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Sarkodie, Donae'o, Idris Elba "Party and Bullshit" music video.

The 11 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Nadia Nakai, Zlatan x Burna Boy, Yemi Alade, Sarkodie x Idris Elba x Donae'o, 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.



Zlatan 'Gbeku' ft. Burna Boy

Nigerian artists Zlatan and Burna Boy link up for another standout collaboration "Gbeku," from the former's upcoming album Zanku: The Album. On "Gbeku," Burna Boy shines one the chorus, singing rhythmically in Yoruba while Zlatan delivers animated verses in his raspy vocals throughout. They prove once again that they make for a stellar musical duo.

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Nadia Nakai 'Amai'

For her debut album, titled Nadia Naked, Nadia Nakai gives her listener more than just bravado in the form of chest-punching raps. In some songs, the South African/Zimbabwean rapper tells the story of the person behind the feisty and intimidating character that is Nadia Nakai as we all know her. One such song is "Amai." In the song, the rapper lets the listener in on how her mother has always been there for her, rapping: "The machine I cannot live without/ She pick me up when I break down/ Now I'm up, I bow down." In the song's music video, Nadia can be seen getting draped in mold in the process of making a bust of the rapper.

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Sarkodie, Donae'O & Idris Elba 'Party & Bulls#!t'

Award-winning Ghanian rapper Sarkodie connects with none other than Idris Elba and singer and producer Donae'o for a memorable music video for their new collaboration "Party & Bullshit." As the title implies, the song is all about letting loose, celebrating life and having a good time. The track opens with Sarkodie delivering a rapid-fire verse. His impressive flow shines through as he raps completely in Twi. Elba joins in with an energetic second verse that humorously references fufu, while Donae'o provides the song's catchy, anthemic chorus.

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Davido 'Risky' ft. Popcaan

Davido has just released his brand new single, "Risky," a taste from his upcoming album A Good Time, which is set to drop on November 22, 2019. The new single sees the Nigerian heavyweight connecting with Jamaican star Popcaan as they both go in over afrofusion-meets-dancehall beat work. It was produced by DMW's in-house beatmaker Speroach Beatz. The track notably features Davido doing a cheeky flip of his own freestyle he did on Shade 45 earlier this year, which was made fun of across social media. "What you all laughed at !! You will dance to !! " Davido posted on Twitter.

New Music: Listen to Davido's New Album 'A Good Time'

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Amanda Black 'Power'

Three years since the release of her critically acclaimed debut album Amazulu, Amanda Black returns with her second full-length project. The 18-track album is titled Power, and kicks off with a fitting spoken word piece by Kush Mahleka. The music on Power is big, as it provides both electronic sounds and actual instruments. It will sound even bigger when interpreted by a band live. Power sounds both mature and youthful, and Amanda's voice still fills up your headphones, and her songwriting is sharper and even more personal than on Amazulu.

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Cina Soul 'Killi Mi'

23-year-old Ghanaian singer Cina Soul has delivered a powerful track that addresses gender based violence and the various abuses women face. The track, called "Killi Mi," is generating a lot of responses and love on Twitter, with many in awe of the emotion they feel from the 2019 Ghanaian female vocalist of the year nominee.

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Yemi Alade 'Vibe'

Yemi Alade, the Nigerian video queen, returns with a new visual for "Vibe." "It is the fifth track on her latest album, Woman of Steel, and, like the rest of the album, it presents a more liberated, more confident, no-holds-barred Alade. The album, she's said, "is all about drawing the inner strength that you have in you and being the superhero that you've always needed." In "Vibe" we hear the artist speaking on sexual liberation and coming to terms with the" vibe" of love she wants.

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Mafikizolo 'Ngeke Balunge'

Beloved music duo Mafikizolo is back with another Afro-soul anthem that will tug at your heartstrings. Their new single "Ngeke Balunge" is a beautiful love song that sees them returning to the sound that first catapulted them to mainstream success in the early 2000s. Singing "Ngeke balunge, Ngeke bas'qede" the duo describe how those around them will never succeed in coming between their love for one another because they will always find their way back to each other—just as with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

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Femi Kuti x Stromae x Coldplay 'Arabesque'

In a sentence we never thought we'd type, both Femi Kuti and Stromae appear on a new song from Coldplay. Both the Nigerian legend and Belgian pop star are featured on "Arabesque," a newly released Coldplay track from their upcoming "more experimental" album Everyday Life (due November 22 via Parlophone/Atlantic). "Arabesque" is an expansive composition built on what sounds like North African-inspired guitars and rhythms, which call to mind the likes of Bombino and Tinariwen. The song sees Stromae delivering a verse in French.

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Zlatan 'Yeye Boyfriend'

Nigerian artist Zlatan drops a new single ahead of the release of his upcoming debut album Zanku: The Album. On "Yeye Boyfriend" the popular "Zanku (Leg Work)" singer reasons for breaking up with time-wasting boyfriends (yeye is a humorous Yoruba term often used to describe someone as "useless" or "senseless"). The song is a change of pace for the artist, as it features him singing lightheartedly rather than delivering the grittier rap sound he's known for. The comedic video sees the artist playing the role of a therapist to several failing couples. He calls his practice "Yeye Family Therapy." The video was shot by Visionary Pictures.

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Larry Gaaga & Davido 'Work (Living in Bondage)'

Nigerian music exec turned radio superstar Larry Gaaga has once again teamed up with fellow Naija hotshot Davido for his latest single, "Work (Living in Bondage)." The track features Davido's vocals crooning a sensual love song. His voice sits atop an uplifting but slow beat from Gaaga that has crisp percussion hits keeping the tempo moving.

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


Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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