Okayafrica’s Top 15 Albums of 2015

From Malian desert rock to Afro-Cuban chants to ‘Noirwave’ and beyond, we list the 15 best albums of the year.

Petite Noir ‘La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful’

Cape Town-raised Congolese-Angolan artist Yannick Ilunga, better known as Petite Noir, has been refining the sound of ‘Noirwave’—a new forward-thinking African aesthetic that takes light cues from post-punk and new wave—for over three years.

La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful, his debut album on the independent powerhouse Domino Records, feels like the apex of the ‘Noirwave’ sound. Through its 11 songs, Petite Noir guides listeners through a new electronic African sound influenced by the likes of Fela Kuti, Tabu Ley Rochereau and Yasiin Bey (who he has previously collaborated with).

“It’s just the story their music tells and the sense of freedom,” Petite Noir’s commented. “It’s about seeing the positive in dark times.”

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Watch Mr Eazi Escape Capture & Become 'The Don' In New Short Film

A new and striking six-minute visual from the emPawa boss man.

Mr Eazi comes through with a new 'short film' to accompany "The Don," the standout single off his Something Else EP.

The new video, directed by Babs, starts off with a prison transportation scene in which 'The Don' (Mr Eazi) is broken out of police capture and taken to back to the area he rules over. The rest of the visual is packed with striking shots of kids getting "Don Eazi" tattoos, dancers with creepy clown masks and a beautiful waterfall scene.

The operatic afro-trap single "The Don," produced by Killertunes and E Kelly, showcases Eazi's expanding sonic world and musical output.

Speaking with OkayAfrica in a recent interview, Mr Eazi told us about his excitement for what's still to come from the ever-burgeoning African music scene, saying ""I feel like afropop is at the place hip-hop was in like 1990 or 1991."

Watch "The Don" short film below and read our full interview with Mr Eazi here.

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South African Writer Phumlani Pikoli Passes Away

South African multimedia journalist and author, Phumlani Pikoli, sadly passed away this past Sunday. He was 33.