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Juls & Burna Boy's "Gwarn."

The 10 Best Music Videos of 2017

The best music videos of the year—featuring must-see music videos from Cherrie, MHD, Juls & Burna Boy and more.

As everything in the music world seems to move towards streaming, the importance and weight of music videos only gets bigger.

2017 saw a long list of artists across Africa and its diaspora share some incredible music videos. Some acts looked towards their background to deliver new takes on their roots, while others broke the mold completely, presenting a visual aesthetic that felt wholly fresh and new.

Here are the 10 Best Music Videos of 2017 below.

Listen to our Best Songs of 2017 playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

Cherrie "163 För Evigt," featuring Z.E

Buzzing Somali-Swedish singer Cherrie dropped the amazing video for "163 För Evigt" ("163 Forever"), which despite her singing in Swedish, blew up online on both sides of the Atlantic, being posted in several Instagrams, Tweets and everything in between. "163" is the area code for Rinkeby, the largely immigrant populated Stockholm suburb where Cherrie grew up. Throughout the video, she reps Somalia hard—just take a look at the Somali flag waving proudly throughout the whole video or the very first line of the song in which she shouts out Mogadishu. —Kam Tambini

Oumou Sangaré "Kamelemba"

Grammy Award-winning Malian singer Oumou Sangaré teams up with South African director and fashion photographer Chris Saunders in the surreal music video for "Kamelemba." The video features members from the Swaggers dance crew, set before a gloomy, futuristic landscape. The director has mentioned that their performance is meant to portray a varied interpretation of afrofuturism and modern beauty. "The video references traditionally masculine performance cultures, like the competition of the Congolese Sapeur, portrayed here by a group of women in a gender-free setting," said Saunders. —Damola Durosomo

Juls "Gwarn" feat. Burna Boy

"Gwarn" is the ultra-smooth afrobeats collaboration from British-Ghanaian producer Juls and Nigerian star Burna Boy. It's music video follows an animated Juls and Burna as they serenade their girls in through several hilarious scenes. Watch them both lounge with their girls in this incredible Poka-directed video. —Kam Tambini

J Hus "Spirit"

J Hus had a breakout year with his excellent debut album, Common Sense. In the music video for "Spirit," one of the release's standout tracks, the UK-Gambian MC heads to Jamestown, Ghana for a lively affair packed with motor bike swerving, boxing, fishing and loads of contagious energy. —Kam Tambini

Yemi Alade "Charliee"

Yemi Alade's video for "Charliee" is simply a joy to watch. The Paul Gambit-directed clip is a bright and vibrant deep-dive into the sweet pop sound and aesthetic of this Nigerian diva. Yemi had a good year marked by the recent release of her highly-anticipated third album, Black Magic. Even more so, her old video for "Johnny" became the most watched Nigerian video on Youtube ever earlier this year. —Kam Tambini

Kelela "LMK"

Kelela serves all kinds of looks in her sultry music video for "LMK." The energetic video begins with the Ethiopian-American singer offering chic, 90s "it-girl" looks as she enters a packed club in a shiny blonde wig and statement frames. She then dons fiery red tresses for a dance number in a flashing hallway, before switching back to her signature locs during an all-white party. It's all major hair and style inspiration in just under four minutes. —Damola Durosomo

MHD "Afro Trap Part 9 (Faut Les Wet)"

The highly-buzzing young rapper MHD celebrates his roots by making West African-inspired "Afro Trap" music—an eclectic mix of hip-hop and afro-pop styles that's gone viral. The French rapper of Guinean and Senegalese descent has sparked an "Afro Trap" phenomenon in the past few years, with each one of his songs and its accompanying videos typically gaining tens of millions of views when he uploads them to Youtube. MHD continued his impressive Afro Trap series with Part 9, which follows the young rapper flanked by two amazing kid dancers and some goofy CGI effects across the streets of Paris. —Kam Tambini

Major Lazer & DJ Maphorisa "Particula"

Major Lazer and South Africa's DJ Maphorisa enlisted a bevy of buzzing African artists—Nasty C, Jidenna, Ice Prince, and Patorankin—for 'Particula.' Shot in Johannesburg, the 70s-inspired video sees the artists head to an exceptionally groovy party filled with vibrant gqom, pantsula and Fela Kuti-inspired dancers. The retro-tinged visual, directed by Adriaan Louw, transports viewers to the funkier days, when disco and bell-bottoms ruled. —Damola Durosomo

Olamide "Love No Go Die"

Olamide's video for "Love No Go Die" is the perfect meeting of animation and Nigerian pop music. The video, which was produced by the YBNL Toons, begins with Olamide's 3D avatar, in his signature black shades, lovingly staring at a girl in a hospital bed. The segment then cuts to better times—a flashback of the two animated characters playing video games. Their gaming session soon escalates as they start getting more intimate, while a larger-than-life portrait of Olamide hanging in the background looks on. Everything then turns to a spy-meets-Casino Royale ordeal. There are levels to this thing. —Jacqueline Traoré

Wizkid "Come Closer (Redux)"

When Wizkid dropped an alternate music video for his Drake-assisted hit "Come Closer," we have to say, we enjoyed it much more than the first. The video—directed by the acclaimed video director and husband of Solange Knowles, Alan Ferguson—sees Wizkid and some stylish friends at a dreamy summer get-together, brimming with rich color, bold fashion, and gorgeous melanin. The 3 and-a-half minute music video boasts features from Khoudia Diop (aka Melanin Goddess) , and even Davido's reported ex-girlfirend Sira Kante, who plays Wizkid's love interest. With its fun dance numbers and vintage Malik Sidibé vibes, the video is a visual stunner that had us wondering why Starboy didn't just drop this version in the first place. —Damola Durosomo


This YouTube Account Is Sharing South African Audiobooks For Free, And We Are Here For It

Listen to audiobooks by Steve Biko, Bessie Head, Credo Mutwa, and more.

Audio Books Masters is a YouTube channel that uploads audio versions of South African books and short stories.

Recent additions include Life by Bessie Head, Crepuscule by Can Themba, Indaba, My Children by Credo Mutwa, among others. South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, who passed away three weeks ago, also gets read. You can listen to his poem No Serenity Here. More books you can stream include I Write What I Like by Steve Biko, Africa is my Witness by Credo Mutwa, among others.

Audio Book Masters was started by two friends, Bonolo Malevu (24) and Hahangwivhawe Liphadzi (23).

Malevu is a University of Pretoria BA Drama graduate, who is currently doing his LLB. Liphadzi is an LLB graduate, who is completing his LLM this year.

"I found a hobby of narrating books to craft my art skill after reading Credo Mutwa's Indaba, My Children," says Malevu in an email to OkayAfrica. "After reading the prologue, I knew that this book was meant to be converted [to] many different formats such as stage plays, series, movies and audiobooks."

Then came the idea of creating a YouTube channel. That was when Malevu teamed up with Liphadzi.

They both bought themselves high quality recorders, and started reading, recording and uploading.

Authors from the olden days such as RRR Dhlomo and HIE Dhlomo, whose audio versions of their books are available on the channel, are older than 50 years and their copyrights have since expired.

The rest, though, Liphadzi and Malevu say they are trying to get in contact with the publishers, but it's not easy.

"We have contacted the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) regarding this issue," they say. "We have been in contact with various copyright holders and we are still in the negotiation process. However we are finding it difficult to contact certain publishers, and the consistent uploading of their books is to attract their attention."

The two friends say they started the channel to bring books closer to people who otherwise wouldn't have access, and to get people to appreciate literature, especially African authors. "We want to bring such literature to the digital age in the form of storytelling which has been a unique African form of literature," they say. "The channel also helps develop our voices as we are a voice company that offers all kinds of voice services. We also identified how South African authors lack audio books, and found that there is a gap in this market, and this could really create many job opportunities in South Africa."

The two are currently developing stories in indigenous languages for children in English medium schools. "This is drawn from the fact that in such schools, a lot of African students struggle to speak their own native languages. So we approach various schools to sell them such literature. We are freelance voice over artists who also do radio, content production, news reading and radio adverts."

We are so here for this.

Subscribe to Audio Books Masters' YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter.

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Nigerian Actor Sope Aluko On How She Landed a Coveted Role in ​'Black Panther​'

Marvel's Black Panther is already on the brink of being a blockbuster, as it already broke box office records within the first 24 hours of it's pre-sale. Beating Captain America: Civil War's record in 2016, Fandango reports results from a user survey, stating Black Panther was 2018's second most-anticipated movie after Avengers: Infinity War.

One up-and-coming actor who will star alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan (to name a few) is Sope Aluko. Come February 16, we'll see the Nigerian-born actor play 'Shaman' in the film. Her previous credits include recurring roles on Netflix's “Bloodline," NBC shows “Law & Order SVU" and “Parks & Recreation" and guest appearances on USA Network's “Burn Notice" and Lifetime's “Army Wives."

Her film credits include supporting roles in feature films including Identity Thief, 96 Minutes, Grass Stains, The Good Lie and more. Raised in the UK, Aluko studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). Aluko speaks four languages, including her native language, Yoruba, French, and Bahasa, an Indonesian language.

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Music

Femi Kuti Spreads Some Much-Needed Peace In the Video For 'One People One World'

Watch the music video for the first single off Femi Kuti's upcoming EP "One People One World."

Femi Kuti drops the music video for his single "One People One World," the title song from his forthcoming 10th studio album.

The energy boosting music video sees Femi Kuti delivering an electrifying performance in the Kuti family-owned New Afrika Shrine in Lagos.

On the track, the accomplished musician promotes an unwavering message of peace and unity—things that the world could perhaps always use more of, but especially so in today's Trump-dominated political climate. His message of positivity is illustrated with graphics that appear throughout the video, showing various country flags and symbols of love and peace.

"Racism has no place, give hatred no space," Kuti sings atop brassy instrumentals. "Let's settle the differences, it's best to live in peace. Exchange cultural experiences; that's the way it should be," he continues.

"One People One World," (the album) is a plea towards global harmony and solidarity. When you look at what's going on in Africa, Europe and America, it's important to keep the dream of unity alive," the artist told OkayAfrica in November.

"When I was a boy, I listened to funk, highlife, jazz, folk songs, classical music and my father's compositions, so you will hear those things in the music."

"One People, One World" by Femi Kuti and his band, the Positive Force, drops on February 23 via Knitting Factory, and is now available for preorder.

Femi Kuti, 'One People One World' cover.

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