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Olamide '999' EP cover.

The 16 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Olamide, Angelique Kidjo, Oumou Sangaré, Sudan Archives, Fireboy DML, Davido 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.


Synapson x Oumou Sangaré 'Bensema'

Legendary Malian singer Oumou Sangaré, joins French DJ duo Synapson on their latest single "Bensema." Sangaré's powerful vocals shine on the track as she sings rhythmically over pulsating, electronic production. The Wassoulou singer brings booming energy to the dance-worthy track. The standout single marks the duo's return following the release of their debut EP Haute Couture in 2010, and their 2015 album Convergence.

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Olamide '999'

Olamide has dropped his first official body of work for this year—an EP titled 999. The nine-track EP is the follow-up to his 2018 collaborative album YBNL Mafia Family and features several talents including Phyno, JayBoi, Sosa-E, Rhatti, Snow, Cheque, Milly and Jackmillz. The Nigerian hip-hop artist hits the ground running with the opening track "No Time." The track is slow-paced with an almost nostalgic synthesised sound which brings a calming feel. In "Warlords", Olamide recruits Phyno, Snow, Rhatti and Cheque to produce an ominous but upbeat sounding track where the five all drop some fire verses.

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DJ Arafat 'Kong'

"Kong" is the first posthumous release since the passing of celebrated Ivorian artist DJ Arafat. The new music video, directed by Mahine Sef and co-directed by Sele VFX, is a highly energetic affair that also features depictions of Arafat with his beloved motorcycle. DJ Arafat was the ambassador of a music form popularized in Cote D'Ivoire but exported worldwide. He commanded Coupé-Décalé's fast percussion, vocals and dances and gave birth to Francophone Africa's urban music scene.

Read: Hommage to DJ Arafat, the King of Coupé-Décalé

Kanyi Mavi 'Lobola'

In her latest song, Kanyi Mavi is whipped. Her love for the man who stole her heart is driving her to pay amalobolo. A progressive move from Kanyi as that's normally the man's role in most African cultures. The Cape Town-based lyricist has one of the most solid deliveries this side of the Equator, and in the new song, she proves she will always have it (the second verse is a serious work of art). "Lobola" features Prof.Ceaz and was produced by Kay Faith, one of the country's most sought-after talent behind the boards.

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Pablo Nouvelle x Angelique Kidjo 'Milambi'

Grammy-winning Beninese legend Angelique Kidjo joins forces with the Swiss DJ/producer Pablo Nouvelle on the track 'Milambi,' the first single from Nouvelle's newly released EP Eliso. The track, which originally premiered in January via the archival music label Beating Heart, marks Kidjo's "maiden venture" into electronic music, as stated in a press release. The track is made up of "archival African field recordings,"from Hugh Tracey's collection. It also fuses booming electronic sound with elements of afrobeat. Kidjo delivers powerhouse vocals as usual.

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Fireboy DML 'Vibration'

Rising Nigerian artist Fireboy DML, shares the music video for his latest single, "Vibration," from his debut album, Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps. The song features eclectic production with a Latin flair from Deeptunes. The unique visuals see the artist in several striking settings including a ballroom filled with skillful dancers doing the foxtrot and mambo. "The French ballet the Latin salsa/tango the Indian Holi festival of colours, African percussion. My new video, "vibration" is a blend of culture and energy," he mentions.

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Mark Mushiva 'Turbo Summation 1.0'

Mark Mushiva's pen shines once again in his new solo single "Turbo Summation 1.0.' He muses about a few issues and touches on a few narratives over an airy boom bap instrumental that teleports you to the golden era. Mark's raps are unpredictable because of his wide vocabulary and the versatility of his references.

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Sudan Archives 'Limitless'

Sudan Archives comes through with the striking music video for "Limitless," a standout track from her debut album Athena. The music video's director Femke Huurdeman mentions, ": "It's about opposite elements and how, as a person, you can feel torn between multiple feelings. It's not choosing one over the other, but it's about embracing we all have different layers, and once you know that, you can accept those complexities."

Read: Sudan Archives Is the Future

Gemini Major x Nasty C x AKA x Emtee x Tellaman x The Big Hash 'Right Now'

A remix for Gemini Major's Nasty C and Tellaman-featuring hit "Right Now" released in 2019 has been underway for several months. This morning, the artist finally shared the remix, titled "Right Now Reloaded." The remix three more stars AKA, Emtee and newcomer The Big Hash who each share outstanding verse. As is becoming usual, AKA's verse comes with a jab at another artist. Mega raps, "I need my pussy Maimane/ Do you remember iFani?" You may or may not know this, but AKA and iFani once clashed in what was one of the most hilarious South African rap beefs.

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MohBad x Naira Marley 'Komajensun'

Naira Marley and MohBad come through with the new music video for "Komanjensun." The uplifting tune sees Naira Marley and his newly signed Marlian Music artist going in over a head-nodding beat by Rexxie, The music video for "Komanjensun," which was directed by Naya Effectz, sees both Nigerian artists playing the part of students as they and their mates dance on a school bus.

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ByLwansta 'The Bike Song'

It's officially SPIJØNGET season. South African rapper ByLwansta's series of EPs is about to get a second iteration of its slates three. In "The Bike Song," ByLwansta recounts the tale of getting mugged in Joburg, which the rapper went through three weeks before the creation of the song in Berlin in August 2019 while he was on a residency program hosted by the Pop-Kultur Festival. The song was produced by German electronic music producer Robert Koch.

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Wande Coal 'Again'

Veteran Nigerian artist Wande Coal shares his latest single the heartfelt "Again," which his first track of 2020. The artist slows things down a bit for the mid-tempo track produced by Melvitto. He shows his versatility as he appeals to a lover who "makes his heart smile."

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King Perry 'My Darlina'

King Perryy has just dropped his first official single of the year titled "My Darlina". The track is a crisp and soulful Afrobeat track with plenty of bounce—the perfect addition to that (hopefully growing) Valentine's Day playlist. This year holds a lot of promise for Afro-dancehall musician King Perryy. The Nigerian artist's highly anticipated single "My Darlina" comes ahead of his Citizen of The World EP which is set to be released soon.

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K.O 'Flight School' feat. Sjava

From his 2019 album PTY UnLTD, K.O releases a new single, which he highlights with a new music video. The visuals for "Flight School" show performance scenes of the South African hip-hop star and his guest Sjava in what looks like a nature reserve. "Flight School" isn't a song about aviation. The message is loud and clear—before you can fly, you need to learn how to walk." Sjava is the perfect choice for a guest in a song that aims to motivate listeners and assist in making their journey to success a smoother one.

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Patoranking 'I'm In Love'

Patoranking delivers yet another single which sees him giving fans yet another glimpse into his more vulnerable side as an artist. His first official single of the year, "I'm in Love" is a serenading love song where Patoranking unashamedly declares his love for a girl. He details the lengths to which he'll go to show her just how much he loves her.

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Harrysong 'Bumbumbum' feat. Davido

Harrysong recruits Davido in this energetic, carefree and cheeky new track titled "Bumbumbum". The track is Harrysong's first official song of the year and is definitely a banger—take it from us. Produced by Twinbeatz, "Bumbumbum" is a playful track with an undeniably infectious beat. A clever use of onomatopoeia, the song just celebrates dance as a whole while making use of instrumentals which will have you wanting to "loosen up" and dance as Davido implores in his bridging verse.

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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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Darkovibes

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sarkodie, Cassper Nyovest, Elaine, Darkovibes, Stogie T, Phyno, C Natty, 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.

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The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Juls, Busiswa, Davido, Nasty C, Olamide, Ethic, Bobi Wine 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.


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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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