Meet Trisyo and Supa Massie From The Afroseas, Asia's First Afrobeats Group
October 26, 2022
Arnold “Trisyo” Tresor and Supa “Massie” did not start their professional music career in traditional fashion when the pair from Rwanda and Siera Leonne respectively landed in Hong Kong in the late 2010s.
Rappers and producers Trisyo and Supa formed The Afroseas in 2019 when free time away from studying and work brought the pair closer in their love for Afrobeats, a rhythmic West-African genre of dance hall music.
Now manning Hong Kong’s — and arguably Asia’s — first and largest Afrobeats group, the pair have grand plans for sharing love for the infectious African-born dance genre. After teaming up with Hong Kong-Filipino rapper Jiggie Boy for a single in summer 2022, the journey of The Afroseas and Afrobeats in Hong Kong has already taken off.
“We are the only people doing this in Asia,” Trisyo told The Beat Asia in an interview. “We are trying to represent and make our country proud.”
“We want to be the pioneers for Afrobeats in Asia,” Supa said.
Originally from Rwanda, Trisyo arrived in Hong Kong in the mid-2010s after following his family to the city. Studying anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the East-African had a passion for music and dance while studying in the New Territories.
A professor who taught Trisyo sought to bring this passion to reality, helping the then-student form Talents Displaced, an ethnic-minority dance and singer group of refugees, asylum seekers, and allies in later 2016. With a team of Togolese, Cameroonian, Kenyan, and Columbian nationals, Trisyo first preached his love for Afrobeats and African dance music.
At the same time, Supa journeyed to Hong Kong to work with his uncle in the gold and diamond business. In 2019, the two met at a music studio in Jordan, when both were active in producing and writing songs independently for friends back in Africa and solo.
“I was working on writing songs,” Trisyo recalled from their early 2019 meeting, “and Massie was getting some plugins for his computer. He noticed I was writing and wanted to help finish a chorus.”
At the time, Massie was working on producing “Ayee,” the pair’s eventual first song produced within The Afroseas, topping charts in Sierra Leonne and West African TikTok. “Ayee is a feeling,” the pair said. “When you see someone you feel like you can vibe with, you go ‘Ayee’ with them. Ayee is a party move designed to be simple, and everyone can do it. Whenever the song comes on, everyone goes Ayee.”
“We [released] the song and people were like, man, you guys have strong chemistry, you should stick together as a group.”
In early 2020, the pair formalised their musical companionship with naming the group The Afroseas, a nod to “African living overseas, Africans for Afrobeats, bringing African culture and music overseas to Hong Kong and Asia.”
When the pair released the music video and single in July 2020, shooting on a remote island in Sai Kung with a backup group of twerking and rotating dancers, more viral attention was paid to Trisyo and Massie within Hong Kong.
Attention grew for the pair as a new musical item in Hong Kong’s dominating Cantonese music scene, where African singers and musicians producing for the city’s market were previously rare. After a year of the rapping duo facing restrictions performing under strict COVID-19 regulations through late 2020 and early 2021, The Afroseas released the single "Rotate," another summer tune reflecting the African way of dancing.
“At the studio, we wanted to produce a song called Biggie about a woman with curves,” Massie said, “but then with Rotate, we are focused on the whole package [of the woman].”
Dropping their music video in August 2021 that was shot in Sai Ying Pun’s mural-laden Art Lane, The Afroseas gained more attention with listeners in Hong Kong. “We wanted Rotate to symbolise the streets, to feel this in the song, reflected in the [music] video. We shot it in Sai Ying Pun to feel the street pride of Hong Kong, as well as the culture of Arica,” Trisyo said.
The Afroseas caught their big break into Hong Kong’s mainstream hip-hop scene when they met rapper Jiggie Boy at a rap show in July 2022 where both artists were performing. “We met him at a mic check before the concert, and he was listening to us perform Rotate. We chatted backstage and asked if he was interested in Afrobeats,” Massie told The Beat Asia.
“Do you want to drop in on an Afrobeats song?” the pair asked, with JB eager to accept his invite to join a song produced at the cusp of summer in May, titled “To the Sea.” “We wanted to release a summer song. Everyone in Hong Kong loves boating and junk parties in the summer, why not celebrate that?” Trisyo said.
Massie dropped two bars for Jiggie to jump in and rap his verse in Cantonese, the first for a Cantonese singer to feature in an Afrobeats song in Asia, the pair claim. The song featured English and Cantonese lyrics, as well as Siera Leonne Creole and the Rwandan native Kinyarwanda, reflecting the pair’s eagerness to represent their home countries abroad.
“[In Afrobeats], it doesn't matter what language you speak. It’s your message and what you are trying to say. You can use your own language and own message and see how you feel like,” Massie said in response to why they included four languages in the song.
After the drop of the music video of all three stars, clad in white and partying with gyrating female dancers in Repulse Bay in August, The Afroseas caught on in the mainstream, increasing awareness of the pair and Afrobeats in the city.
The pair are resolute in building from their success of their latest single, exposing Hong Kong to the fast-growing genre worldwide. “This is a huge opportunity in Hong Kong, and we have a big gap to fill. We are the first ones to do this, we have to be the bridge. We are encouraging other people, minorities, Hong Kongers, expats, to share their talent and expose Afrobeats,” Trisyo said.
“Hong Kong is diverse, so why not bring something new and show people how we can change this genre in Hong Kong? We want to get people out of their comfort zones and listen to Afrobeats in Asia.”
Massie also echoes Trisyo’s sentiment for spreading the love. “We want to be the pioneers in Afrobeats in Asia. Afrobeats already dominates Europe and the West, but nobody makes noise in this part of the world. We can create the platform to be the icon in Asia, working with artists around Asia, in Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Korea, and beyond.”
The Afroseas have released their much-anticipated EP album, “Afro2Asia,” on Oct. 27 at a listening party at Sound Department in Lan Kwai Fong. The release of Afro2Asia serves as a reminder of The Afroseas’ journey of bringing and popularising Afrobeats in Asia.
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