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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Tay Iwar: Nigeria's Most Reclusive Musician Opens Up

In his most open interview ever, the Nigerian artist demystifies himself, opening up about his reclusive personality and why emotions are the biggest drivers of his art.

Tay Iwar won't touch anything that lacks a strong emotional pull. It's a driver for all the music that he makes.

He has been a satiated lover ("Satisfied"), a vulnerable sage ("Weather Song"), an existentialist thinker ("Utero"), and a straight-up loser ("Sugardaddy") across his debut album's songs. "I fell in love with you and I almost died," he sings on "Monica," the lead single off that album, Gemini.

When I ask Tay about Gemini on a hot, sweaty afternoon at his Bantu Studio in Abuja, Nigeria, he seems proud of it. Staring into the distance, he says he considers the RnB fusion record his first album which doesn't have him selling emotions to people. He is simply expressing himself now, rather than the more "packaged" offerings on his previous projects Passport (2014) and Renascentia (2016). It's huge artistic growth for a 21-year-old, one in which he is basking.

Tay, born Austin Iornongu Iwar, hated it when his father forced him to take classic piano lessons at an early age. But by the time he was 13, and midway through high school, that sentiment had become the opposite; he had fallen deeply in love with the art, making music on his computer, and teaming up with his brothers—Sute and Terna Iwar—to co-found the Bantu Collective. His first love was the guitar, but something about making music on the colourful "video game" early version of the FL Studio software got him hooked. Mastering instruments, and becoming a sound engineer gave him a high-level of understanding of music creation. At 16, he released his debut project, Passport, which became an instant niche favorite, offering him a modicum of fame and demand that surprised the artist.

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Culture
Danielle Ekwueme.

This 21-Year-Old Entrepreneur Is Bringing Nigerian Palm Wine Into the Future One Bottle At a Time

With her bottled palm wine company "Pamii" Daniella Ekwueme is improving on tradition and filling a void in the Nigerian spirits market.

In 2016, Daniella Ekwueme, the founder of the Nigerian palm wine company Pamii, had a casual thought when looking out at her mother's land in Abuja. "She just had this farmland and she wasn't doing anything with it," she recalls. "So I was like 'Oh, have you ever thought of planting palm trees and getting palm oil or palm wine and boxing it up?"

While her mother's answer was no, the thought took hold in her young, entrepreneurial mind. She'd had palm wine—an alcoholic drink made from the sap of various species of palm trees and endeared to many Nigerians—at weddings and gatherings in the past, but it never quite "hit the spot" so to speak. "I realized that every time I've had palm wine in Lagos or Abuja, it's always off or sour. Because palm wine ferments, so the longer you leave it, it gets bitter and [undrinkable]. So anytime I've had it at weddings it just doesn't taste right to me."

This presented an opportunity for the young student who was just 18-years-old at the time and moving between Lagos, London and Abuja: she could improve upon an age-old product, still very much in demand, by revamping the production process and packaging it. After extensive research and visits to local palm wine farms in Abuja, Ekwueme decided she was ready to experiment. Along with a small team, she bottled her first batches of palm wine in December 2017, calling the product Pamii—a naturally-brewed, premium palm wine. Ekwueme's product is different—it fills a void in the Nigerian spirits market because it's actually Nigerian-made. She reminds me that while her company isn't the first to try bottling the beverage, others fell short due to "poor execution, poor branding," and failure to "cultivate a brand and lifestyle around it."

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Music

Rouge, Moozlie, A-Reece, J Molley & The Big Hash Will Be Part of Sway’s South African Cypher

Sway will certify more South African hyenas next month.

Sway is coming to South Africa for the #CastleLightUnlocks event. The renowned media personality has proven fond of South Africa's hip-hop scene (who wouldn't be?). Sway has hosted the likes of Cassper Nyovest, AKA, Nasty C, Stogie T and Kwesta on Sway In The Morning in the last three years.

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