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Santi. Image courtesy of the artist.

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Santi, Yugen Blakrok, Wizkid, Skepta, Runtown x Nasty C, 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.


Santi 'Rapid Fire' feat. Shane Eagle & Amaarae

After captivating audiences with "Freaky" in August, Santi is back and he's lighting up the dance floor yet again with his newest single, Rapid Fire. Santi brings back early 2000's dancehall vibes with his swift delivery on this wavy Genio Bambino-produced beat. He also enlists fellow alté scenester Amaarae and South African emcee Shane Eagle to complete this endlessly-playable track.

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Yugen Blakrok 'Carbon Form' 

About two weeks ago, South African rapper Yugen Blakrok released her first single in five years, following her debut album, 2013's Return of the Astrogoth. The new single, titled "Carbon Form," is the first single to her upcoming follow-up album, Anima Mysterium. The music video shows Yugen Blakrok owning the different spaces she occupies, with subtle yet effective effects.

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Skepta 'Pure Water'

Skepta has released the long-awaited music video for his single "Pure Water," his first official single of 2018 which he released back in May. The grime rapper teased the music video with an Instagram post of him in a tub surrounded by a group of fierce women back in June, and now the self-directed music video has arrived. In some of the more striking scenes, the rapper performs while surrounded by a group of sharply dressed women, who appear to be channeling the Fela Kuti Queens. Skepta himself dons Fela Kuti style face paint throughout the video as well.

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Wizkid x Metro Boomin featuring J Balvin, Swae Lee, Offset

Wizkid revealed that he was working on new music with the "Bad & Boujee" producer back in July. On the Swae Lee (of Rae Sremmurd) led song "Borrowed Love," Wizkid provides a memorable verse about halfway through, as the two sing about a sad breakup. "Only You" sees Wizkid taking the reigns, opening the song with a verse about to the girl. Migos rapper Offset joins in the second verse, and Colombian reggeaton singer J Balvin joins in later, delivering sultry lyrics sung in Spanish. They make for a pretty infectious trio.

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Runtown & Nasty C 'No Permission'

Runtown and Nasty C come through with a new collaboration track that'll jump start your week. 'No Permission" sees the Nigerian artist and South African rapper trading rapid fire bars over an ominous, trap-inspired beat. It's a heavyweight-meets-heavyweight link up that's sure to get a lot of play in this last quarter of the year. The track comes accompanied with a pink-tinted new music video, directed by Director Teekay.

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Mimi Mars 'Kodoo'

Mimi Mars is one of the buzzing names coming out of Tanzania's music scene, which the likes of her sister, Vanessa Mdee, and superstar Diamond Platnumz have helped establish as East Africa's musical powerhouse. The Dar es Salaam singer now comes through with "Kodoo," a highly-addictive new single that you'll surely have on repeat.

"Kodoo" is available now

Bongo Maffin 'Harare'

Legendary South African kwaito group Bongo Maffin have a new single. Titled "Harare," the single is vintage Bongo Maffin, but doesn't sound dated. Thandiswa's layered vocals, Stoan's Tswana poetry, Apple Seed's ragga raps and Speedy's R&B-inspired; vocals all coexist in harmony over a bass-heavy beat built on skittering drums. The last time the diverse quartet released new music was with their 2005 album New Construction which had the hit "More Fire."

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Kesswa 'To Find' 

Nigerian-American singer Kesswa's "To Find" is an alluring blend of soulful vocals with ambient, drum and bass production work. The song's accompanying music video, directed by Kai Dowridge, was inspired by Oshun, goddess of strength, beauty and femininity. It's well worth a watch.

"To Find" is available now

DJ Spinall 'Omoge' feat. Dotman

Nigeria's DJ Spinall dropped his fourth studio album, Iyanu, just under two weeks ago. The 10-track record is packed with features from some of the biggest names in the game like Wizkid, Davido, Tekno, Burna Boy, and Kizz Daniel, as well as newcomers WurlD and Nonso Amadi. Spinall, who's already scored some big hits off Iyanu with "Nowo" and "Baba," is now sharing the latest music video from the album for "Omoge."

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Bantu 'Ká Máa Dúpé'

Bantu is a Lagos-based 13-piece band whose music straddles genres such as afrobeat, hip-hop, afrofunk, highlife and Yoruba music. The group's latest album Agberos International—"Agbero" is Yoruba slang for public vehicle conductor—was released last year. We now get the new visual for "Ká Máa Dúpẹ́," one of the clear highlights from that record.

Agberos International is available now

Rah Sosa 'SMAT (Send Me A Text)

Rah Sosa rolls through on a trap-meets-electronic beat with his latest single "SMAT (Send Me A Text)," in which he talks about times with his girl and, as implied in the title, not being too fond of phone calls.

"SMAT" is available now

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




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Casanova, Davido & Tory Lanez' '2AM' Will Soundtrack Your Weekend

Flatbush meets Lagos and Toronto in this addictive new single.

Brooklyn rapper Casanova rolls through with an energetic new collaboration with Davido and Tory Lanez.

"2AM" sees the rapper going in over highly-infectious afrobeats-meets-pop beat work, in the same vein as we've heard from massive hits like "Unforgettable." The song was produced by 30 Roc.

The single features the star power of Davido and Tory Lanez which gives "2AM" the increased potential to be one of those huge new jams that'll be getting constant spins this year on both sides of the Atlantic (it's already got the top slot in Spotify's African Heat playlist).

The music video kicks off in Atlanta but eventually follows Casanova to Lagos, where he connects with Davido in Shitta. The clip was directed by Nigeria's Meji Alabi, the creative force behind many of your favorite afrobeats videos.

"2AM" is the lead single from Casanova's upcoming EP, Free At Last, which is due from Roc Nation/Def Jam Recordings on February 15.

We talked to Casanova below to learn a little more about this new collaboration and sound for him.

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Dive Into TOBi's New Music Video For 'City Blues'

The Nigerian-Canadian rapper delivers a solid jam.

TOBi is a Nigerian-born, Toronto-based rapper making music inspired by his early life move to Canada and the experiences around immigration and culture shock.

You might have previously heard his track, "Hidden Fences," closing out the finale of Insecure or gotten into his 2016 debut EP, FYi.

TOBi is now sharing the new single and music for "City Blues," which sees the rapper taking cues from Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" over a beat produced by Free n Losh. It's the first taste we're hearing from his upcoming debut album due later this year.

"[City Blues is] written from one perspective within the African diaspora, pertaining to being caught between two worlds and reclaiming my ethnic identity," TOBi tells OkayAfrica. "Embracing my name has been a crucial part of my personal growth."

"I drew inspiration from the Shakespeare quote: 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.' City Blues speaks about the many roles that a human takes on at once but from my perspective," he adds.

Get into it below.

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Issa Rae to Star In Murder Mystery Rom-Com, 'The Lovebirds,' With Kumail Nanjiani

Issa Rae isn't playing with us in 2019!

Issa Rae has added yet another exciting project to her growing list for 2019, and we're totally here for it.

The actress and Insecure showrunner is set to star alongside comedian and Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani in the upcoming romantic comedy The Lovebirds, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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