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Still from Burna Boy's "Dangote" (Youtube)

The 14 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Burna Boy, R2Bees, Sjava, Adekunle Gold, Fancy Gadam, 'Amapiano' 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 our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.


Burna Boy 'Dangote'

Burna Boy released his first solo single of the year, "Dangote," late last week. The new Kel P-produced track, which is named after Nigerian business magnate and Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote, sees Burna singing in Yoruba, English and Pidgin. The single now has a striking new Clarence Peters-directed music video that sheds light on the stories of many Nigerians who are facing economic struggles and the choices that come up from living in those situations.

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Sjava 'Umama'

South African B.E.T Award-winning and Grammy nominated artist Sjava's new music video for the song "Umama" shows just how genuine the man his. Instead of following rap video clichés, Sjava decided to show his mother and place of birth some love. The video shows the artists trekking to rural KwaZulu Natal where he was born. He spends time with his mother, who burns impepho and asks the elders to keep an eye on her son.

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NiiQuaye x Kirani Ayat x Akan 'Twa Wonan Ase'

NiiQuaye's latest single "Twa Wonan Ase" is an uplifting highlife-fusion track that sees the Accra-based artist and member of the Musical Lunatics connecting with buzzing Ghanaians Kirani Ayat and Akan. While the track itself is upbeat it carries a deeper message about the discrimination that the three Ghanaian artists face from police due to their looks and, in particular, their dreadlocks.

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Nonso Amadi 'Emergency'

Nonso Amadi is one of the standout acts from a young wave of Nigerian musicians whose music can't quite be defined. He's now back with his first single of the year, "Emergency." The new track, which premiered on Ebro's Beats 1 show, is an addictive afro-fusion concoction that pairs pop vocals with pulsating keyboard stabs and bouncy beat work.

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Amapiano Volume 4

Amapiano is the new South African house music sub-genre that's dominating clubs, shebeens and radio playlists. Started in Pitori (which you might know as Pretoria, the capital of South Africa), amapiano blends the city's musical influences. Amapiano is a sophisticated hybrid of deep house, jazz and lounge music. It's characterized mainly by keys, which live between synths, airy pads and wide bass lines. Amapiano Volume 4, came out last week, and features the likes of Kabza De Small, Ntokzin, MDU aka TRP, and a whole lot more.

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Fancy Gadam 'Only You' ft. Kuami Eugene 

Fancy Gadam drops the brand new single and music video for "Only You." The new track sees Fancy link-up with another buzzing Ghanaian act, Kuami Eugene, who was present in several of our favorite Ghanaian songs of last year. "Only You" has the two artists connect over catchy afro-fusion beat built on bouncing synths and guitar lines, produced by Stone B.

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R2Bees 'Yesterday' + Site 15

Ghana's R2Bees' just dropped their brand new album, Site 15, late last week. Their third studio album sees the duo cycling through some addictive tunes with help from the likes of Wizkid, King Promise, Burna Boy, DarkoVibes, Kwesi Arthur and many others. We premiered the lighthearted game show-style music video for standout album track "Yesterday." It follows R2Bees as they're joined by DarkoVibes and Ovawise and play matchmakers.

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Adekunle Gold 'Before you wake up'

Adekunle Gold has lifted our spirits by dropping his new single, "Before You Wake Up," today. The Nigerian crooner continues to flex his toasting skills, taking the straightforward Sess-produced track to sweep his love off her feet. "I know you need a holiday," he sings, opening the song. "Let's go away for 6 months—twice in a year."

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Saturday, Monday x Kanyi Mavi x Le Roi Alekpehanhou

South African rapper Kanyi Mavi appears on a new song by Saturday, Monday (Swedish DJ and producer Ludvig Parment). The song was released last month, and it sees the vicious Cape Town MC lace an electronic instrumental with her poetic storytelling. The song is written from a place of anger, as she raps from the perspective of a woman who's fed up of being in an abusive relationship.

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Shingai 'Coming Home'

Shingai of the Noisettes comes through with her debut solo single, "Coming Home," from her upcoming EP, Ancient Futures. In her new track, the Zimbabwean-rooted, London-raised talks about a strong desire to return home to Zimbabwe. "'Coming Home' is my klaxon call for the diaspora to reunite with those at home and build a bridge of hope," she's mentioned. "Many of us are scattered and undernourished by the environments we have found ourselves in. We are still healing."

Dr Malinga x Kwesta 'Indlela'

House music stalwart Dr Malinga's latest single "Indlela" comes with yet another stellar Kwesta verse. Who could have predicted this collaboration? "Indlela" is a mid-tempo house joint that references 80s and 90s South African pop, as is usually the case with Dr Malinga's hits. The song is produced by the ever-diverse Alie Keys, whose sound you are familiar with if you've listened to Cassper Nyovest's last two albums, Thuto and Short and Sweet.

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DJ Big N x Mr Eazi 'Jowo'

Mr Eazi connects with Dj Big N for the steel drum-based new single "Jowo." We recently talked to Mr Eazi about how he independently built a music career for himself via smart business decisions and his new endeavor, emPawa.

Read: The Music Business of Mr Eazi

Manu Worldstar 'Future Plan'

After releasing the hit song "Nalingi" that solidified his spot in the music game and reached a million streams, Manu WorldStar is back with what sounds like another hit. The young rapper continues to dabble in Afropop in "Future Plan", which similarly echoes the calm pace of "Nalingi," there is the continuation of the theme of being in love with a leading lady.

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MC Soprano 'All of You'

The Canada-based MC Soprano shares "All of You," the first single from his upcoming EP, Diamonds & Red Roses. "All of You is your perfect romance song for whether you're stargazing or just laying on the beach," he mentions, "The song signifies that 'when you know, you know.'"


Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Photos: How La Sunday Became Abidjan's Favorite Party

Faced with a lack of party options, a group of friends in Côte d'Ivoire sought to revolutionize the way their city turns up.

The opening line of DJ Arafat's hit song "Maman Sery" plays and the people on stage scream it as loudly as the crowd facing them below. Lighted phones are up in the air. Where some strangers embrace one another, others clutch their chests. The setting? A garden in Abidjan's commune of Cocody on a Sunday night.

Sundays in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire had always been reserved for beach trips and family time. All of this changed dramatically in December of 2018 when Fayçal Lazraq, Lionel Obam, Aurore Aoussi, Charles Tanoh-Boutchoue, and Aziz Doumbia, better known as Bain de Foule Creative Studio created La Sunday and it took Abidan by storm.

According to Charles Tanoh-Boutchoue, co-founder of La Sunday, "The idea was to create an alternative event for fun amongst friends." The differentiating factor here was these "friends" weren't just anyone; they were trendsetters at the epicenter of Abidjan's bustling creative scene. Shares from these creatives were instrumental in creating the engagement surrounding La Sunday and its subsequent expansion.

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Still from Burna Boy's Tiny Desk concert video via NPR.

Watch Burna Boy's Mellowed-Out 'Tiny Desk' Concert

Watch the 'African Giant' run through some of his hits like 'Gbona,' 'Ye' and more for NPR's Tiny Desk concert series.

Burna Boy is the latest artist to grace NPR's famous Tiny Desk.

The Nigerian "afrofusion" star took to the set for a mellowed out performance of four of his biggest tracks. Getting straight to business, the artist opened his set with a toned down rendition of his single "Gbona" before heading into the socially-aware "Wetin Man Go Do." It's much calmer of a performance than we're used to seeing from the artist.

Next he performs a funky version of "Dangote," before rounding his set out with his magnum opus of sorts "Ye." He's backed by the band The Outsiders and vocalist Christina Matovu throughout.

Burna Boy has had a stellar year, releasing his seminal album African Giant, performing at Coachella and winning several awards—including 'Best African Act' at the BET Awards—in the process.

Check out his full Tiny Desk performance below, and revisit a recent Tiny Desk performance from British-Nigerian rapper Dave from last week and check out Burna Boy's okay acoustics performance of 'Anybody' from August.

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Merry-Lynn. Photo courtesy of the artist.

You Need This Merry-Lynn EP In Your Life

Interview: Rising R&B newcomer Merry-Lynn's Petrichor EP is a breath of fresh air.

Iyere-Eke Merrylynn Ehinomen, also known as Merry-Lynn, is a rising singer and songwriter based in Abuja, Nigeria. She recently released her debut EP, Petrichor, which presents a masterful blend of reggae and R&B with a modern twist across its six tracks.

Drawing you in with its resonant bass line and alluring vocals, EP opener "Skin," is a major head-bopper. Merry-Lynn pours her heart out over the rippling guitar chords singing "When you gonna call me baby?/ Or don't you think about me lately?" Before you know it you're midway through the sultry and euphoric cut, "Temptation," and fully locked-in to this musical experience.

In "Boy Tears" the young singer, who was born in 1997, graces us with vivid lyricism and audacious delivery as she rhymes "too" and "fooled," enriching each line with subtle nuance. She also enlists Nigerian hitmaker King Perryy on the melancholic heartbreak tune "911"—a remixed version of the original track that was released earlier in the year

Merry-Lynn's decision to work exclusively with Nigerian producer Veen on the project seemingly enabled her to truly experiment and find the distinctive sound that sets her apart from the crowd. Emotionally rich and enlightened, this tape is a smooth sonic ride for any lover of good music. There's no doubt that, with Petrichor, Merry-Lynn has delivered a reliably-solid debut.

We got to know the R&B newcomer a little bit more in a recent interview below.

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Tiwa Savage "Owo Mi Da" cover.

Tiwa Savage Drops Two New Songs 'Owo Mi Da' & 'Attention'

The Nigerian star has shared two new bangers—"Owo Mi Da" and "Attention"—a day early due to leaks.

Tiwa Savage has returned with not-one-but-two new singles, "Owo Mi Da" and "Attention."

While the tracks were originally slated to drop tomorrow, Wednesday, the Nigerian superstar rushed released them due to leaks. "You guys couldn't wait na so my songs don leak o .... FUCK IT OUT NOW," Tiwa wrote on her social pages.

The addictive and upbeat "Owo Mi Da" was co-written by fellow Nigerian hitmaker Olamide and produced by Pheelz.

Video: Tiwa Savage On Female Artists Having to Work Twice As Hard

The smoother "Attention" is a song aimed at a man who isn't taking enough notice of his woman. " I guarantee all the ladies will know the lyrics to this one word for word," Tiwa wrote about the track. It was produced by Blaqjerzee.

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