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Davido' and Lil Baby in 'So Crazy'

The 6 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Davido, Simmy, Ballaké Sissoko, Olamide 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 playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.


Davido 'A Better Time'

Nigerian superstar Davido has released his much-anticipated album, A Better Time. This comes after he released the track list for the album just two days ago via social media. The 17-track album is the artist's fourth studio album and is the official follow-up project to his record-breaking album, A Good Time, which he released towards the end of last year. A Better Time features a number of music heavyweights including American rap goddess Nicki Minaj, the inimitable Nas, fellow Nigerian superstars Tiwa Savage and Mayorkun, South African rapper Sho Madjozi and several others.

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Vis-A-Vis 'Obi Agye Me Dofo'

Here's a Ghanaian highlife reissue that you need to listen to. Obi Agye Mi Dofo is the 1977 album by revered highlife band Vis-A-Vis. "As both a popular live act and in-demand studio musicians, Vis-A-Vis released 13 albums between 1975 and 1982, of which Obi Agye Me Dofo remains the most sought after," explains Canadian label We Are Busy Bodies, who is reissuing the record. "Led by vocalist Isaac 'Superstar' Yeboah and featuring Sammy Cropper on guitar, Slim Manu on bass and Gybson 'Shaolin Kung-Fu' Papra on drums, Vis-A-Vis helped propel K. Frimpong to fame as one of Ghana's most popular stars of the 1970s. On some of Frimpong's albums, they also overlapped as part of his other recording band, the Cubano Fiestas."

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Simmy 'Tugela Fairy (Made of Stars)'

South African vocalist Simmy has released the second installment of her Tugela Fairy album series, Tugela Fairy (Made of Stars). The 16-track album includes the previously released singles, "Ngihamba Nawe" and "Emakhaya." For her sophomore, Simmy taps guests outside her El World Music labelmates, enlisting the likes of Afro-soul songstress Ami Faku, Afro-house producers/deejays Black Motion, Da Capo and maskandi heavy weight Khuzani.

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Ballaké Sissoko ft. Oxmo Puccino 'Frotter Les Mains'

Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko is readying his upcoming 11th album, Djourou, due out February via Parisian label Nø Førmat!. For now get entranced by the single "Frotter Les Mains," featuring French rapper Oxmo Puccino, which features an intriguing blend of the kora and spoken word.

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KillaBeatMaker 'Bambú' feat. Papá Kumbé

Here comes one from Medellin, Colombia via producer KillaBeatMaker, who creates infectious beats out of Afro-Colombian influences and deep bass. Get into "Bambú" featuring Papá Kumbé above.

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Olamide 'Infinity' ft. Omah Lay

Nigeria's Olamide comes through with the new visuals for "Infinity," featuring Omah Lay. His latest album, Carpe Diem. gives fans a taste of how wide his reach and influence on the Nigerian music scene has truly been. Appearances from friends, proteges and comrades on the album like Fireboy DML, Bella Shumrda, Omah Lay, Peruzzi, Phyno and Bad Boy Timz, further highlight and emphasize his well deserved label as one of the best to do it.

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


Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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