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The 13 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Simi, Stonebwoy, Riky Rick, Olamide, Wizkid, La Même Gang 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.



Simi 'Omo Charlie Champagne, Vol. 1'

Nigerian star Simi has dropped her 13-song sophomore album, Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1. The highly-anticipated record sees Simi showcasing her vocal skills and penchant for writing the type of sweet and addictive melodies that have made her a star. Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1 features collaborations with fellow Nigerian artists Patoranking, Maleek Berry, Falz, and her husband Adekunle Gold. Most of the production is handled by Oscar with other songs being handled by Vtek, Legendury Beatz,and Sess.

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Stonebwoy x Beenie Man 'Shuga'

Stonebwoy, one of Ghana's major dancehall names, links up with Jamaican legend Beenie Man for this new single, "Shuga." The song is built on stuttering synth hits and beat work produced by Ghana's StreetBeatz. Stonebwoy and the "King of Dancehall" connect over the energetic rhythm, each delivering their own verses—add one more track to the many stellar cross-Atlantic musical collaborations that have been going on for years, in particular between West Africa and Jamaica.

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Riky Rick 'You And I' feat.. Mlindo The Vocalist

South African rapper Riky Rick's latest single "You and I" sounds like a chapter from Riky's past; he raps about messing up his relationship with his cheating ways. The video shows Riky partying it up with strippers in the club while his bae and their kids struggle to reach him on the phone. "You and I" features the singer Mlindo The Vocalist who's gained popularity in the past few years for his nonchalant singing style and the relatable stories he tells mostly in his language IsiZulu.

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Olamide 'Spirit'

Nigerian star Olamide comes through with his latest single, "Spirit." The new track sees the rapper switching gears, this time offering up a more low-tempo groove than we're used to hearing from his singles. In "Spirit," he links up with frequent collaborator and producer Pheelz over a relaxed afro-fusion beat as he sings, "I have refused to downgrade from god to human, spirit is high." The song is a noted change from Olamide's usual style, showing that the YBNL chief has quite the versatility in his arsenal and can deliver over a more afro-pop leaning tune.

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Larry Gaaga 'Low' feat. Wizkid

Larry Gaaga recruits Nigerian superstar Wizkid for his latest single, "Low." The new song, which is produced by BlaqJerzee, pairs a sparse beat with smooth synth keys and Wizkid's delivery about keeping things "on the low." It comes paired with a brand new music video, directed by Mr. Moe Musa, that shows Wizkid and Larry Gaaga in a pristine white room as they perform the song along with some company.

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La Même Gang x Kuami Eugene 'This Year'

La Même Gang come through with their first single of 2019 with the uplifting new track, "This Year." The new single features three members from the Ghanaian rap collective–RJZ, DarkoVibes, and $pacely—linking up with fellow buzzing Ghanaian artist Kuami Eugene over production by MogBeatz.

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Blaklez 'DMX Prayer' feat. Reason 

In Blaklez's latest single, the Pretoria MC does some self-introspection and reflection. He looks back at the tough come-up days and hopes for a better tomorrow as he navigates the present and its complications. Blaklez shares the key-laden trap instrumental with Reason, who he has collaborated with before, most notably on the equally introspective 2016 single "Freedom Or Fame Reloaded," which also featured the late rapper Pro

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Rotimi 'Love Riddim'

Nigerian singer and actor Rotimi (from Starz hit show Power) comes through with "Love Riddim," an addictive afro-fusion concoction tailor-made for your upcoming summer nights. "I wanted to create a sound that was different. Something that was of me yet reminiscent of my favorite artists like Craig David," Rotimi mentions in a press statement. "It's feel good music that you can't help but dance and wine to." Look out for his new EP, Walk With Me, dropping on May 24.

"Love Riddim" is available now

NewAgeMuzik 'Polaroid'

NewAgeMuzik are a London-based duo with the aim of taking afro-fusion to the future. The UK group, made up of Kamo and Prince, are set to drop the new S.O.N.E. / Sounds of a New Era EP tomorrow, which will featured singles like "Dance For Me" and this new jam. The new music video for EP standout "Polaroid," a slow-burning and addictive song that showcases NewAgeMuzik's modern spin on the UK afro-fusion sound.

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Lady Moon & The Eclipse 'Global Warning'

Brooklyn-based outfit Lady Moon & The Eclipse, who we've previously covered for their blend of RnB and afrobeat, are back with the new single, "Global Warning." The song and music video, which we premiered for Earth Day, is a head-nodder anchored by a heavy funk bass line and led by vocalist Lady Moon's (Ngonda Badila) lyrics about our drastically changing environment. The new video, directed by James Kwan, is a shape-shifting affair that cycles through colorful animated drawings and collage-like scenes of Lady Moon dancing in front of different habitats.

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Terri 'On Me'

Wizkid's "Soco" was no doubt a major hit and kicked off the music career of its standout feature, Terri. The latest signee to Wizkid's Starboy crew, the young musician looks set to continue delivering hits that showcase his immense talent. His latest music video for "On Me", proves just that.

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BCUC 'Isivunguvungu' feat. Saul Williams

BCUC (Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness) connects with none-other-than Saul Williams for their lively, bass-lead single "Isivunguvungu." The new single comes from their upcoming album, The Healing, which will share the same format as BCUC's two previous records (two long songs and one short one). The forthcoming release, due May 10, was produced by Buda Musique and recorded in Paris at Studio Pigalle. It will also feature a track with Femi Kuti.

The Healing is available for pre-order now

Ssue 'Don't Talk' feat. Ian Jazzi, Blackup & Lady Jay

Ghanaian artist Ssue drops another fire track with the booming single "Don't Talk," which features additional help from Ian Jazzi, Blackup and Lady Jay.

"Don't Talk" is available now

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


Sports
Photo by Ned Dishman, courtesy of Pops Bonsu.

In Conversation: Meet Pops Mensah-Bonsu—the Ghanaian Former Pro Player Trailblazing the Front Desk of the NBA

We speak to the general manager of the Capital City Go-Go about his journey to professional basketball stardom, his hopes for the Basketball Africa League and more.

Nana Pops Mensah-Bonsu didn't take basketball seriously at first. For the now General Manager of the Capital City Go-Go and a former player in the NBA and European leagues, the game wasn't as exciting as other sports. "For me, I was impressionable," he says, "I was young; all my friends played soccer and ran track. That's what I really wanted to do."

Born and raised in London, England, the former pro with Ghanaian roots (whose name stems from his middle name, Papa—the equivalent to 'junior') grew up playing soccer and running track. His older brother started playing basketball, a relatively invisible sport compared to soccer, when he was about 16 in the early 90s and eventually moved to the U.S. on a scholarship. Mensah-Bonsu says that when parents witnessed his brother's experience, they took it as an opportunity for the rest of their children to do the same—allowing them to have a better opportunity to succeed.

Mensah-Bonsu's dad introduced him to basketball and took him to the other side of London where he started developing his skills. After juggling the three sports with basketball on the back burner, Mensah-Bonsu eventually realized his potential once he made the move stateside himself as a teen. Making a name for himself as a student-athlete at George Washington University, his work ethic led him to a professional career in both the NBA, playing for the likes of the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors as well as internationally—playing for clubs in Spain, France, Turkey, Russia and Italy, to name a few.

Retiring in his early 30s, Mensah-Bonsu is still a part of the game—but on the decision-making side. Currently serving as the Capital City Go-Go's general manager of the G League (the official minor league of the NBA) in Washington, D.C., he's trying to blaze a trail for more diversity and inclusion in the NBA front office. "I really want to do my best and succeed at this next level because I know how profound and impactful it can be if it's done well," he says. "I put pressure on myself to work extra hard to make sure I can get to this position where I can have that impact on these guys and show them a mirror image of themselves and show them how possible it is."

We caught up with Pops Mensah-Bonsu to learn more about his journey navigating basketball stardom to calling the shots behind the scenes, his hopes for the newly established Basketball Africa League and more in the interview below.

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Music
25K. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

How a 3-Year-Old Song Earned SA Artist 25K a Deal with Universal & a Co-Sign From AKA

We interview 25K, the South African rapper poised to be the country's next star.

AKA was so moved by up-and-coming Pretoria rapper and producer 25K's single "Culture Vulture," he gave him a slot on his monumental Orchestra on the Square concert in March.

"The whole process when Kiernan (AKA's real name) reached out," recalls 25K, who will later admit AKA is one of his favorite artists, "that was like a dream come true for me. We were doing a gig, when I got home, I got a text, and it said, 'Yo, this is Kiernan, hit me back.' So, I saved the number, I was like, 'Yo,' then he FaceTimed me. He was like, '25K, I just had to reach you, dawg. Your song is great,' So, I was out of words. Just listening to him talk to me. He was like, 'Bro, we need to cook up something.' But eventually, time will tell. So the people will get to hear."

Thabiso Khathi, the respected hip-hop head & record label executive popularly known as Hip-Hop Scholar, as well as the newly appointed Head of Urban at Universal Music Group South Africa, lets the cat out of the bag. "I don't know if the world knows that AKA officially jumped on the remix for 'Culture Vulture,' which we will be bringing out in the next few weeks," says Scholar. Today, him and the label have gathered journalists at the Universal Music Group headquarters in Rosebank to witness the young artist's signing.

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News Brief
Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Nigerian-British Actor Susan Wokoma's First Rom-Com Feature Film Is In the Works

She's set to write and star in BBC Films-backed 'Three Weeks'—a rom-com drama about abortion.

Just two months ago, we got wind of Susan Wokoma landing a series regular role in CBS' new comedy pilot, Super Simple Love Story.

The Nigerian-British actor and 2017 BAFTA Breakthrough Brit honoree continues to make power moves in entertainment, as it was recently announced that she's in the process of writing her feature debut, Three Weeks, Variety reports.

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