Music
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Yaw Tog in "Fake Ex"

The 7 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sarkodie, Joeboy, Yaw Tog, Blxckie x Oxlade, Ayra Starr and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases 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.


Sarkodie 'Rollies and Cigars'

Ghanaian rap king Sarkodie comes through with the flashy music video for the Kayso-produced "Rollies and Cigars," off his newly-released album No Pressure. Watch the Yaw Skyface-directed clip above and make sure you check out our brand new interview with Sarkodie.

Ayra Starr '19 & Dangerous'

Mavin Records' new star, Ayra Starr, has shared her debut album, 19 & Dangerous. Throughout its 11-songs you can hear the Nigerian teenager showcase just why she's got the whole country paying attention. Check out our new interview with Ayra here.

Blxckie x Oxlade 'Joy'

South African hip-hop artist Blxckie connects with Nigerian star Oxlade for the uplifting "Joy." The single comes along with the announcement of B4 Now Deluze, a deluxe version of his debut album which will include features from Alone, Leodaleo, Rowlene, and Christer.

Yaw Tog 'Fake Ex'

18-year-old Yaw Tog, one of the main names coming out of Ghana's Drill scene, returned with the new visuals for "Fake Ex" off his Time EP. The Koopoku Studios-directed music video sees a girl do Yaw Tog wrong, but the rapper turns things around once he "makes it big."

GLOR1A 'Metal' EP

London-based GLOR1A continues her head-turning explorations into dysptopian electronic R&B with her new 7-song EP, Metal. This haunting collection of songs—which feature production from the likes of Gaika and Ikonika—is sung from the point of view of a malfunctioning Black femme-bot (GLOR1A). It's well-worth diving into. Revisit our past interview with GLOR1A for more.

Joeboy 'Better Thing'

Joeboy continues to drop visuals from his excellent album, Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic. Get into the lighthearted music video for "Better Thing" above.

M3NSA 'Eyes But No Eyes'

Ghana's M3NSA shares "Eyes But No Eyes," a song in which he poignantly points at the state of the world. The video is a beautiful play of light and dark, shot during a 10-hour blackout in Accra with the use of generators. Watch it above.

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


Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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