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Kuvie 'Gruvie Vol. 1' artwork cover detail.

The 9 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Black Coffee, Kuvie, Juls x Wande Coal, Obongjayar 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.


Black Coffee 'Music Is King' EP

Black Coffee released a surprise EP on Friday titled Music is King. The 6-track project features Samthing Soweto, Msaki, Mlondi Ngcobo, Zhao, Mbuso Khoza and jazz maestro Nduduzo Makhathini. Music is King is Black Coffee in true form; soulful vocal house are what you'll get on the project. The EP's title is the same name as the DJ and producer's upcoming concert taking place on the 15th of December at the Ticketpro Dome. Joining Coffee on the lineup will be Swizz Beatz, Nasty C, Lady Zamar, Burna Boy, Riky Rick, DJ Kenzhero and DJ China.

Find out more.

Juls & Wande Coal 'Sister Girl' 

Juls and Wande Coal follow-up their last great collaboration, "So Mi So," with this new single, "Sister Girl." The new track sees Wande Coal singing about "a cheeky woman who does anything in her power to get what she wants and live a very lavish lifestyle," a statement from the artists' reads. The Nigerian artist is backed by Juls' equally-lavish blend of afrobeats elements with a South African-house inspired beat.

Find out more


Kuvie 'Energy' feat. RJZ & B4Bonah

Kuvie is the producer defining the new age of Ghanaian music. The talented beatmaker is at the forefront of the new school in Ghana when it comes to production. Featuring a unique take on afrobeats, Kuvie continues to craft hit songs for mainstream acts as well as emerging acts in Accra's vibrant music scene. In May he dropped his debut album, Gruvie Vol.1, which has to be one of the best projects out this year. Love, music and art blend in Kuvie's new visuals for "Energy," a dreamy track from his LP which features B4bonah and La Meme Gang member RJZ.

Find out more

Wandile Mbambeni 'Kwakumnandi'

South African singer Wandile Mbambeni just released the visuals for "Kwakumnandi," the first single to his debut album of the same name. In the song, the artist reminisces about the good old days of childhood, when life was still simple; like when your biggest worry was making sure you passed in school.

Find out more

Obongjayar 'Never Change'

Nigerian-born, London-based act Obongjayar comes through with a striking and, at times, frightening new visual for his latest single, ""Never Change." The new track, which is inspired by his youth in Nigeria, follows Obongjayar's previous piano-led ballad, "Adjacent Heart," and closes out a year in which the rising artist worked on the Mercury Prize-nominated Everything Is Recorded record. Obongjayar mentions that, "Never Change is inspired by growing up in Calabar. It's a reflection on growing older and seeing the world through a different lens, witnessing the corruptions and negativity that often surrounds us—and an attempt to maintain the innocence of childhood."

"Never Change" is available now

Da L.E.S, AKA and Emtee ‘Iced Out’

Da L.E.S enlists the services of AKA and Emtee in his latest single. The single, which is titled "Iced Out," sees the three superstars talking about their jewelry and money, with L.E.S crooning, "Balenciagas on my feet, you know I'm getting mine/ 'Cause you know my jewelry colder than the winter time." The song is highly likely to grown on you after a few listens, but compared to similar collaborations by L.E.S and AKA, it lacks the x-factor that made songs such as "Heaven" and "Real Stuff" the classics they are.

Find out more

Robin ThirdFloor & Mark Akol ‘Isomiso’ EP

The Durban-based rapper Robin ThirdFloor continues experimenting with different production styles for his raps to float over. In this new EP, titled Isomiso, the MC teams up with Cape Town-based DJ and producer Mark Akol for three songs that take inspiration from grime, electronic music, kwaito and hip-hop. The MC spits sparse Zulu raps over quaking distorted bass lines and a selection of synths and pads. Isomiso sees Robin playing around with different flows, covering subjects such as weed, hustling and ambition.

Find out more

Ahmoudou Madassane 'Zerzura' OST

The film Zerzura is promoted as "the first ever Saharan acid Western." It follows the story of a nomad's search for a magic city of gold. That desert journey is excellently soundtracked by Ahomoudou Madassane's (Mdou Moctar, Les Filles de Illighadad) free form guitar improvisations, which channel Tuareg blues guitars into ambient soundscapes. It's a serenely beautiful depiction of the desert.

Zerzura OST is available now

DJ Lag and Moses Boyd ‘Drumming’

South African gqom DJ and producer DJ Lag just released the visuals to his song "Drumming," from his EP Stampit, which came out in September. The song features UK jazz musician Moses Boyd, who handles the drums on the song. The video intercuts scenes of DJ Lag showing some dance moves in a dimly lit basement and Boyd playing drums. The music video was directed by South African photographer and filmmaker Chris Saunders.

Find out more

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


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Photo still courtesy of YouNeek Studios.

The Official Trailer for 'Malika: Warrior Queen' Is Here

Malika surely means business in the clip that sets the scene for YouNeek Studios' newest animated pilot.

After much anticipation, the new trailer for Malika: Warrior Queen, starring Nollywood's own Adesua Etomi, is finally here.

In the trailer, we already see the Warrior Queen fearlessly stand up to defend her people against enemies who have set their sights on seizing her expanding empire of Azzaz. Facing threats of invasion by foreign cultures, Malika now has to decide how to fight a war both inside her kingdom and outside of it.

"War is coming," she declares.

Malika: Warrior Queen was executive produced by Niyi Akinmolayan of Anthill Studios. The series has been three years in the making, with a two-part comic series already available for reading; and even more so in line with YouNeek Studios' mission to create stories inspired by African history, culture and mythology.

Joining Etomi in the cast are Femi Branch, voicing Chief Dogbari, Deyemi Okanlowon, voicing the WindMaker and King Bass, Blossom Chukwujekwu as Abdul and Sambassa Nzeribe, voicing General Ras.

Check it out below.

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All photos courtesy of Remi Dada

Afropreneurs: Meet the Designer Reinventing Nigerian Workspaces

Remi Dada's Spacefinish is shaking up design to create futuristic work environments for African companies

In the digital age when a fancy rectangle in our pockets can find us whatever we want, customize it and deliver it to our door, it's odd that the same thought process isn't also applied to physical space. Why does every parking lot feel exactly the same? Can waiting rooms be designed to make time pass more quickly? How can we bring these new standards of personalization into the areas where we live our lives?

Nigerian designer, Remi Dada, is doing just that. With both architecture and business degrees, Dada started his career in tech working in user experience and product marketing–eventually ending up at Google Nigeria. Once he started working in the office however, Dada didn't find it to be an environment that sparked inspiration or productivity. It felt more like rooms with tables and chairs rather than a place that nurtured new, progressive ideas. Luckily, the perfect project presented itself: redesign the office. Dada jumped at the opportunity to meld his practical knowledge in user experience with his love of design and architecture–and the result turned some heads.

Thus Spacefinish was born, a pioneering design company based in Nigeria that works with companies to transform ordinary office space into beautiful and functional environments that increase productivity and employee satisfaction. I spoke with Dada about the purpose of Spacefinish, the importance of design in the workspace and the unique properties of designing in Nigeria for Nigerians. Read on for insights from the design entrepreneur on the impact of spaces and what the future holds for the company.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Nereya Otieno for OkayAfrica: In your experience, how important is workspace environment in Lagos? How is it viewed?

It hasn't been prioritized. A lot of employers do not invest heavily in their employees and you can see that in work spaces all over the world. Now, people are also beginning to understand that high-performing employees–especially millennials–want to work in a space that inspires them and with people who inspire them. Right now in Nigeria it is still very new.

We've been able to measure how companies have been performing prior to us renovating their space and afterwards. What we've seen consistently is that our spaces help with employee retention, they help with collaboration and they help with inspiration. One important thing that we always measure and that we try and add to our design is what we call 'PIC.' PIC is the measure of productivity, innovation and collaboration–now we can track that within a workspace. These three key things are the pillars of how we create better work spaces.


A sketch showing plans for a space in the PwC Experience Centre, Lagos.

With that data, it's probably pretty simple to pitch Spacefinish to a company. But what was it like in the beginning to try and sell the first Spacefinish idea outside of Google? You're essentially coming into a stranger's space and saying 'you're doing this wrong.'

True. We were very lucky in that the first space we did was a Google office. It's Google. Everyone aspires to have a workplace like Google and people visiting the office were curious about how a space like that could exist in Nigeria. So there was a lot of interest but no commitments. Our first real commitment came from a company called Andela, a tech startup aspiring to be like the spaces you see in Silicon Valley. But they were looking to create a space just to meet their capacity and meet their head count, that was all. They thought they wouldn't be able to afford what we'd done for Google.

I went and pitched for them to do something different instead of creating the standard, generic workspace that we've all seen. Then I took our approach: connect the expense and cost of that project to the potential output of the team working there and how that could affect the company's bottom line. When we do that, it becomes an easier conversation to have. Once we are able to connect with the key decision makers and give them metrics they actually care about—like it's not about having a pretty space but about having a space that will allow people to achieve their short and long-term goals—they tend to be more receptive.

A meeting room at the Google offices in Lagos.

Do you feel like a bit of a disruptor or trouble maker?

I would say when we started we didn't feel like a disruptor. For me, it felt very natural because it was in line with what I was hired for and the world I was coming from. When you work at Google, you tend to live in an innovation bubble. So we didn't feel like disruptors while it was happening, but when we got people's reactions—the industry's reaction—then we realized that what we were doing was actually groundbreaking and very new to that part of the world.

Okay. And then what do you do after that? You just keep poking at that nerve?

Yeah. [Laughs] So what happens after that is the floodgates open up and we start to see a lot more demand than we can handle as a company. That gave me the confidence to quit my job at Google and do this full time. We are now starting to figure out how to do it to the best of our capacity at the same level, and sometimes surpassing, what our peers are doing across the world.

What do you find is the most important element within the workspace? How does Spacefinish highlight that?

People are the most important element in the workspace. One CEO said that his team was very unruly—weren't well composed. There is a mentality that we all subscribe to, especially coming from Nigeria where you see people at the local airports not obeying the rules. But those same people, as soon as they land in Heathrow, they're suddenly very compliant. They're the same people. The only thing that changed is their environment. New spaces can cause people to change their behavior—they morph into the space. For that client, the leadership was very happy that their team members began acting in the way they wanted them to act when we changed the space. The psychology of the whole thing is very interesting. That's why we take a human-centered approach to design, with a lot of qualitative and quantitative research before we begin.

View of the Vibranium Valley warehouse workspace in Lagos.

I'm originally from California and I grew up in Silicon Valley–it's a very peculiar place simply because of the concentration of resources. There are surely different challenges for a developer in Nigeria versus one in Silicon Valley. What is the most unique thing for you, after all your travels and experience, that makes designing for Nigeria special?

That's a really good question. You rarely find imagery of inland Africa that is progressive and modern. The first time in recent times was the Black Panther movie and that's why it was so huge. Kids could see a different version of what Africa could be in their collective imagination. I'm making this correlation because that is what I think is different for us, from a design standpoint. For example, the Google office in Nigeria looks very Nigerian. It has a lot of cultural nuances and it is locally relevant to the region, however it is a very sophisticated and modern space with all the right technology. There's videoconferencing, micro-efficiency, access control and security but with the backdrop of an African space. When people see that, it feels very fresh and new and there is so much content that we can use to inspire–from artwork to traditions–and we infuse all those things in to the spaces we're creating.

Do you have a favorite space you've done?

All the spaces we've done have been fantastic. But I think my favorite to date is the PwC office, it is an innovation hub and a huge cultural departure for PwC. They are more or less known as a rigid, stoic brand and they wanted a space that defied all of those things. So we created an innovation hub that was super, super, super futuristic and the first of its kind in West Africa. Anyone who knows interior fitouts understands that lines are straightforward but curves are complicated. This space has a lot of curves. That's difficult to do anywhere in the world but 10 times more complicated in Nigeria because we just don't have access to the right tools and technology that you will find elsewhere. But it came out very well and that has been my most exciting space so far.

A look at the PwC Experience Centre, Lagos

Was it also the most challenging?

It was, yes, because of the design ideas we wanted to achieve. We have things like revolving doors that were inspired by the hobbits' shire in Lord of the Rings and a single workstation that extends across the entire space. There are a lot of lights, floating elements and Nsibidi—an ancient African writing system that we used to create a new language. The artwork is very deep and gives a timeline of different instances in Africa where technology has inspired innovation. It was a very involved and challenging project. But we do the challenging things because we feel it allows us to move forward and push boundaries.

Sure. It's exciting for you and everyone you work with but also, I'd say, for the local contractors and artists doing the artwork.

You know, that is something that we do differently. Most architecture firms just design but we design and build. We do that because, when we started, no one in the market really understood what we were doing. We were asking for materials that didn't exist so we had to create our own. Also, everything we do is local, we don't import anything–which can be an even bigger challenge. But we want to know that we are helping to build industries here in Nigeria, we want to help fix the lack of resources in this part of the world. We could import but it doesn't help the community and economic infrastructure in the long run.

A meeting room in Vibranium Valley

I think the first time our impact hit me was when we were building a place called Vibranium Valley. That's been our biggest project so far: a 2,000 square meter office that was built in a massive warehouse. I went there on a Wednesday one day and we had over 200 people working in the space. And for the first time I was like, "Wow, we really have the ability to create jobs as well." It put things in context for me.

Are there any plans to venture outside of offices and corporate workspaces with your human-centered approach? Classrooms, waiting rooms, etc.?

We are actually about to embark on our first non-office project. We are designing and building the interior of two international airports in Nigeria: Lagos and Port Harcourt. Two very massive projects that we couldn't say no to because...no one says no to international airports [Laughs]. So it's a good way to toss us into things outside of the workspace. So everyone should come fly to Nigeria and check it out when we're finished.

Catch Nereya on her Instagram here.

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Still from 'Harriet' trailer.

Watch Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman In the Moving New Trailer for 'Harriet'

The highly-anticipated biopic about the life of the iconic freedom fighter is due out on November 1.

Back in 2017, it was announced that Tony-winning actor and singer Cynthia Erivo would be taking on the role of the iconic freedom fighter Harriet Tubman in the upcoming biopic Harriet. We've been anticipating its release ever since, and today, the trailer for the buzzed about film has finally arrived.

The moving and climactic trailer sees Erivo delivering a convincing performance as Tubman. The film follows the hero's journey from escaping slavery to becoming a legendary abolitionist and freedom fighter. Here's the official description of the film via Shadow & Act:

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery and transformation into one of America's greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.
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