Music
Detail from Burna Boy's Outside cover artwork.

The 10 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Here are the best Nigerian afrobeats songs that came out last month.

Producers are still the unsung heroes of Nigerian pop today, as are the DJs and their remixing of well-known songs which are yet to become a staple in Nigerian pop. They also bring out more shades in a track and give it longer life—it's true of "Pree Me" by Burna Boy and "Can't Believe" by Kranium, Wizkid and Ty Dolla, both of which are by DJ Tunez along with D3AN on the former and Mutay (one half of Legendury Beatz) on the latter.

The second instalment of PRBLM, the collection of instrumentals by Sess The Problem Kid dropped, a year after the first freebie which he spoke about in an exclusive interview with OkayAfrica. The notable exception this month is "Find You (Nwanyi Oma), a moving power ballad by Djinee.

Read on for a selection of the best Nigerian songs of January.


D'banj "Issa Banger"

"Issa Banger" is an impressive take on gqom by the Kokomaster, D'banj, who continues the vitality he showed in 2017's King Don Come, his little praised comeback album. Issa Shmanger!

Maleek Berry "Pon My Mind"

"Pon My Mind" is just one out of the many gems that make up Maleek Berry's First Daze of Winter EP. the follow up to his solid Last Daze of Summer from last year.

Burna Boy "Heaven's Gate" feat. Lily Allen

Whoever decided Burna Boy and Lily Allen would combine well on a song gets full marks. His whirlwind delivery is a good match for Allen's sweet falsetto. They both sit well over jittery production that doesn't keep with any current music fads (this being a Burna Boy song). Burna Boy's new album Outside just dropped—it's definitely worth your time.

Olamide "Science Student"

Olamide digs deeper into the gold mine out of which came the madness of last year's massive hit "Wo." We called "Science Student" one of the first bangers of 2018. The Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation might not agree as they've reportedly declared the song unfit for broadcast over its subject mater.

ClassiQ x MI Abaga "Gudu"

ClassiQ is scarily fluent when trapping in Hausa, while MI Abaga does two things impressively: he starts off with a disclaimer about his Hausa being patchy, only to flow well enough in the language you wonder why he bothered with excuses.

Yung L "Spray Me Dollars"

Yung L has outdone himself with this rather excellent take on Mr Eazi's "Pour Me Water", tracing the same melodic lines of the original, but reimagining them with snatches of Hausa and Igbo all tightly written and sung with winning commitment

Obesere x Seriki "Alhaji"

"Alhaji" makes you wonder why there aren't more juju singers (and many other traditionalists) who don't adopt the structure and sensibilities of afropop. It's those acts who are seasoned from routinely singing live and with a band and would make for even more convincing pop stars.

Yung6ix "Ferragamo"

Yung6ix charms his way over the hard bounce of a swinging Pon Pon beat in "Ferragamo." This should be the new theme song of any African Fashion Week in 2018.

MC Galaxy "Showers of Blessing"

The Pon Pon gospel gets a new evangelist in MC Galaxy who's made a psalm of thanksgiving over production by Spellz, who deploys some twinkling highlife guitars to delightful depths.

Cobhams Asuquo "One Hit"


In lesser hands, "One Hit" with its litany of name drops and easy rhyming would seem lazy or comical, but in Cobhams Asuquo's dexterous hands the song becomes a rousing devotional.

News

The Ethiopian Government Has Asked Olympic Runner In Exile, Feyisa Lilesa, to Return Home

After two years in exile, the Olympic athlete will return home and receive a "hero's welcome."

Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian runner who went into exile in 2016 after bravely protesting the Ethiopian government's brutal treatment of its Oromo population at the Rio Olympics, has been invited to return to home.

After living in self-imposed exile United States for two years the marathoner, who demonstrated by crossing his fists as he reached the finish line and claimed the silver medal, has been extended an offer to return to his homeland and compete for his country once again by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and the country's Olympic committee. According to VOA News, the runner will return home in the coming weeks with his wife and children.

"Athlete Feyisa Lilesa has scored great results at the Rio Olympics and other athletics competitions enabling Ethiopia's flag to be hoisted to great heights," read a joint letter from the two athletics organizations.

"We want Lilesa to return to his home country to resume his athletics competition and upon his return we are prepared to give him a hero's welcome."

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Politics
Image via GovernmentZA's Flickr.

Could Justice Finally Be on the Horizon for Marikana Massacre Families?

New evidence suggests that the police intended to kill all along.

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre, when 34 mine-workers were gunned down by police after several days of wage disputes at Lonmin Mine in Rustenburg, North West province. New information was recently uncovered that undermines the police's longstanding claim that they acted in self-defence. If anything, it is a glimmer of hope for the families of the victims that remain left behind in the aftermath of that tragedy.

It was the worst mass civilian killing since the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, where South African protesters were killed for opposing the Apartheid regime. The Marikana Massacre, in contrast, was the tragic consequence of week-long wage disputes and clashes between miners and the South African police.

While media footage appears to show the miners as the victims, police have always argued that they were acting in self defence. Consequently no officers involved have been charged. Instead, the surviving mineworkers face murder charges under the doctrine of common purpose. But unnerving facts have come to light that seem to make the police argument even less likely. This includes the ordering of 4000 rounds of live ammunition and several vans from the mortuary the day before the massacre.

I cannot even begin to unpack my anger and frustration at this terrible irony.

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popular

Remembering Aretha Franklin and Her Heartfelt Connection With Nelson Mandela

In honor of the Queen of Soul's immeasurable impact, we revisit her passionate support of Nelson Mandela, and the anti-apartheid movement, through her musical tributes.

Iconic singer, Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul" passed away on Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Franklin was considered by many to be the greatest singer of all time. Her influence on popular music cannot be overstated. The legendary artist sold 75 million records and earned 18 Grammys in a career spanning six decades and she was influential in many global social movements as well.

Having been a widely-embraced public figure for so long, Franklin was present for some of the biggest events of the 20th century, including the funeral of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.

Upon Mandela's release, the singer played a unique role in welcoming him to the States by performing at a freedom rally in his honor in Detroit. Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Stevie Wonder were also in attendance for the historic night. During the celebration, Franklin called the anti-apartheid leader on stage, where he spoke about listening to and appreciating "the Detroit, Motown Sound" while he was in prison.

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