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 lyricistNasty 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 Phynocontinues 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.

Photo by Patrick Meinhardt

First Time Voters Might Decide Nigeria’s 2023 Election

Armed with their Permanent Voters Card, Gen Z and millennial voters are hoping the 2023 elections will usher in a new era for Nigeria.

Heading into the general polls on Saturday, Nigerians will determine the next president to succeed Muhammadu Buhari after his underwhelming eight years in office. Out of 93.5 million registered voters, the youths (aged 18 -34) makeup 48 million and thus hold the largest electoral power.

It’s believed that their actions could sway the outcome of the 2023 elections. This is a democratic linchpin that political candidates are keenly aware of. Amongst that youth voting bloc are first-time voters. Armed with their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), the elections are interesting for having presidential hopefuls (Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi) who come from the major ethnic groups (Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo).

But this is meaningless for 23-year-old Silas Adepoju, a copywriter who obtained his Permanent Voters Card at the start of the year after enduring a long sequence of hitches. Although Yoruba by ethnicity and born in Lagos, his top choice for president is Peter Obi. “It’s the only right answer,” Adepoju said. “I’m not moved by where a candidate is from and if they can speak my language. I am more interested in their track record and their plan to lift this country out of its misery. Even though all of [the candidates] have campaign promises, I have judged Obi by how articulate and intelligent he is and what he plans to offer. This is why he has my vote.”

Likewise for Favour Ibe, who is excited to be voting for the first time. A pastry chef, she turned 22 in the first week of the year and since had her mind made up about who to vote for. “We are all for Peter Obi in my house,” she said. “My mum, dad, and two older brothers have been his supporters since he declared his presidential ambitions and we are coming out in full force.”

Ibe is making arrangements for lunch to take to her polling unit on Saturday to be shared with voters. Of all the presidential aspirants, Peter Obi (61) of the Labour Party (LP) has resonated more with the country’s youth. He’s locked in a three-horse race with septuagenarians Atiku Abubakar (PDP) and Bola Tinubu (APC). The All People’s Congress is the ruling party, hoping to keep out the People’s Democratic Party from returning to power.

woman holding up signs for Peter ObiPhoto by Kola Sulaimon/AFP via Getty Images

Though they have all held political offices before—Obi and Tinubu are past state governors of Anambra and Lagos, respectively, and Atiku was vice president under Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure—Obi is pushing past the others as he continues to ride on a social media momentum engineered by a Gen Z and millennial solidarity.

The ongoing socio-economic hardship that plague the country is also not lost on the youths who played a pivotal role during the #ENDSARS movement in 2020. The unprecedented #ENDSARS campaign was powered by Nigeria's Gen-Z and millennials who have refused to shy away from political issues despite the safety threats their activism can cause.

Despite many Nigerians' pessimism toward the Nigerian government and its voting system—which many citizens have found distrustful—first-time voters believe their votes can make a difference. For 20-year-old Vanessa Ojoh, voting for the first time is a moral duty, which she believes will pay off in the long run, despite a voting system riddled with corruption.

“I'm voting for the first time this year because it's the first time that I'm legally allowed to do so,” Ojoh said. “I've been politically involved since 2019, and this time I'll be voting. I'm excited to vote because, one way or another, my vote counts. Although several political candidates have been canvassing for votes and performing shady activities, no matter what people think, our votes really count.”

While many Nigerians are skeptical about the competency of the Nigerian government on a broad scale, Ojoh is holding out hope for a brighter future.

“I'm voting this year with faith for a better Nigeria. Over the past few years, the country has turned upside down,” Ojoh said. “Nigerians that aren't privileged have gone through a lot of hardship, with many struggling to feed and get by. I pray that the person majority of Nigerians have so much faith in doesn't fail us."

Lina Molta, a 29-year-old banking official who lives in Jos, Nigeria, echoes Ojoh’s sentiments about a better Nigeria. Although Molta couldn’t vote in the past because of the complexities of getting a Permanent Voters Card, she is voting this year and is optimistic about the outcome.

“Obtaining a voter’s card in Nigeria is quite an arduous process,” Molta, who has keenly observed the consequences of an ailing Nigerian society, said. “I feel like Nigerians have suffered enough, and even though my candidate doesn’t win, I feel like I would be happy knowing that I took one step towards a better Nigeria.”

Another focal reason that is motivating Nigeria’s youth to vote is the yearning for a country that affords them better opportunities, without the throes of economic and political strife.

Gift Ogar-Okune, 19, came to the realization that she had to walk the talk if she wanted a hopeful outcome for Nigeria.

“This country really needs change, and I used to be apathetic towards politics, but I learned that I had no right to complain about anything if I didn’t actually vote,” Okune said. “Getting my PVC was so frustrating but I did it anyway because now I know that if every vote didn’t count they wouldn’t be stealing ballot boxes or rigging the elections.”

Okune is casting her vote for the Labour Party’s Obi, who many Nigerians believe will be the first president from the Igbo tribe since Nnamdi Azikiwe, who ruled the country from 1963 to 1966.

“I think he might just be our best shot in terms of finding a solution to Nigeria’s problems," Okune said. "Realistically speaking, he is not perfect, but from what I’ve seen, read, and heard, he’s the best and I might just trust him more than Tinubu and Atiku.”

Like most of the Gen-Z population, Okune began to become aware of political issues when she began university, and the cash shortage, as well as the crippling economy, has added to her need to be politically involved.

“Initially, all the damage wasn’t affecting me because I was in high school and I didn’t really have political knowledge. I’m now in my fourth year of university, and I am affected by all of the changes. The prices of things have gone up, and the naira is slowly losing its worth. We currently don’t have cash in Nigeria, and I’ve had to buy money at a ridiculous price to buy food to eat or just spend,” Okune said. “A few days ago, I only ate once because there’s no money.”

Photo By Andrew Esiebo/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Nigeria is a society that is heavily dependent on cash. And the lack of access to cash has reached a fever pitch, affecting the daily lives of millions of Nigerian citizens. On the other hand, people who have access to online banking systems in Nigeria are experiencing little relief.

“The banking systems are so terrible,” Okune said. “I made a transfer to a Bolt driver twice and he keeps calling to say he hasn’t seen the money. When I call the customer care line, I can hardly connect with a representative even though they keep debiting me. To make matters worse, the mobile network fails randomly. It’s so bad right now.”

Oluwatobi Ogunbisi, an 18-year-old first-time voter who is also voting for Obi, says that coming-of-age has inspired her decision to vote this year.

“I’ve always wanted to vote. When I was younger, my mother did not allow me to leave the house on election days. She would lock me inside the home for safety while she went out to vote,” Ogunbisi said. “Being able to leave the house this year on election day and see how things are done is one of the reasons I am voting. I am also inspired me to vote because of the situation that our country is in, and although my vote is just one vote, that one vote can do something."

“I am confident with Peter Obi because he is literate, educated, and knows what he wants for the country. He wants to see the country develop and move forward, and he is someone who has credibility who carries himself well.”

Many Nigerians OkayAfrica talked to expressed dissatisfaction with Buhari’s eight-year tenure—one inundated with political strife, tribal clashes, and incessant insecurity.

Adam Awwal, a 20-year-old first-time voter, is also wary of the current government who has led the country for the past eight years.

“Some of the most hard times my family members and I faced have been as a result of the actions or inactions of the current administration,” Awwal said. “It is not given that things will get better, but I sure hope they do. Over the years, I’ve observed my family members vote, and it would be nice to know I participated in an election."

Awwal is voting for PDP’s Atiku, and in the past, he had held out hope for the one-time former Vice President, who had ultimately lost at the time.

“Out of all the candidates that have emerged, I resonate with his [Atiku’s] ideology more. He has what it takes to run the presidential office because he was once close to the powerful seat under Obasanjo's regime and I believe he’s the one for Nigeria,” Awwal said. “This is the first time I’m legally able to participate in something of this magnitude, and it is my time to exercise my voting right.”

Over the years, young Nigerians have been increasing their electoral participation, making their voice heard and leading movements. And while it’s true that they could turn the tide on Saturday, their political leanings aren't monolithic. Twenty-five year-old UX designer, who prefers to go by just Sodiq, has been in mild to serious contentions with friends for lionizing APC’s Tinubu. “He laid the blueprint for the transformation of Lagos to a city and although it’s not perfect yet, I prefer the old guard in terms of a politician that is tested and we can look back on what they have done.”

As most elections go, voters are often divided on their opinions about leading contenders. 22-year-old Harrison Obinna Munachimso is also voting for APC’s Tinubu. And for Munachimso, voting is a patriotic obligation.

"Voting for me is not inspirational, rather it is fundamental to my course as a citizen of the federation," Munachimso said. "A lot of people might see it as an inspiration for them because of the up-shoot of the new wave of political restructuring and change of the government, but I am choosing to vote because I am obliged to do so.”

For many Gen-Zers, an overarching coming-of-age theme has powered their decision to vote. And this is an indication that most of them were looking forward to the moment they, too, could be on the civic front lines in a way that could elicit Nigeria’s transformation.

(Fela Kuti)

10 Nigerian Political Songs You Should Know

Ahead of the Nigerian elections this weekend, here are some Nigerian political songs you should check out.

If you look closely beneath the hedonistic thrills and aspirational themes that fuel today’s popular Nigerian music, it’s pretty easy to catch a hint of the political. It may often lie in the words left unsaid by performing acts or the causative factors gently ploughed over when the reality of living in Nigeria makes its way into their work, but it persists regardless. The nature of music in Nigeria is too intertwined with public life for any epoch to pass without songs that explicitly capture stirring vignettes of the nature, and struggles, of life in the West African nation.

From the 1970s when Fela Kuti’s acerbic afrobeats made him a leading critic of the Nigerian government to the ‘90s when a collection of Nigerian reggae stars like Ras Kimono and Majek Fashek stunningly gave voice to the apprehension of their fellow citizens on wax, popular Nigerian music has often served as a repository of our lived experiences, grievances, and political thoughts. As Nigeria prepares for another presidential election later this week, some of the age-old concerns still remain but, as always, we have music to remind us of what is at stake regardless of how divisive and toxic the electioneering process might be.

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Photo: Eclectica Contemporary.

Surreal, Nostalgic and Tangible: Exploring the Theme of Time at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair

The years have been good to the art fair, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this past weekend and staged its most inspired show to date.

The 10th edition of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair (ICTAF) took place last weekend on the southernmost tip of the continent where the black gold of the sun sets late and the ‘notion of time’ becomes an apt theme for Africa’s largest gathering of contemporary art. With over 106 exhibitors from across Africa and the diaspora, coming together for several panels and a number of exhibition openings across museums and galleries in Cape Town, the art fair made a generous space for an influx of devotees to reflect on disparate ideas of time itself.

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