Playlist: Welcome to My City – Chiedu Oraka

Now in it’s third year Welcome to My City returns in April with another diverse line-up, including China Bowls, Fred Fredas, Chesqua, Vital, and Hull-based hip hop artist Chiedu Oraka, who curates this Friday’s playlist.

The Welcome to My City tour sees five emerging artists visit five cities, with each musician headlining their hometown and tickets to all events are free.

Ahead of the tour Chiedu talks us through some of his favourite tracks and biggest inpirations…

Klashnekoff – Murda
What can I say about this track? In my opinion this is the greatest rap song to have ever come out of the UK. This is Channel U royalty and I’m sure it must have been one of the most watched UK videos back in the height of that Channel.

Klash was so hard, the way he executed the bars on Murda made upper class posh boys want to be East London rude boys. This track was definitely a game changer for UK Hip hop.

Kano – Sometimes
I feel Kano really pours his heart out on this track as you can hear the emotion in his voice whilst taking us through the journey of what was back then his very short music career. There is a sense of vulnerability in this track which makes it special.

As artists we all sometimes feel a sense of self-doubt and it’s a feeling that people on the outside may not always understand. Kano helps us understand that its ok to feel insecure about your talent but to not let that insecurity stop us from stepping up to the plate when we need too. Home Sweet Home is probably one of the first UK albums I bought, so many classics on there.

Lauryn Hill – To Zion
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill for me is arguably one of the best albums to have ever existed. There are so many good tracks on that body of work, but I had to pick one which was so hard. I went with To Zion as hearing this brought back so many good memories. It took me back to my big sister blasting this on repeat from her bedroom and eventually I stole it from her when she moved out to go university, sorry sis.

Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang
This song reminds of my whole under 18 raving phase, begging the DJ to play this song so me and my boy Weege could Crip walk on the dance floor (cringe I know.) This song instantly puts a smile on my face. Reminds me of that era where you used to ask your boy to ask the girl you fancied for a kiss and the feeling of absolute joy when she said yes.

Fabolous Feat Lil Mo – Can’t Let You Go
This was my jam for ages. I first heard this song when I went to America for the second time, I must have been about 13 or 14. It came on the television probably on TRL or something and I instantly became a Fabolous fan.

As a family we went to the mall the next day and I made my mum buy me the Street Dreams album. By the end of the holiday I had bought some Timberlands, a Lakers jersey and a New Era cap. I wanted to be him so bad, I thought he was the coolest guy ever. I thought I was the man when I came back to hull and I showed all my friends this track.

Nasty Crew – Cock Back
This song just takes me back to mobbing house parties every weekend with 30 lads. Things would get very tense and lively sometimes, but we were just young, dumb and having fun. I think I first downloaded cock back on Lime Wire in my mum’s kitchen on the good old dial up internet. Each verse was so hype but me and the boys would always gravitate to the D Double E verse and would always do his famous sound effects.

Swiss – Cry
The high pitch vocal is such a stand out part of this track and the way Swiss rides the beat is so effortless. He talks about issues that affect black communities in London and how black people have been mistreated in society. He has so many powerful lyrics in this song, but these are some of my favorite lines:

“Look what happened to motherland, they don’t want to see blacks the same as another man”

“Just because our skins a different colour and I don’t change colour but they call me a coloured man”

“I don’t even need a chorus this the type of number that I dedicate to Stephen Lawrence”

So powerful man, this song should be in school curriculums that’s how highly I rate it.

Nas – One Love
Nas the greatest, Nas the king, Nas the prophet. His ability to tell this story is insane, some proper painting pictures with words sort of stuff. I have written a few jail letters in my time and feel like it’s always important to uplift the person you’re writing to, and I think that message is demonstrated so clearly in this song. I feel what Nas did in this song is genius he made his reality into great song. The production is first class too so big up Q tip for that he really did capture the mood perfectly.

The Specials – Monkey Man
I love how The Specials turned this horrific phrase into something positive. Racism can leave such a bitter taste in your mouth and make you turn very nasty towards your oppressors. These lads go and use a term given to them by bouncers and turn it into a smash record. There is nothing more powerful than turning negativity into a sense of empowerment and I think the specials did this with Monkey Man …marvelous

UB40 – Falling in Love with You
What a tune, all I think of when I listen to this song is my mum throwing the biggest parties that went on till the early hours of the morning. Loads of food, loads of games and loads of booze. All the kids playing in the back garden and all the adults dancing in the living room. The street just packed full of cars and the annoying neighbors complaining about the noise. Such a diverse environment and so much unity shown. Big up the mother for throwing the sickest parties.

Full dates & ticket links:
14 April Fred Fredas – Underbelly (Hoxton), London
15 April China Bowls – The Louisiana, Bristol
16 April Chesqua – Jimmy’s, Manchester
17 April Vital – The Flapper, Birmingham
18 April Chiedu Orka – The New Adelphi Club, Hull