Image courtesy of the artist.

Nasty C.

The 9 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Nasty C, Kranium x Tiwa Savage, Emel, Bumi Thomas 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 playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

NASTY C 'Eazy'

South African star rapper Nasty C has just released a new single and accompanying visuals for his latest track "Eazy." Fresh off his recent signing with Island Def Jam records, the rapper's newest single release comes off of his highly anticipated third album, ZULU MAN WITH SOME POWER. The visuals enhance the song's message of him reaping the rewards of hard work and believing in the vision. It features alluring scenes and graphics to fully emerge the listeners into the tune—and fans certainly agreed.

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Kranium 'Gal Policy (Remix)' feat. Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage links with Jamaican dancehall heavyweight Kranium for "Gal Policy (Remix)." Kranium originally released back in March. Savage adds more infectious energy to the bubbly track with a boisterous verse. She shows versatility with rap-sung lines. "It's a blessing to jump on this remix with one of my favs," Savage wrote on Twitter upon the song's release.

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E M E L 'Everywhere We Looked Was Burning'

Tunisian artist Emel shares a powerful and poignant new music video for "Everywhere We Looked Was Burning," taken from her album of the same title. The new Sami Battikh-directed video features images of unrest across the world. "I wanted to bring the audience a collection of heartbreaking images, mixed with the anger and the determination of the people on the streets," mentions Emel. "Unfortunately, this may be the only way we can be made to listen. Everywhere we Looked IS Burning but we CAN do something about it, by joining our voices together to say ENOUGH." For more, read our 2017 interview with EMEL, the "voice of the Tunisian revolution."

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Chronixx 'Same Prayer' ft. Kabaka Pyramid

Jamaica's Chronixx comes through with the uplifting video for "Same Prayer," featuring Kabaka Pyramid. Chronixx explains, "Same Prayer is, in part, a prayer for the younger generation to reflect on internally. It's also a reminder that there is a greater power directing things in the physical space. Instead of looking for solutions in our material lives, we can both reach out to this higher power and look deep within ourselves."

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Ruth B. 'If I Have A Son'

Here's a powerful and timely song from Ruth B. in the form of the piano-led ballad "If I Have A Son." The track comes accompanied with a striking montage of photos taken across Black Lives Matter protests by Flo Ngala. "'If I Have a Son' is an honest reflection of how I have been feeling.The murder of George Floyd has served as a wake up call for a lot of people, but for black people everywhere, this has always been a reality. I hope that one day we live in a world where I don't have to be afraid to have kids solely because of the colour of their skin," says Ruth B. All proceeds from the song are going to organizations and charities like Campaign Zero, Black Youth Helpline, Hope Ethiopia and True North Aid.

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Bumi Thomas 'Broken Silence' EP

Bumi Thomas' new 5-song EP, Broken Silence, creates beautiful music out of a dark situation that the artist dealt with, when the UK Home Office telling her she had to leave the country in 14 days or face deportation. Bumi channels issues of migration, displacement and systemic racism into this entrancing new collection of tracks.

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Philippe Cohen Solal 'Afro Bolero' ft. Angelique Kidjo & Mo Laudi

Philippe Cohen Solal recruits the stellar cast of Beninese legend Angelique Kidjo and Parisian-based South African Mo Laudi for the addictive and dance floor-ready "Afro Bolero," a track that also features contributions from Congolese guitarist Flamme Kapaya. The full new release also features remixes from Batuk (Spoek Mathambo), Poté, and Daniel Haaksman.

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Kumail ft Sid Vashi 'Ease Up'

Mumbai based artist Kumail heads to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and is joined by an energetic crew of dancers in this new Jason Shomba Lokanga-directed music video for "Ease Up," featuring Sid Vashi. The head-nodding track is taken from Kumail's latest album Yasmin.

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popsnotthefather 'KARMAKOLLEKT'

Buzzing South African hip-hop artist popsnotthefarher recently shared visuals for the song "KARMAKOLLEKT." "KARMAKOLLEKT" is a song from popsnotthefarher's new project NNNN (Not Now Not Never). Upon the release of NNNN, popsnotthefather was highlighted by Apple Music in the streaming platform's monthly New Artist Spotlight series.

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

Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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