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Sarkodie & Maleek Berry in "Feelings" (Youtube)

The 8 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sarkodie x Maleek Berry, YoungstaCPT, Zlatan, Burna Boy, Popcaan, Lady Donli and more.

We're back! 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.

This first roundup of 2020 will look into recent tracks and some you may have missed over the holidays.

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.


Sarkodie 'Feelings' ft. Maleek Berry

Sarkodie just dropped the music video for "Feelings" featuring Maleek Berry, his latest single from his album Black Love. In the video, directed by George Guise of Visionnaire Pictures Film, the Ghanaian rapper and Nigerian producer link up to tell the story of one who is wrapped up in their feelings for their love interest and what could happen if you never tell that person such. The visual doubles as a cute, mini rom-com (with the screenplay written by actor and writer Tom Moutchi), where characters Tom and Abena balance being colleagues, friends and possible lovers.

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YoungstaCPT 'Just Be Lekker'

YoungstaCPT just released a new music video for his song "Just Be Lekker." The visuals show the South African rapper mingling with everyday people from his side of Cape Town, his hometown. A humorous story is nested inside the visuals as YoungstaCPT and his friends (addressed as 'The Kaapstad Naaiers') save a friend of theirs who lives in the opulent side of town. They are called in to "make it lekker," which they do by throwing a mean party. The music video was directed by Stanley Johns Films. The upbeat song was produced by Egypt and is the perfect song to kick the year off with.

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Burna Boy 'Money Play'

Burna Boy dropped his latest single over the holidays. His newest track, "Money Play," came out on Christmas Eve, the night before he shut down his sold-out concert in Lagos. In "Money Play," produced by Mr. Kleb, Burna salutes and toasts himself leveling up to the affluent life in a mid-tempo vibe in line with his afrofusion sound that blew us away with his Grammy-nominated album, African Giant.

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JimmyWiz 'Fatboy Chronicles'

South African rapper JimmyWiz kicked off the year with new visuals from his 2019 album Accordin' to Jim. The video for the song "Fatboy Chronicles" was directed by Motion Billy and shows JimmyWiz in his element. It's minimalist with no distractions ensuring you focus on the rapper and his charismatic personality which he displays in his performance scenes and the poise with which he delivers his bars.

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Zlatan 'Quilox'

Zlatan comes through with his new single "Quilox," which is named after a popular night club in Nigeria. The new track, which was produced Mansa Jabulani and co-produced by Rexxie, is his first output since dropping his buzzing Zanku album last year.

Popcaan 'Vanquish'

In case you missed it over the holiday season, Jamaican dancehall star Popcaan shared a new 10-track mixtape, Vanquish. The tape is Poppy's first release as a signee of Drake's OVO Sound. It follows his excellent album, Forever, and recent feature on Davido's "Risky." The artist has also teased a new album coming in 2020.

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Lady Donli x Davido 'Cash' Remix

Another one from the holiday season: Lady Donli shared the remix of her infectious song "Cash" featuring none other than Nigerian megastar Davido. The remix stays true to the song's original form, with it's breezy jazz-like production and Donli's airy vocals still in place. Davido opens the remix with an energetic verse about his flashy lifestyle and shared love of cash. He also sprinkles the song with several animated ad-libs throughout.

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DJ YB x Young Paris x Egarboi 'Give Me Chills'

Young Paris, DJ YB and Nigerian producer Egarboi connect for this addictive new afro-fusion track, "Give Me Chills." Get into the dance floor mood 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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