If you haven’t heard of DJ Cuppy, keep that to yourself. This Nigerian international sensation and former intern at Jay Z’s Roc Nation imprint is the DJ, producer, philanthropist and Apple Music Radio host you should know about. Cuppy has quickly risen through the ranks to become a supreme lead role as a global pan-African tastemaker. With her loveable personality and undeniable hard work ethic she’s embarked on a number of projects, including her Cuppy Takes Africa Tour which was filmed and a documentary series of the same name aired on Fox Life. Most recently, she collaborated with Zlatan on ‘Gelato’ and was called in for remix duty on Megan The Stallion’s ‘Fkn Around’.
has just dropped her hit single, “Jollof on a jet” – the lead single off of her debut album ‘Original Copy’, due for release in late August. Way more talented than the neo-afrobeat sound she delivers so well, here are 5 facts about her.
1. She has an international masters degree: DJ Cuppy graduated with a degree in business and economics from King’s College London in 2014. By then she was already well established as a DJ and was selected as a DJ at the MTV Africa Music Awards.
That was followed by her first compilation, The House of Cuppy, where she produced EDM-esque remixes of songs by leading afropop artists. Soon came The House of Cuppy II, which took on a more afro-house slant. Endearing her pan-African brand to the continent beyond Nigeria, Cuppy went on the Cuppy Takes Africa Tour a year later. The tour was filmed and a documentary series of the same name aired on Fox Africa.
She didn’t stop there however, and kept hitting the books with as much enthusiasm as the decks earning a Music Business Masters Degree from New York University while interning.
2. She’s been DJing since she was a teenager: She moved to London at 13 for schooling and took with her an iPod filled with Nigerian music so she could always keep a part of home. During school holidays in Lagos, the then-16-year-old found herself at a club when the resident DJ was stuck in the kind of traffic the city is notorious for. The panicked club owner asked who could play while they waited for the DJ and Cuppy volunteered. The rest is written in the annals of music.
3. “Original Copy” is her debut album According to DJ Cuppy, she wanted to create her own brand that stood apart from Florence, her birth name. “The idea is that my brand is a contradiction – there is no original copy of anything… But I am an original copy of myself.”
While DJ Cuppy has produced and released other compilations (including The ‘House of Cuppy’ and ‘The House of Cuppy II’), she views ‘Original Copy’ as her debut musical album.
“I honestly haven’t had the courage to put out any music since my last single ‘Gelato’ in 2019, which was preceded by four other singles, including my debut being ‘Green Light’ featuring Tekno in 2017. I’ve experimented, this album is literally going back to the basics. So it has been a long time coming,” she said.
One of the most exciting artists to emerge from the flourishing Afrobeats scene in recent years,”Original Copy” is poised to propel Cuppyto the A-leagues.
The full tracklist includes:
- Epe ft Efya
- Jollof on the Jet ft Rema & Ray Vanny
- Wale ft Wyclef
- Feel Good ft. Fireboy
- Cold Heart Killer ft Darkoo
- Original Copy *Interlude*
- Karma ft Stonebwoy
- Litty Lit ft Teni
- 54 ft Sir Shina Peters & Julian Marley
- Guilty Pleasure ft Nonso Amadi
- P.O.Y. ft Ycee & Ms Banks
- Labalaba ft Seyi Shay
The album, which is out on 21 August, sees Cuppy take the vocal reigns on themes that range from independence to love lost and African pride, over a pop-meets-afrobeats sonic bed that she calls: “neo-afrobeats”.
In that vein, ‘Jollof on the Jet’ symbolises the duality between being a jet-setting international artist and her African roots.
The official music video for her latest single ‘Jollof On The Jet’, recently dropped and has already racked up just under 540 000 views. The psychedelic video – brought to life by renowned visual artist and director Jimmy Turrel – places Cuppy centre stage amidst trippy visuals, vibrant colour schemes and fellow ‘Jollof On The Jet’ contributors Rema and Rayvanny – a perfect visual accompaniment to the track’s bright, sunkissed vibes.
“For the Jollof on the Jet video, my label Platoon loved the song and were adamant on creating a visual that stimulated and inspired people to get in this world and have an imaginative experience.” Cuppy explains. “Jollof on the Jet is a song that is a breath of fresh air and also picks on you know the pride of Africa through our food and through our music and I couldn’t be more proud of this video.”
She continues: “With teamwork, myself, Rema and RAYVANNY managed to make the video happen during the pandemic without even being in the same country – it turned out really well and is definitely a colorful journey with a lot of spice!”
The single has been a huge success with a Top 5 on the Triller Billboard in less than a month of release and charted in over 15 countries.
4. She recently signed with platoon
Original Copy will be released under her independent record label ‘Red Velvet Music Group Limited’ via Platoon in 2020. The 27-year-old announced the new deal on her social media channels in early July. “A new chapter with sweet music. Cuppy is now a @WeArePlatoon artist!” she wrote on Instagram. Platoon, which was acquired by Apple in 2018, works with artists to produce, distribute and sell their work. The deal came only a few months after DJ Cuppy started hosting ‘Africa Now’ Apple Music’s first radio show dedicated solely to African music.
5. She is passionate about making a difference
DJ Cuppy has the welfare of young people close to her heart. She is the Global Citizen Education Ambassador through which she works to fight for the millions of girls around the world that are currently not in school. She also started The Cuppy Foundation in 2018. The Foundation’s Cuppy Gold Gala raised $17 million to help displaced children across Nigeria.