of your life behind in order to embark upon the beginning of another. As well as finding someone to share in it with. “The world is up and down enough for me,” AMAKA warns. “Don’t be what’s clouding up the atmosphere.”


But beneath the vivacious currents that flow through “Cruisin'” fueling its driving energy, there’s no small amount of pain. Created as an attempt to move past the loss of someone close to them — a period of deep emotional turmoil — the track served as a way for AMAKA to rally past such a taxing moment. There’s a defiance in “Cruisin'” to find a way to move onward and forward past personal tragedy and strife. Both her openhearted lyricism and the song’s effervescent melody offer a soothing but also enlivening space within which to find rejuvenation.

“Listening to ‘Cruisin” feels like the aural embodiment of afro-futurism and the adrenaline rush of a spaceship takeoff,” says AMAKA. “I wrote Cruisin’ after the death of the most important person in my life and the most physically and mentally challenging experience of my life to remind myself of my strength, my focus, and most importantly that I can keep going, keep cruising, no matter what comes my way. It certainly holds true now more than ever and I hope to inspire others to never give up and never stop dreaming.”

artist to watch in 2023

Visit AMAKA on Twitter and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.

Words: Steven Ward

Listen to “Cruisin'” the new single from AMAKA below!

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