Weekend Burners: July's Best Tracks & Music Videos

Download and stream the best tracks and African music videos that came out in July in our monthly column "Weekend Burners."

Image by Anoek Steketee and Eefje Blankevoort [via Yagazie].

We're switching up Weekend Burners to a monthly column that'll highlight the ten best African music tracks, videos, or mixes that came across our desks in the last 30-odd days. Stream & download them below, straight from the Okayafrica bunker, and follow the links for more info:


JR, Okmalumkoolkat & Spoek Mathambo's ‘Bob Mabena’

JHB rap titans Motswako vet JR, reigning king of collaboration Spoek Mathambo and Affine Records’ most recent signee Okmalumkoolkat come together to salute South African radio icon Bob Mabena on his 25th year in the industry. Yanga Ntshakaza, who was also behind AKA‘s “Kontrol” video, directs the partially slo-mo visuals. Read more.


The GTW’s Chigerian Summertime Serenade ‘Calling Cards’

Chicago-based Nigerian The GTW is preparing the release of Chigeria later this year. “Calling Cards,” the self-produced lead single from that upcoming album, features an upbeat 90s tempo song and flattering falsetto from The GTW as he sings “I can’t spell my future with you” in a way one would serenade their high school crush. Read more.


Clap! Clap!'s ‘The Rainstick Fable’ Off His ‘Tayi Bebba’ LP

Italian producer Clap! Clap!, aka Cristiano Crisci, is gearing up for the release of his debut LP Tayi Bebba. The album's lead single “The Rainstick Fable” is a fast paced banger injected with flavors of house, juke and footwork that utilizes Crisci’s contemporary production alongside samples of traditional instruments like the titular rainstick and the mbira. Read more.


Tony Allen & Damon Albarn Reunite On ‘Go Back’

Tony Allen, the father of afrobeat percussion, has a new solo album due out later this year (his first since 2009′s Secret Agent). The first single off Film Of Life reunites Allen with frequent collaborator Damon Albarn on the supremely meditative horn-flanked ballad “Go Back.” Read more.


Sinkane’s Soulful ‘How We Be’

Sudanese-born/BK based sonic-experimentalist Sinkane returns with "How We Be," a soulful composition that builds off some funky keyboard action and stars Gallab’s crystalizing voice. The song is the second single off his upcoming Mean Love LP (DFA/City Slang). Read more.


Tshepang Ramoba’s 67-Minute ‘Mandela Day’ Mix

Tshepang Ramoba's (BLK JKS RAMBO) commemorates Nelson Mandela Day with his Mandela Day mixtape, which is precisely 67-minutes long as a nod to Mandela’s 67 years spent fighting for social justice, as well as the global call to devote 67-minutes of today to “fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation” through activism. Read more + view the tracklist.


Just A Band’s Phone-Recorded Visuals For ‘Probably For Lovers’

Kenya’s Just A Band recruited their friends to shoot themselves with their phones, singing and dancing along to “Probably For Lovers,” a standout track on their 2012 release Sorry for the Delay. Read more.


Rich Medina’s ‘Afrobeat Since 1969: Created By Tony Allen’ Mix

Rich Medina drops Afrobeat Since 1969: Created By Tony Allen for clothing label 101 Apparel. The mix, an ode to afrobeat co-creator & percussion pioneer Tony Allen, sees Medina navigating through a host of highly complex, horn-backed afrobeat drum patterns from the master himself. Read more.


The Cape Flats-Filmed Visuals for Zaki Ibrahim’s ‘Draw The Line’

Canadian/South African smoldering soulstress Zaki Ibrahim returns with the stunning visuals for “Draw The Line,” the opening track from her 2012 album Every OppositeIbrahim’s earthy, soul-capturing voice floats above clean, starkly beautiful images of the Cape Flats. Read more.


Okmalumkoolkat ‘Holy Oxygen’

Okmalumkoolkat rides on the title track off his upcoming Holy Oxygen I with his signature nonlinear wordplay on a two-stepping futuristic bassline. It’s the official coming of a self-proclaimed “demigod.” Read more. 


Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox


Interview: JAE5 Is Crafting London's Distinct Diasporic Sound

We talk to the buzzing producer about his Grammy win alongside Burna Boy, his work with J Hus and the ever-looming influence of Ghana.