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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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Elaine is the Most Streamed South African Woman Artist

Elaine secures the number-one position on all three of Apple Music's 'Top Mzansi Females' charts.

Elaine continues to go from strength to strength and with good reason. The artist recently secured the top streaming positions on Apple Music's "Top Mzansi Female Artists of 2020", "Top Mzansi Female Albums of 2020" and "Top Mzansi Female Singles of 2020" charts. Moreover, several tracks featured on her debut EP Elements snatched seven spots on the "Top Mzansi Female Singles of 2020" chart. The stellar achievement comes shortly after having been announced as one of Apple Music's "Visionary Women" Campaign at just 21-years-old.
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A Chat With Papi Ojo, the Standout Dancer From Beyoncé's 'Black Is King'

We talk to the Lagos-born, New York City-based Papi Ojo about his work with Beyoncé, Rihanna, Janet Jackson and more—and his new music.