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The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Nasty C, Afro B x Wizkid, Kah-Lo, Phyno x Wale, Sjava and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.


Afro B feat. Wizkid "Drogba (Joanna)" Remix

"Drogba (Joanna)," one of the biggest afrobeats tracks out right now, gets a huge remix treatment from Starboy himself. UK-based Ivorian artist Afro B keeps the infectious groove and structure of the Team Salut beat, over which Wizkid adds a new verse. Check it out above, we're told the music video is dropping soon.

Find out more about the #DrogbaChallenge here.

Nasty C 'Strings and Bling'

South African lyricist Nasty C just released his second album, Strings And Bling. The 17-track album is his first under Universal Music Group. The MC featured only three artists on the project, namely A$AP Ferg,Rowlene and Kaien Cruz. Strings And Bling is one of the most highly anticipated releases in South Africa, and now it's all yours to peruse, criticize and indulge.

Read: Nasty C, South African Hip-Hop's Boy Wonder, Talks About His New Album

Kah-Lo & Riton "Ginger"

Nigeria's Kah-Lo and British producer Riton, who were nominated for a Grammy for their previous collaboration "Rinse & Repeat," return with another absolute jam in "Ginger." The electronic track will have you moving and head-nodding for days.

Read our interview with Kah-Lo

Sjava 'Umphako’ EP

South African trap artist Sjava's 4-track EP, Umphako has arrived. Just as we've grown to expect from Sjava, the songs on the EP are personal—exploring relationships ("Confession," "Intombi"), friendship and humble beginnings ("Abangani") and motivation ("Iqhawe"), with both humor and emotion. Sjava won the Viewer's Choice Best International Act at the BET Awards last week, and earlier this year, he appeared on the Black Panther Soundtrack.

Find out more.

Phyno "N.W.A" feat. Wale

Nigerian hitmaker Phyno continues his strong form as of late with "N.W.A," a brand new single alongside none-other-than Wale. The track, which is built on an addictive bouncy beat from producer Iambeat, comes paired with a new music video directed by Patrick Elis. It follows Phyno Fino to California where him and Wale ride around in low-riders and fancy cars.

Find out more.

Falz "Next" feat. Maleek Berry & Medikal

Falz follows up the huge success of "This Is Nigeria," his Childish Gambino cover, with the more tongue-in-cheek music video for "Next," one of the standouts off his album, 27. The track, which features Maleek Berry and Medikal, goes hard.

Read: Falz tackles his country's social ills in his very own answer to Childish Gambino's "This Is America."

Asante "Run You Mad" (Prod. by Sango)

Asante is a Detroit-based, Ghanaian-rooted artist whose been circling on our radar for a minute. The artist is now preparing the release of his upcoming EP, sleek boy, due in August. The first single off that EP, "Run You Mad," which sees Asante linking up with one of our favorite producers Sango over synth arpeggios and head-nodding beat work.

Find out more.

Major Lazer & Rudimental "Let Me Live" feat. Mr Eazi and Anne-Marie

Rudimental and Major Lazer are sharing their brand new collaborative single "Let Me Live," an energetic dancehall-influenced production which sees them joined by Mr Eazi and UK vocalist Anne-Marie. It also features additional vocals from Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The track's accompanying video is something to behold, as it features some show-stealing shots of pantsula dancers and highlights the rising Gqom scene in South Africa.

Find out more.

Manthe Ribane & Okzharp 'Closer Apart'

Why settle for a genre or a medium when there's an entire world of creativity to draw from? That's a defining ethos of the collaboration between Manthe Ribane, Okzharp, and Chris Saunders. Closer Apart, their first full length album on Hyperdub Records, finds them in progressive form, with London's Okzharp on production and Ribane singing, occasionally slipping into the Sepedi language.

Read:The Multimedia World of Manthe Ribane, Okzharp & Chris Saunders

Demi Grace "Come Closer"

Nigerian musician and model Demi Grace follows up her addictive, reggae-influenced single "Why Would You Lie" (which racked up over a million plays on Souncloud) with this afropop/afrobeats uplifting track "Come Closer." You'll be pressing repeat on this one.

Read: Demi Grace's New Music Video Highlights One of the First Francophone African Films

Emtee "Thank You"

South African rapper and singer Emtee just released the video to the closing song of his sophomore album, Manando, which came out last year. The video lives up to the song's lyrics, in which the artist is expressing gratitude to those who mean a lot to him—family, friends and fans.

Find out more.

Patty Monroe "Whiskey Sours"

South African rapper Patty Monroe's music videos are always a world of their own. She always creates an alternate environment for her character. Her latest visuals, for "Whiskey Sours," are not any different. In the video, the artist gives us a tour into her hazy life.

Find out more.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week.






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Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Rwanda's Salima Mukansanga Sets Historic Sights On FIFA World Cup 2022

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For the first time in history, a select group of female referees has been chosen to officiate matches at a FIFA Soccer World Cup. This year's international sporting event will be hosted by the Middle Eastern country Qatar and runs from November 21st to December 18 later this year. Among the history-making female cohort is Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga, who made headlines earlier this year after becoming the first female referee to a match in the African Cup of Nations.

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But in the last two years, Young Jonn’s production credits slowed as he focused on honing a different part of his artistry: singing. The evolution was complete this year as the sonic polymath unveiled his debut project, Love Is Not Enough. At just five tracks and less than 15 minutes in length, the record is skinny, but it provides Young Jonn ample time to brood about his own delicate feelings. All five tracks share the same sonic fingerprint of chilly vocals, sticky hooks and melodic, gummy beats. “Dada” shines as a favorite, with Young Jonn lacing the track with calmly measured verses, and the chanting hook, the highlight of the song.

Love Is Not Enough in all its dimension is filled and padded with layers of expressions about how doubtful love can be, how much we want to relive those blissful memories and about how attached we can be to someone. Young Jonn seems to have gone round those stages and becomes vulnerable in his songs, his creations revolving around these relatable experiences.

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Featured
Photo Credit: Patrick Quarm

How Patrick Quarm Uses African Textile to Tell Stories About Identity

Ghanaian Artist Patrick Quarm speaks to OkayAfrica about his mixed media process and his avant-garde approach with African print fabrics.

Growing up in the residential area of Takoradi, Ghana, artist Patrick Quarm had a fascinating thrill for drawing the everyday. His major inspiration was spending the day outside, walking to town, and watching people making do with their routines. As a curious teen, he would sketch and take photographs of them.

After leaving Ghana in 2015 to obtain a master’s degree at Texas Tech, Quarm’s artistic perception took a different leap. He had experienced an identity crisis. He started to question his artistic intelligence and what it was communicating in respect to his identity. In response, he adopted the African fabric to fluidly express that notion of identity in his work.

Quarm’s art is bold, aesthetically African, and possesses a gritty ideology that is just as rare in the art world. With his arts, he is keen to unmask history and how it shapes us in the present. Intuitively, Quarm’s art isn’t what it appears to be from a first glance. He operates with several portrait layerings to express his multidimensional ideas, using shapes like circles to tell the tales of loopholes that rest within African history with colonialism.

OkayAfrica spoke with Quarm about his avant-garde approach and more.

Patrick Quarm painting

Photo Credit: Patrick Quarm

When did your journey as an artist begin?

I would say I was born an artist. As a child, I would pick up my pencil and begin to draw anything I found of interest. I remember in elementary school, I was so good at drawing and it came naturally cause I never took a class in it at that time. I think high school was when I decided to study visual art; the Ghanaian education system gave us the opportunity to pick what we wanted to do. I majored in picture-making which was what it was called then. From there, I did my undergrad at Kwame Nkrumah University of science and technology, I majored in painting. During that time, I used to paint fine realistic art and I did a lot of portrait commissioning but when I looked at the international art world, there was something so interesting about them, they were very simple but possessed so much value, I wanted to be part of that. So that motivated me to apply for a master’s program in Texas Tech which I got into with a full scholarship. The best thing about the program was it gave me a space to isolate myself and meditate on what I wanted to create and how I could polish my skill. That’s when I started working with African print fabric and right after my MFA in 2018, my career as an artist emerged fully, collectors and galleries were so interested in what I was doing because there was a different idea and niche to my art.

Who and what were your biggest inspirations when you started making art?

My inspiration comes generally from living. So I grew up in Takoradi— a small town in Ghana compared to Accra. I grew up in a very residential private area so whenever I went to the town,I would see an influx of people doing a lot of activities, trade, buying stuff and I really took that as inspiring because at an early age, I realized I just enjoyed seeing people in their daily activity and routine. I remember I would walk around with a sketch book and camera, drawing and taking pictures. Just everyday life is my inspiration but looking at my work, I’m more inspired by history, the evolution of Africa within contemporary spaces, thinking of it in terms of past, present and how modern Africa is continually evolving within these spaces.

Patrick Quarm close up painting

Photo Credit: Patrick Quarm

What were your parents' remarks when you chose art as a career?

My parents were very supportive, they weren’t typical African parents that were like, “what are you doing with art?” My mother was very inspirational, she gave me my first studio when I was in high school in Ghana. She really didn’t get what I was doing but she liked the idea that I was doing something and she wanted to support me without questions. I remember my father asking me where I had gotten my talent from because, for generations, there weren’t any artists in our family. One of the profound questions my father asked me when I was young was, “Why is it with everything you do, art is what interests you?” And I told him I loved it, that I couldn’t see myself doing anything else and his response to me was to keep doing it but make sure I got good at it. Those words come to me as comforting when I hit dead ends in my studio.

Why did you decide to use African textile in the development of your work?

It didn’t happen by accident, it’s a matter of choice. I came to the U.S. in 2015 for my master’s program. Before that, I used to paint so realistic but painting to me after that point wasn’t about skill, it was about ideas, conversations, dialogues, experimentations and other things. I kept asking myself what I wanted to say in my work— what should I communicate with my work, what I wanted people to get off my work. So I started thinking about my identity and how fluid I was between all these cultures, and that began my basic concept. The African print fabric was one of the most culturally significant materials I could use to tell that story of identity and knowing its history, I was aware that it was something I could use. Though the African print fabric wasn’t originally from Africa, it came from Indonesia through colonial trade but I wanted to communicate that concept of dual-identity, to establish a conversation around culture and hybridity.

Patrick Quarm artwork

Photo Credit: Patrick Quarm

Did moving to America change something about you and your artistic prowess?

Of course, something changed especially in my artistic style. I used to paint hyper-realistic portraits before I came to the U.S, but immediately I began to establish a language in my work, it took a different style. I went through a lot of thought processes of what my art should communicate and so a lot of processes started sipping into my work like glueing, cutting and other things— but they were very intentional and that helped in the expansion of my ideologies. My studio is like a laboratory to me, I always confront myself with questions and ideas. I just love the concepts I have created and when I look at my work, I recognize an evolution.

Why were you so keen to highlight African identity in your art?

To me, it was always like taking it from the personal and making it universal. Coming to the U.S, I went through the process of merging a new culture to mine. During that time, I questioned my Africanness, who I was and why I was pictured a certain way, and what had shaped me. It became a quest to understand these questions so I started using a visual language to communicate that. Why I highlight African identity is to look at things from a different perspective especially from an African eye, there is no one way of defining things within the world we live today; things are always evolving and taking other forms. When I talk about Africanness and identity in general, I want to visualize it from the new point of view because there is always a different definition of the new from the old. After being in the U.S for six years, I went back to Ghana and I realized that things have taken a new look, people were doing things I had seen folks in the U.S do and it struck me how fluid things could be.

Patrick Quarm textiles

Photo Credit: Patrick Quarm

Aside identity, what other themes do your work as an artist communicate?

My work spans across several ideas and theories. I talk about history in my works interweaving it with our identity as Africans. My works aren’t analyzed by what is on the surface or what people see, there is always an extension to it. This idea comes from my trying to talk about colonialism. Our history from a colonial lens is segmentational. For me, when we talk about African identity, we don’t have to talk about it from now, we have to look at it from the past. My works have layers that slice through history, to analyze the nuances from a complex entity that sprouted out. My works are multi-dimensional, I use circles to illustrate that, circles which signify loopholes or viewpoints through time, where we can have access to the past whilst dwelling in the present, just like saying remnants of the past dwell in the present.

How has your life in the studio been?

My studio is my escape, it’s the one place I run to when there is a lot of chaos around me, it just consumes me. Sometimes when I have so much on my mind, I just pick a chair and stare at my art, it helps me reflect on what to create next. The studio is my lab, it’s a place where I bring in all these ideas. Sometimes when I stroll out and I find an idea, I either have to come and sketch it out or take a picture of it— I just love the space.












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