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Photo: JM Films.

The 13 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Tiwa Savage, Black Coffee x Usher, Reekado Banks, Bas, Burna Boy 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.



Tiwa Savage '49-99'

Tiwa Savage shares her latest song and video "49-99." The pulsating track sees the artist referencing Fela Kuti's famous "49 sitting, 99 standing" line from his 1978 song "Shuffering and Shmiling." Throughout the track, the Nigerian artist sings about the pursuit of money in her home country, offering commentary on widespread poverty.

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Black Coffee 'LaLaLa' feat. Usher

Black Coffee's latest song "LaLaLa" features R&B superstar Usher. The song provides the soulful vocals of Usher with Black Coffee's spacious house beats. "LaLaLa" is a dance song that hints at the upcoming summer in South Africa. Just like with most of Black Coffee's productions, the song boasts sultry sophistication with a selection of en vogue electronic sounds. Usher promises an intimate dance off, as he sounds at home over Black Coffee's production.

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Reekado Banks 'Rora'

Reekado Banks is back after a quiet period with "Rora," his first single of 2019 and the lead track from his upcoming album. "Rora" (translated from Yoruba as 'Take It Easy') is a highly-addictive production built on mid-tempo beatwork, highlife influences, and playful lyrics aimed at a love interest. "The new single 'Rora' was produced by Tuzi and Altims," Reekado tells OkayAfrica. "Tuzi produced [previous single] 'Sensima,' and Altims is one of my favorite producers from way back. He's signed to Mavin Records, my former label. We linked up again and made this one which feels really special to me."

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Bas 'Jollof Rice' feat. EarthGang

Paris-born, New York-raised, Sudanese rapper, Bas shares the music video for "Jollof Rice" a standout from his latest project Spilled Milk Volume 1, featuring Atlanta duo and fellow Dreamville members, EarthGang. On the infectious song, produced by DZL the rappers spit boisterous lyrics and talk about their many desires: one of them being having their crush cook them jollof rice. Bas told Beats 1 Radio last month that the song and others on the project, were inspired by a recent trip he took to Lagos with label head, J. Cole.

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Burna Boy 'Gum Body' feat. Jorja Smith

Burna Boy continues his victory lap around African Giant with the release of his new music video for "Gum Body," featuring Jorja Smith. The new Meji Alabi-directed video follows the Nigerian star and Jorja Smith as they play out a courtship, of sorts, in a dark apartment with plenty of Hennessy. The two buzzing acts have been collaborating a bit together, as Burna Boy recently joined Jorja for her single "Be Honest."

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pH Raw X 'Ibeballinho' feat. Sho Madjozi

In July, pH Raw X and Sho Madjozi released a promising single titled "Ibeballinho." On the song, the two rappers share a catchy trap beat with a quaking bass line, which they lace with fitting raps. The recently released visuals for the song complement it well. pH and Sho Madjozi look on the video as happy as they sound on the song, especially the latter, who's known for her lively and light-hearted raps.

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BLK JKS 'Harare' feat. Morena Leraba

BLK JKS are back! Ten years after their much-hyped debut album came out, the South African outfit have announced that they will be releasing a new record, tentatively titled Before Humans. BLK JKS are sharing the upcoming album's lead single "Harare," a song of migration featuring Lesotho vocalist Morena Leraba. ""It's always been about reaching deeper into roots, as nothing has a more significant impact on our collective presents and futures," the band mentions. Get into it above.

"Harare" is available now

Yemi Alade 'Home' 

Following the release of her album, Woman of Steel last week, Yemi Alade has released a music videoand now a short film for her lead single "Home." The emotional short follows a tortured love story between Yemi, who plays Nneka in the film and her lover Austine (played by Frankincense Eche-Ben). She has to escape an abusive grandmother and a mundane life in rural Nigeria in order to be reunited with him, in the hopes that they can run away together and live a better life.

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K.O x Nandi Madida 'Say U Will'

K.O and Nandi Madida just shared the visuals for their collaborative single "Say U Will" which was released last month. Just like the visuals for their previous collaboration, "Skhanda Love," the new video has a storyline that intercuts performance scenes. The video, which was shot in Braamfontein, shows the two main characters' relationship going through a rough patch and, after, reconciling—the stuff of fairytales.

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Ghetto Boy x B4bonah 'Je'

Rising Ghanaian/Cameroonian act Ghetto Boy comes through with his new addictive single "Je," a collaboration with the buzzing B4bonah. The new single is tailor-made for the weekend dance floor and can be found on his forthcoming EP Me Vs You.

Robin Thirdfloor 'Gibela'

In the music video for "Gibela," Robin Thirdfloor finds himself in a psychedelic world of neon lights and a mysterious character. The visuals are directed by Matthew Cuthbert and co-directed by Helet Anne Van Staden. "Gibela" is trademark Robin Thirdfloor—the song takes inspiration from kwaito and EDM, and Robin raps in staccato lines that are easy to memorize. Production on the song is handled by Sebastxn, who Robin has worked with many times before.

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TLT 'MaiZuzu' ft. Thabsie

TLT and Thabsie's heartwarming love song tells the story of a couple that finds themselves apart because of life's commitments. "MaiZuzu" is highly inspired by Afro pop, and carries on a long streak of hip-hop artists in SA making music that references the country's vast music heritage. The song is produced by Gobi Beast, who's worked closely with artists signed under Rap Lyf, the same label to which TLT is signed.

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Golden Shovel and Tongogara 'KEEP IT LIT'

Veteran South African rappers Golden Shovel and Battlekat (real name Tongogara) recently released a new song titled "Keep it Lit." The song, which is produced by Battlekat, is nostalgic boom bap decorated with a prominent electric guitar. Golden Shovel, in his verse, raps with the presence and clarity he is known for.

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



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Asa "Good Thing" (Youtube)

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Asa, Samthing Soweto, Sudan Archives, Mut4y x Maleek Berry, Adekunle Gold 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.

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The 14 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Jidenna, 25K, Dyo, Mr Eazi, Kwesi Arthur, Goldlink 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.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief

South African Actor Charles 'Big Boy' Maja Has Passed Away

Tributes are pouring in for the beloved actor who starred in the popular South African television drama 'Skeem Saam'.

South African actor and former radio broadcaster, Charles Maja, has passed away according to reports by TimesLIVE. Affectionately known as "Big Boy", the name of the character he played on the popular local drama series Skeem Saam, the actor reportedly suffered a fatal stroke earlier this morning while in the northern province of Limpopo. He was just 54.

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Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.

Spotlight: Nicole Rafiki's Images Merge the Contemporary with the Traditional to Challenge Stereotypes

Get familiar with the work of Norway-based Congolese visual artist Nicole Rafiki.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Nicole Rafiki, a Congolese visual artist who uses symbolism to challenge stereotypes in a critical way. Read more about the inspirations behind her work below, and check out some of her stunning images underneath. Be sure to keep up with the artist on Instagram and Facebook and her Rafiki Arts Initiative here.


How would you describe yourself as an artist?

As an interdisciplinary artist, I use symbolism to re-imagine and challenge the stereotypical depiction of spaces, contexts and the people who are affected by global migration. I view my work as a platform for dialogues about identity, fluidity, place, and belonging. As an artist with a diverse cultural, historic and artistic background, I use art to inform, engage and heal. Because it is too easy to fall into the trap of promoting idealism or clichés, I make it a point to be critical and analytical in my work.

What is the message behind your recent photo-series "The Crown"?

This work came about after I had been stuck in Lagos traffic for 2 hours, listening to a radio show about the role of women in the household. One middle-aged woman called in to say that a "proper woman has to be domesticated". Listening to that radio show just made it seem like, for many people, it doesn't matter how educated, professionally accomplished or otherwise successful a woman is as long as she does not have the required domestic skills required by the African society. The urban attire complemented by traditional African elements illustrates the double role that many young African women have in our communities. And yet, that point is made against a yellow backdrop, symbolizing our power, historical achievements, hope and optimism for the future.

As an African artist, what do you want to communicate with your art about the continent?

The core message in my art is the promotion of our personal and collective healing process. That is only possible if we all understand the importance of playing our part. I believe that this is a very important time to be active in the contemporary art field. We have reached a historical point where Africans from the continent and the diaspora are challenging the status quo in the art industry by creating their own platforms to discuss, share and challenge the dominating philosophical, artistic, political and cultural perspectives on art. We have the power, individually and collectively to create a different legacy for the next generation and have personally just begun exploring all the possibilities out there.

Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Mkono" (2018), in loving memory of my grandmother.Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Untitled" (2019), in loving memory of Benon Lutaaya. Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Not without my bags" (2019)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Kadogo (2019)"Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Mwenye imani haitaji macho" (A man of faith needs no eyes), (2019). Model: AfrogallonismImage courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Crown" (2020)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Crown" (2020). Model: Deborah Kandoua AffouéImage courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Kwabende" (2019)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.

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