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The 11 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Falz, Samthing Soweto, Blaqbonez, Major League DJz, Lous & The Yakuza 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.


Samthing Soweto 'Isphithiphithi' LP

One of the most anticipated albums of the year, Isiphithiphithi by Samthing Soweto is finally here. The South African artist's project consists of 12 songs and features Makhafula Vilakazi, Shasha, Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa and Mlindo The Vocalist. Isiphithiphithi is not as chaotic as the name states. Most of the project consists of soulful songs that are still danceable. The artist's effortless vocals float over rich production that flirts with dance music and Afro pop.

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Lous and The Yakuza 'Dilemme'

Artist Lous and the Yakuza debuts an edgy and effortlessly cool video for "Dilemme," the first single from her upcoming debut album, Gore. Both the track, produced by El Guincho, and video are perfect for the late September vibe–chilled out but pulsing with quiet energy. "Dilemme" is smooth trap with melodic and sombre lyrics that make you both bop and think. The video, directed by Wendy Morgan, is somewhat biographical of 23-year-old Lous' life. In the video, Lous is literally wearing multiple identities, each complete with their own environment.

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Blaqbonez 'Shut Up'

Nigerian rapper Blaqbonez—whose debut album, Bad Boy Blaq, we dubbed one of last year's most accomplished releases—comes through with his new single, "Shut Up." The new single is a strong dose of braggadocious rhymes from the 100 Crowns and Chocolate City rapper, all laid over a head-nodding beat by Tempoe that straddles dancehall and afro-fusion influences. The single's video, directed by TG Omori, features some eye-catching scenes of the rapper performing on top of a moving car and of his crew riding motorcycles in dresses.

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MAJOR LEAGUE DJZ x FOCALISTIC 'OVERLOAD'

Major League DJz's latest single is "Overload," which the DJ and producer duo just highlighted with visuals. The song features Focalistic, who's affiliated with the duo. Focalistic raps about spending time with the flyest girls. In the one-liner hook, he chants "overload," which is a reference to a woman's big derrière, as can be seen in the video. A woman in red pants turns heads as she parades her "overloaded" behind in a taxi rank.

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Muzi 'Good Vibes Only' feat. Espacio Dios

Muzi announced his third studio album today. The 12-track project will be titled Zeno, and will feature Samthing Soweto, Bad Self, Blackrose, BCUC and Espcaio Dios. The latter appears on the album's first single titled "Good Vibes Only." The song is yours when you pre-order or pre-save Zeno. "Good Vibes Only," as the title suggests, is a feel-good tune. It features vocals from both Muzi and his guest. It's electronic music decorated with Afrocentric percussion and guitar.

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Falz 'Loving'

Falz returns with his latest single "Loving." As the song's title implies, the song is all about the Nigerian rapper professing his love to a woman. "If you need some loving, I'll be at your door," he sings over light juju-inspired production. The lighthearted love songs sees the artist taking a break from heavier, political tone of much of his more recent tracks, including last year's viral hit "This Is Nigeria."

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Nüfrika 'Sahel' EP

Nüfrika is a new project from rising producers Pekodjinn & Rolv.K, who take influences from their respective backgrounds in Tunisia & Sierra Leone and blend them with a broad range of electronic styles from their home of Geneva and the rest of Europe. Their new 6-song EP, Sahel, is a perfect introduction to their self-coined "African & Maghreb club music," which is sure to get your feet on the dance floor. Check out the standout EP track, "Bye Bye, Viens," above.

Sahel EP is available now

DJ Sydney Love 'Ma Jo' feat. SoFresh

NYC-based Nigerian DJ Sydney Love comes through with a hugely-addictive new jam alongside SoFresh. "Ma Jo," with its head-nodding afro-fusion beat work, is tailor made for your parties—and you can here it live at Sydney Love's monthly Naira Party or this weekend at our own An OkayAfrica Party at Lot45.

"Ma Jo" is available now

'Clan Beats' EP

DJ Maphorisa recently teamed up with the beer brand Castle Milk Stout to release an EP. The project, which is titled Clan Beats, pairs up contemporary with veteran South African musicians on four songs that explore identity. There are four South African ethnic groups represented in the project; Xhosa (Thandiswa Mazwai, Zolani Mkiva), Tswana (KB, Stoan), Zulu (Sjava, Madala Kunene), Tsonga (Sho Madjozi, Dr Sithole).

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Notche 

Here's a collection of eight tracks that you need to hear from producer Notche, who expertly blends influences from afro-fusion, hip-hop, R&B and much more in his new self-titled project. Notche, who's used to being behind the recording console, is now stepping out from behind the scenes and into his own with this new release. Get into it above.

Notche is available



Jah Cure 'Royal Soldier'

Jamaican star Jah Cure traveled to Kenya to film his recent music video for "Royal Soldier," the title track from his latest album which includes features from the likes of Popcaan, Damien Marley, Tory Lanez, and more. Watch the Nairobi-shot video above.

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


Interview
Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Sarz Has Powered a Generation of Nigerian Music—and He Isn't Stopping Anytime Soon

We talk to the star producer about his role in the rising global popularity of Nigerian music, spanning his production on massive singles from the likes of Wizkid, Skepta, Drake and more.

"I think more than the music, the narrative is more important these days," says Sarz as he sits at the offices of his press agency. "So one great song with an amazing narrative can get you farther than five great songs sometimes."

When Sarz talks about music, his eyes light up. They dart with excitement as he runs through topics like sounds, production, trends, and innovation. These are all words that represent his life's work of impactful music production, which has powered a generation of music in Nigeria, and is currently playing a role in its international future. Sitting at the offices, decked in a white t-shirt, red trousers and Nike kicks, he makes a point that he rarely grants interviews. And when he does, it's in spaces like this, in rooms and studios where his business is conducted, and his work is birthed and refined for public impact.

Born Osabuohien Osaretin, the 30-year-old music producer discovered sounds by accident when his ears would automatically pick apart music and focus on the beat. Interestingly, he discovered that he could remember every beat in detail. It was the entry point to a career that took off in 2010 when he scored his first hit on Jahbless' "Joor Oh" remix—during the formative stages of the current Nigerian pop success—and has provided sounds that have shaped the culture and given it its biggest moments.

With afrobeats' global ambitions taking off, Sarz's production is playing crucial roles in celebrated cross-cultural projects. He's helmed Drake's "One Dance," unlocked the chemistry between Wizkid and Skepta on "Energy (Stay Far Away)," and added composition on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift album.

"I'm inspired by the thoughts of how far I can take music. Just thinking about where this music can take me to," Sarz says, taking swigs from a water bottle. The producer has also worked with the biggest stars in afrobeats, and a look through his catalogue has hits every year since 2007.

He talks passionately about his work, the source of inspiration, where good music originates from, and how he identifies where to direct his energies. He runs an academy that has been a vehicle for delivering new producers to the culture. Sarz converses with range, a brimming energy, and a humility that is tied to purpose and achievements. He never shies away from topics that examine his revered place in this ecosystem, admitting without bragging that he is no one's mate. Even his 2019 SINYM EP is affirmation that "Sarz Is Not Your Mate." He has seen a lot and has a lot to say.

Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

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Still from YouTube

Watch Yemi Alade's New Music Video for 'Shake' Featuring Duncan Mighty

The "Nigerian Queen of Music Videos" does it again.

Yemi Alade returns with the visuals for her single "Shake," one of the many infectious tracks from her latest album Woman of Steel.

In the Paul Gambit-directed music video, the singer shows off her sensual side, first posing on a bed in an elegant powder blue mesh gown, before heading into several dance sequences. As usual, the singer serves in a number of stunning, eye-catching looks.

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'54 Silhouettes' at the British Council of Nigeria's Lagos Theatre Festival. Photo: Drive Adebayo.

'54 Silhouettes' Is the One-Man Play Exploring What Happens When Other People Tell Our Stories

The play is the first from Nigeria to show at the international United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC.

Playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director Africa Ukoh's award-winning play 54 Silhouettes has made its way to New York City as part of the United Solo Festival, the annual international festival, highlighting solo theatre performances through a "variety of one-person shows."

The one-man play stars the award-winning Nigerian actor Charles Etubiebi as a struggling actor who thinks he's landed his big break when he gets a major role in an upcoming blockbuster, he becomes conflicted, however, when he learns the film is yet another stereotypical "war in Africa" production—the type of film he vowed to never do. "Caught between career ambitions and ideals of his African identity, he must decide whether to do the film or ditch it," reads an official description of the show.

"The play explores African representation in global media and asks questions about creative responsibility, with tensions of cross cultural relations at the center of it all," Ukoh tells OkayAfrica. "It explores the inherent complexities in culturally unique stories being told by people of different cultures and how this intersects with power dynamics, commerce, and artistic ideals."

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Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Sho Madjozi Accuses Organizers of 'Africans Unite' of Using Xenophobia as a 'Marketing Ploy'

The South African rapper has spoken out about why she declined to perform at the now cancelled concert.

Yesterday, the much-anticipated "Africans Unite" concert was cancelled after Burna Boy pulled out of his scheduled performances in South Africa. This comes after South African artists spoke out against Burna Boy performing following his heated Twitter exchange with rapper AKA. While some were disappointed, others felt the exact opposite. Sho Madjozi, who has weighed in on the debate before during the September xenophobic attacks, has once again spoken out. This time, the "John Cena" star has called out against the organizers of the concert, Phambili Media and Play Network Africa.

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