Stonebwoy in "Tuff Seed"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Stonebwoy, Mahmoud Ahmed, Tiwa Savage x Zlatan, Africa Express, Juls x Mr Eazi 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.



Stonebwoy 'Tuff Seed'

Stonebwoy comes through with the new single, "Tuff Seed." The uplifting Streetbeatz-produced single sees the Ghanaian star singing about remaining tough and strong when facing life's issues. The accompanying music video for "Tuff Seed" was directed Adasa Cookey. Stonebwoy mentions, "People have to realize that they have to be mentally strong and they have to know that they are seeds. No matter what people do to them, or what they go through, they have to get down there, they have to be buried to grow into trees to grow fruit. This is a very inspirational song."

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Zlatan x Tiwa Savage 'Shotan'

Tiwa Savage shares another fiery collaboration, this time with buzzing Nigerian artist Zlatan. Following the release of the bubbly "Ello Baby" earlier this month featuring Kizz Daniel and producer Young John, the singer enlists the "Zanku (Leg Work) singer for the sultry "Shotan." A bodacious track that sees the artists trading lines back and forth in Yoruba. Tiwa sings about one-upping her naysayers, and commanding a room when she walks in, while Zlatan joins in on the second verse. The song's smooth production comes from none-other than Nigerian beat maker Spellz.

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Africa Express 'EGOLI'

Africa Express is back with the entrancing new album, EGOLI. Throughout its 18 tracks the music collective, which was co-founded by Damon Albarn, concentrates on the sounds of South Africa. The entirety of the new record was recorded in just a week of collaborations in Johannesburg. EGOLI includes buzzing South African names like Moonchild Sanelly, Sho Madjozi, BCUC, BLK JKS, FAKA, Mahotella Queens, Muzi, Morena Leraba, Nonku Phiri, Radio 123, and Sibot. It also features a posthumous track with DJ Spoko.

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Juls & Mr Eazi 'Cake'

Frequent collaborators Juls and Mr Eazi, link up once again on "Cake." The two-and-a-half minute track sees Mr Eazi singing about his love interest's derrière atop mid tempo production. On the catchy chorus, the artist references DJ Tjaey's 2017 hit, "Look Like You," dropping lines about a girl who gives him a "sugar rush."

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Tommy T featuring Mahmoud Ahmed 'ANCHIN አንቺን'

Gogol Bordello bass player Tommy T was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He connects with the legendary Ethiopian artist Mahmoud Ahmed for his latest single "Anchin," which translates to the feminine pronoun 'you' in Amharic. Tommy T explains that the song "fuses roots reggae with the very familiar sound of Ethiopia's musical golden era."

DJ Tunez 'Gbese' ft Wizkid & Blaqjerzee

DJ Tunez and Wizkid share the music video for their standout collaboration, "Gbese." The fun and stripped down video begins with DJ Tunez and a group of women look party-ready as they saunter around in their traditional attire. Wizkid enters the shot later, delivering a mellowed-out live performance backed by DJ Tunez, who's a three-man band on the keyboard, drums and guitar. The duo appear laidback and carefree as they perform in the all-white space, complementing the track's breezy production by Blaqjerzee.

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Chidokeyz 'Fibadi' feat. Wizkid 

A few days ago, Chidokeyz and Wizkid dropped their new joint "Fibadi" produced by BlaqJerzee. Now they're back with the music video for the song and their synergism is wild. The up-and-coming artist Chidokeyz teamed up with Nigerian royalty Wizkid to deliver a really solid visual. "Fibadi" is the second single that Chidokeyz has released this year following his "Body" single featuring Ceeza Milli back in January.

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Nova 'Angela' (Prod. by BankyOnDBeatz)

Nova, the Toronto-based, Lagos-raised singer and rapper, returns with his latest single "Angela," the hazy and addictive lead track from his upcoming release, S.T.A.Y. (Still Think About You). BankyOnDBeatz handles the production on this new track which you'll have on repeat.

"Angela" is available everywhere now.

Dave - Location (ft. Burna Boy)

Dave and Burna Boy share the music video for their popular collaboration "Location," a standout from the British-Nigerian rappers's critically-acclaimed debut album Psychodrama, which dropped in March. Dave is in full celebration mode in the self-directed music video, which features cameos from Stormzy, Michael Dapaah and a newly freed J Hus. Burna Boy gives an energetic performance, joining Dave and a group of friends at well-lit outdoor party. The video brings to life a tweet that Dave shared earlier this year, upon the release of his album.

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King Monada feat Leon Lee 'One Day'

South African hitmaker King Monada is not resting this year. The artist and producer has been releasing singles consistently and collaborating with other artists. His recent single is titled "One Day," and speaks of longing for the day when one's life is what they hope it will be.

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Lady Donli 'SUFFER SUFFER'

Lady Donli continues to flex her creative muscles with her newest track, "Suffer Suffer." Nigeria's very own pulls from the old and not so old of Nigerian pop-culture as we await the release of her new album. The song begins with Fela Kuti-inspired chanting: "Suffer suffer suffer no go come here, no come my way." It's definitely a mantra we all should bear in mind—the stress isn't worth it.

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Katini 'Neon Lights'

Katini Yamaoka is a Ghanaian-Japanese singer based in NYC. She comes through with the new single, "Neon Lights," an electro-pop ode to nights out in the city produced by Rance Dopson. Get into 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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