Audio
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.


Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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