Audio

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Check out the best tracks and videos that came across our desks this week, featuring Kae Sun, Fuse ODG, Yemi Alade and more.

At the end of the week, we’ll be highlighting the creme of the crop in music and rounding up the best tracks, videos, mixtapes and releases that came across our desks throughout the last few days.


Check out this week’s selections below.

Card On Spokes “Impala Parlour / Journey To Life” Video is a Visual Feast

Cape Town-based producer Card On Spokes’ new video might be the trippiest thing you see all week. Directed by Chris Saunders and Jamal Nxedlana and produced by Okayafrica family (and my mentor) Allison Swank, “Impala Parlour / Journey To Life” is a spectacular, futuristic ride through the mine dumps of Johannesburg which follows a robot-like character performed by Alice Kok.

Speaking with Okayafrica in September, Card On Spokes (aka the production moniker of South African jazz musician Shane Cooper) mentioned the song was the first he started writing off his As We Surface EP. “It grew from a bunch of recordings I made with some brilliant percussionists,” he said, adding that he layered the track with talking drum, congas, various African shakers and more.

—AK

Yemi Alade Portrays a Choreographed Buka Beef in "Tumbum"

Winner of this year's MTV MAMA award for "Best Female," Yemi Alade releases a funny music video for Selebobo the produced track, "Tumbum," from her sophomore album, Mama Africa: The Diary of an African Woman. The Paul Gambit directed video features Nollywood superstars Ime Bishop Umoh and Beverly Osu.

"Tumbum" is the Nigerian equivalent to the "He loves me, he loves me not" game, and for the very hungry Umoh, he can't choose between whose jollof rice or whose fufu he loves the most—and the cook that comes with each.

Watch the drama unfold above.

—AI

Eddy Kenzo and Mi Casa Join Forces on "Movie Star"

South African and East African superstars Mi Casa and Eddy Kenzo recently linked up on a catchy new single. The video for “Movie Star” arrived last week.

It’s cute. Which is pretty much what you’d expect from these four.

—AK

Kae Sun Quietly Returned With the ‘Murder Ballad’ “Canary”

Kae Sun, the soft-spoken Ghanaian-born Canadian singer-songwriter and recent Montreal transplant, returned last week with his first new music in some time. The sort-of breakup song “Canary” is the earliest track to surface off his forthcoming EP, also titled Canary, due out early 2017 on Moonshine.

“The title track bills itself as a murder ballad in its artwork (a nod to his strong folk influence), but functions more as a commentary on the overwrought idea of heartbreak,” a press release mentions.

—AK

 The Azonto Craze is Alive and Well in Fuse ODG's "Jinja"

Once you see a parkour professional do his thing on an unnamed rooftop, you know ish is about to get real (and lit).

Fuse ODG released the music video for Killbeatz produced, "Jinja"—and it seems like it's the official anthem to "give excessive energy to a person or situation, especially through dance."

The video shows that Azonto is here to stay—check out how the movement's evolved with the slick dance steps in the clip above.

—AI

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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