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The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Davido, Ciara x Tekno, Major League, Yemi Alade 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.



Davido 'Nwa Baby'

Following singles "Assurances" and "Flora my Flowa" from earlier this year, afrobeats star Davido is backwith the music video for his third single "Nwa Baby." In the music video Davido, and his partner in crime, go on an adventure that sees them getting into some light trouble as they rob gas stations and dodge police.

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Ciara & Tekno 'Freak Me'

Ciara released her new single "Freak Me," featuring Nigeria's Tekno. In a new clip, the artist gyrates alongside South African dancers in a street in Soweto. She even does the gwara gwara. The dance video was choreographed by the renowned Sinovuyo Dunywa, and styled by Rich Mnisi and Trevor Stuurman. Ciara also mentioned how Tiwa Savage inspired the track after fans pointed out similarities.

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Major League '19 Tobetsa'

South African DJ and producer duo Major League DJz released a tribute to Pretoria house music legend DJ Mujava. The song's title, "19 Tobetsa," is a nod to a Mujava song of the same name, just without the "19." Major League's "Tobetsa" features Pretoria-based artist Focalistic. In the video, the three artists treat themselves to some Chinese food in a Chinese restaurant, while Chinese character subtitles tell a story that you and I are highly likely to not understand.

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Yemi Alade 'Oh My Gosh'

Following a stellar set at Okayafrica's Lincoln Center show, afrobeats queen Yemi Alade is back with an infectious new track made for summer listening. "Oh My Gosh" is a sweet ballad, that sees Yemi singing about a lover that makes her feel overwhelmingly good. It sees Yemi departing from her usual dance-inducing afrobeat sound, and delivering a more sensual one that highlights her honeyed vocals.

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Burna Boy 'Ye'

Burna Boy's "Ye" is already a classic in its own right. The song has been a fan favorite ever since it appeared on his latest album Outside—folks even argued that it should become the new Nigerian national anthem. And the song gained the afro-dancehall a new group of fans, when listeners discovered it when searching for Kanye West's album by the same name. Needless to say, we've all been anticipating the music video for the standout track, and it's finally here.

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Guampara Music 'Cubaneatelo'

Guámpara Music shares their music video for their new single, "Cubanéatelo." Produced by JD Asere, Cuba's first independent urban music label stacked the track with voices you should know: the beastly flow of Niño Fony, the versatile rhythm of El Individuo, the reggae of Cuba Lions with the vocals of DJ Lapiz, the sultry voice of Sigrid and the poetry of Luz De Cuba.

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James BKS 'Kwele' feat. Allan Kingdom & Manu Dibango

French Cameroonian producer James BKS is the first artist signed to Idris Elba's new record label 7 Wallace. Our first reaction to "Kwele," his first single, is that it's a nice addition to that genre of placelessglobal pop associated with international sporting events. So it makes perfect sense that James BKS, with his father the legendary artist behind Soul Makossa, Manu Dibango, previously collaborated on a song for the Rio Olympics.

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Yung Swiss 'Don't Go There' feat. Frank Casino

South African rapper Yung Swiss teamed up with fellow rapper Frank Casino for his latest video single. Titled "Don't Go There," the song is a key-laden bass-heavy trap slow burner that's dark sonically. In the video, the two rappers kick it in a mansion with a bunch of their boys and girls.

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Burna Boy, D'Banj, 2Baba and Larry Gaaga 'Baba Nla'

Afrobeats titans unite on this massive new track from Nigerian artist Larry Gaaga. After dropping bangers featuring the likes of Davido and Wande Cole, the musician returns with "Baba Nla" a chilled out track featuring heavyweights 2Baba, D'Banj and afrofusion star Burna Boy. It's a huge collaboration which sees the trio flexing over the keyboard-heavy beat.

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Santi 'Freaky' feat. Nonso Amadi & Bridge

"Freaky," the new single from Santi's forthcoming project, has a sinister edge to it. For the song, Santi enlists his Lagos-based emcee BRIDGE on the hook while Nonso Amadi's heartbreak-laden vocals smoothen up the rugged feel of track.

Find out more.

Fully Focus x Sauti Sol 'Melanin' (Remix)

DJ Fully Focus comes through with a head-nodding remix of Kenyan afropop band Sati Sol's hit single "Melanin," alongside Patoranking.

Olamide 'Motigbana'

YBNL chief Olamide continues his hot streak with "Motigbana," a new Killertunes-produced single that builds from an acoustic guitar riff into a highly-infectious beat. You should be familiar with the producer's top tier work in hits like "Manya" and "Nowo."

Find out more.

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




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Photo: Tjeerd Braat. Courtesy of Marieme.

The 11 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Bas, Ycee, Major League, Moonchild Sanelly, Niniola, Indigo Stella, Fireboy DML, Marieme 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.

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Watch Fireboy DML's New Music Video for 'Need You'

The buzzing Nigerian artist shares the video for the standout single from his debut album "Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps."

Buzzing Nigerian artist Fireboy DML has shared the music video for his latest single "Need You," one of the standouts from his warmly received debut album Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps.Laughter.

The track is an emotive love ballad, that sees the artist singing about the strong feelings he has for his partner over mellow guitar riffs. The song was produced by Pheelz.

The music video, directed by Clarence Peters, shows the artist and a love interest as they try and escape together, and later get caught up with the bad guy that's out to separate them. The events lead to a tragic ending for the couple. It's the fourth music video offering from Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps. "Of course, it's a tale of love—of finding it again, of learning that time is fickle and you have to treasure what you hold dear while you still can," wrote Fireboy about the song on Twitter.

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5 Women Doing Amazing Things Behind the Scenes in South African Hip-Hop

Behind every successful South African rapper of the last decade is a woman helping to get ish done. Helen Herimbi spoke to a few of them.

South African hip-hop had a great run in the last decade. As we start a new era, it's important to highlight the women who have played a pivotal role in the growth of the genre.

​Thuli Keupilwe

Thuli Keupilwe is the founder of LAWK Communications, an artist booking and representation agency that now works closely with the likes of DJ Maphorisa and Kabza de Small.

But she's not all about the yanos. Thuli has worked with urban music brands like Dreamteam SA and Homecoming Events, but in 2016, she cast her booking agent net wider and started LAWK Communications where she worked with DJs Capital and Sliqe.

The following year, Thuli received a phone call that would force her to level up. "Boom," she exclaims. "February 2017. PJay from B3nchMarQ called me. I was the one that pushed A-Reece to get onto his first Maftown Heights around 2014 and we're all from Pretoria so I'd known them since forever."

B3nchMarQ and A-Reece were gearing up to leave Ambitiouz Entertainment and when she agreed to be their booking agent, Thuli hadn't anticipated how much it would stretch her. Partly because the artists weren't initially permitted to perform their own songs—problematic for an agent who is meant to book them for gigs.

"I didn't see that coming at all," she says. "I was going up against the big guys, people I looked up to. I realized I needed to get a lawyer." Eventually, the artists were legally permitted to gig. "I had one of my biggest years with Reece after that. I am still with him till today."

A-Reece had managed to amass an enviable fan base size mostly from his online and streaming presence. Thuli works closely with him and counts using A-Reece's "Rich" song in a sync deal with the gambling website BET.co.za as a milestone in their partnership. "It was a good check," she chuckles. "And he was being himself and that's the most important thing to me."

Kay Faith

Authenticity has been the drive behind Kay Faith's work. The Cape Town-based engineer, producer and budding vocalist began her career behind the boards during sessions for the likes of Yasiin Bey, Nasty C and E-Jay.

She put out her own EP, In Good Faith, in 2017, and in 2018, she became the first female producer in the world to be featured on Apple Music's New Artist Spotlight.

She has also given us hip-hop bangers like "Slam Dunk" by Da L.E.S and YoungstaCPT. The latter is a frequent collaborator of hers. So much so that when his album 3T won the Best Album category at this year's South African Hip Hop Awards, she felt it was a win for her too. Especially since projects she'd worked on had been nominated and lost before.

Read: Meet The Woman Engineering Your Favorite South African Hip-Hop Releases

"When we started [the song] 'YVR,' I had this emotional feeling that it would be something big for Cape Town," Kay excitedly says. "From recording to mixing to mastering and featuring as a vocalist on 'The Cape of Good Hope' and 'KAAPSTAD NAAIER,' I was behind all of 3T. I even co-produced the 'Pavement Special' intro and the 'Outro' with Chvna.

"We spent 11 months crafting and him trying to get it to be perfect so it was a surreal feeling when we won Album of the Year. I even sent out a tweet saying: 'Can we just take a moment to realize that the South African Hip Hop Album of the Year was entirely engineered by a woman?'"

Kay's upcoming album, Antithesis is slated for a 2020 release. "It's going to be the first album of its kind, I believe," she says. "And I'm really trying to play with that idea of being the antithesis of hip-hop. I am a woman, an Afrikaans kid, in hip-hop. When I walk in, people don't expect me to be an engineer or a hip-hop producer and when I roll out my accolades, then they're like, 'damn, Kay's got game.' That reaction is what this album is about."

Phindi Matroshe

For Phindi Matroshe, the outside reaction to her work is not the most important thing. Phindi is a publicist and talent manager who owns At Handle, a PR and social marketing solutions firm. She was there before Nadia Nakai became a Reebok or Courvoisier ambassador and before she had sold-out ranges with Sportscene's Redbat.

She was also there when Nadia bagged a Best Female pyramid at the 2019 South African Hip Hop Awards. And she was right beside her when she scooped awards at AFRIMA 2019 for Best Artist, Duo or Group in African Hip Hop as well as Best Female Artiste: Southern Africa.

"Winning awards was never the mission," Phindi confesses. "Honestly, we have never done things to try and get awards. Nadia truly loves what she does and it feels great when that is acknowledged and someone pats us on the back for work we've done. I really love and respect what I do and don't see it as a job."

Having handled publicity for the likes of JR, Tumi Masemola (of Gang of Instrumentals), Shane Eagle, Major League DJs and more, Phindi pivoted to managing Nadia. She says: "Seeing the things we talk about come to life or when we're in the boardrooms signing those deals, those are personal milestones for me."

​Ninel Musson

Ninel Musson has been brokering some of hip-hop's biggest deals for over a decade. She co-owns Vth Season, a boutique full-service entertainment marketing agency with Raphael Benza.

A former party promoter and publisher of the wonted.co.za website, Ninel helped start a record label wing of Vth Season where AKA was their first signee. Together, they turned AKA into a mainstream success that the artist could bank on when he started the now defunct BEAM Group independent record label with Prince Nyembe in 2016.

Recently, Ninel and Benza, together with the Sony Music team, presented AKA with diamond and platinum plaques for several songs at a surprise dinner. "The music we went on to create became some of the best-selling records of all time in South Africa," Ninel says matter-of-factly. "When we started with him, the major labels said SA hip-hop would never go this far. We said we believed it would and then we did."

​Sibu Mabena

Cassper Nyovest seems to make it a point to work with women. In addition to Cassper's sisters running his Family Tree store, several Fill Up dates have seen PR maven, Sheila Afari at the helm. And while it's clear that the Fill Up series was always the brainchild of Cassper and his longtime friend and business partner, T-Lee Moiloa, bringing it to fruition has also included the skills and power of women behind the scenes. Women like Sibu Mabena, a multi-hyphenate creative entrepreneur who owns the Duma Collective.

"The day I landed back home from the EMAs, I went straight to The Dome," she remembers. "I said: 'yo, T-Lee, give me a job. I want to work on this thing.' He was like: 'bra, there's nothing for you to do.'" Sibu stuck around at the Dome, watching the production come together when a lightbulb went on in her head.

Read: Sibu Mabena Works Behind The Scenes in South African Hip-Hop, And She's Kicking Ass

"I thought: 'Cassper has 11 outfit changes. Who is helping him with those?' So Gareth Hadden from Formative, who was building the stage, said they needed someone to help with those changes. I forced myself into the Dome, and the next year I pitched to T-Lee to run the stage at Orlando Stadium. The following year was Fill Up FNB Stadium and there, I got a bigger job to run the talent operations. That's how we started doing the Fill Up Intern Search."

In the next decade of Mzansi hip hop, Sibu has her heart set on parties with a purpose. "All the things I have learnt along the way have led me to contribute to AKA's Fees For All Mega Concert," she shares. "I'm not coming on as just a creative or event organiser or marketer. It's demanding all of me. We're all tapping into a more philanthropic and less commercial role than we usually have so the pressure is that much greater."

There are plenty more women who've got game. From Lerato Lefafa, who has been a part of the team that brought us the SAHHAs and Back to the City to Bianca Naidoo who is a big part of Riky Rick's triumphant trajectory to women like Spokenpriestess, Caron Williams, Azizzar The Pristine Queen, Loot Love and way more who have, in the last decade, used their media platforms to lift up Mzansi hip-hop. In the next decade, women will still be a huge part of hip hop. It'll be interesting to see where that contribution takes the movement next.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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