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Michael Kiwanuka album cover.

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week​

Featuring Michael Kiwanuka, Burna Boy, Amanda Black, Runtown, Khuli Chana x Cassper Nyovest 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.


Michael Kiwanuka 'KIWANUKA' LP

British-Ugandan soul singer Michael Kiwanuka has released his highly-anticipated third studio album KIWANUKA, the follow up to his critically-acclaimed sophomore album Love & Hate. The 14-track album features the previously released singles "You Ain't the Problem" and "Hero," and was largely produced by Danger Mouse and Inflo. The artist named the album KIWANUKA in a bold attempt to reclaim his heritage no matter how foreign it might seem to others. "I won't change my name, no matter what they call me," he sings on "Hero."

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Runtown 'International Badman Killa'

Nigerian artist Runtown is back with a new music video for his single "International Badman Killa." The song was featured on his surprise EP Tradition which dropped back in May. The lively video for the Spellz-produced track sees that artist in several unique settings surrounded my futuristic cars and dancers as he performs the song's self-assured lyrics. The video was directed by Clarence Peters.

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Amanda Black 'Egoli'

A week ago, Amanda Black, released her sophomore album Power. This week, the South African singer-songwriter brings us the stunning accompanying visuals for "Egoli"—what we reckon is one of the standout tracks on the 18-track project. In "Egoli", Amanda Black sings about looking towards Johannesburg, the City of Gold, to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. The music video was directed by Kuda Jemba and the cinematography done by Motion Billy, two talented young men who've become the go-to for creating quality visuals for the music videos of many South African artists.

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François N'Gwa 'Ogooué'

Buckle up and get ready for a bit of rhythmic and synthesizer-laced time travel. Gabonese musician François N'Gwa has been making music since the early 80s, toying and playing with sound during the era of electronic exploration. The sound he produced is a vibrant, enthusiastic and attention-grabbing one that blends African rhythms and sentiments with digital noises that seem to play tug of war with the air around it. New French record label Into the Deep Treasury is releasing an 8-track compilation of N'Gwa's tracks made between 1985 and 2004, called Ogooué.

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Burna Boy 'Omo'

Burna Boy comes through with the new music video for "Omo," one of the standout tracks from his stellar album African Giant. The afro-house indebted tune, which was produced by Mr Kleb Beatz, gets an appropriately nighttime music video that follows Burna to a "Giant Club" and a peep show booth, among other locations."Omo" is the latest in a long string of outstanding singles from African Giant that have gotten the video treatment. "Oh I'm not done yet!! OMO video out now on all platforms," Burna Boy wrote on Instagram.

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Bryte 'Ice Cream'

Accra-based vocalist Bryte goes in over some haywire electronic beat work in his new single "Ice Cream." The new track sees Bryte linking up with frequent collaborator Mina and Tarquin for a booming production that marries his Ghanaian style with production that straddles UK bass, funky, grime and techno The new music video for "Ice Cream," which follows Bryte and a crew of dancers across Seoul. "We had so much fun running around the streets of Hongdae with Korean afrobeats dancers exploring the markets and different varieties of ice cream unique to Seoul," Bryte tells OkayAfrica.

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Driemanskap 'Give A Wh?t' ft YoungstaCPT

Driemanskap have finally released Hlala Nam, their sophomore album which they have been teasing for years. The 20-track project arrived last week, and features YoungstaCPT, King Kosh, Haem-O and several others. The four-man Cape Town crew (Redondo, Ma-B, Dla and El Nino) maintain their raw street-centric sound and lyricism on Hlala Nam. Songs like "Uhambo," "Things We Do For Love" and "Champion," among others, with their trap-leaning production, reveal a crew that's not reluctant to experiment with other sounds.

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Mayorkun 'Up to Something'

Mayorkun comes through with his latest single and Clarence Peters-directed music video for "Up To Something," a song that tackles body shaming. The SperoachBeat-produced song sampleds a Nigerian classic by Plantashun Boiz' Faze. Mayorkun mentions: "As much as I want to deliver a pop record, I wanted a song with a weighty message, so while you are dancing to it at the club or a party, watching the video on T.V, it leaves you with love, feeling beautiful, appreciation for yourself and everyone around you. Music is a tool, we must use to change societal ills."

Khuli Chana  FT Cassper Nyovest 'Ichu'

The lead single to Khuli Chana's upcoming album just got treated to visuals. "Ichu," which has been out for two months, features fellow Mafikeng rapper Cassper Nyovest. The song sees the two emcees play lyrical gymnastics over a fast-paced instrumental that allows for innovative flows from both of them. The music video was directed by Nic Roux, shows a vigorous displays of dance moves and an impressive wardrobe for the protagonists and other characters.

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Jelani Blackman 'Brixton'

The first thing that will strike you when pressing play on this is the impossibly deep baritone of Jelani Blackman's voice. Apparently he makes it higher when speaking normally in order for people to hear him. The rapper, whose lineage combines Ireland, Sierra Leone and Barbados, did a surprise drop of his new 5-track EP Average Joe. Blackman was born in London and grew up in the golden era of grime music—the influence of which has left its stamp on every single track though his vibe has more of an R&B lean.

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Patty Monroe feat. Caleb Williams 'Fighter'

Patty Monroe's latest music video for "Fighter" is directed by Dale Fortune. In the video, the Cape Town-born rapper shares her personal story of growing up; some parts of the video were filmed in the house she grew up in, with her mother and grandmother making cameos. "Fighter" enlists the effective vocal skills of the singer Caleb Williams. The song appears on Patty Monroe's debut album, Malatjie. The 15-track project was released in 2017.

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TRESOR 'On va bouger' ft. Sauti Sol

Earlier this year, South Africa-based Congolese musician TRESOR released his album Nostalgia. The 13-track project revisits the past to explore the different sounds and the culture on the African continent during that time. The album features South African artists such as AKA, Mafikizolo, Kwesta, Msaki and several others. TRESOR has recently released the visuals for "On va bouger", the track on which he teams up with Kenyan pop duo Sauti Sol. It's a "twisted love story" set in the 70s of Kinshasa and we're certainly here for that vibe.

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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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Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

Freddie Harrel Is Building Conscious Beauty For and With the African Diaspora

Formerly known as "Big Hair Don't Care", creator Freddie Harrel and her team have released 3 new wig shapes called the "RadShapes" available now.


Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


The normalising of Black and brown women in wigs of various styles has certainly been welcomed by the community, as it has opened up so many creative avenues for Black women to take on leadership roles and make room for themselves in the industry.

Radswan (formerly known as Big Hair Don't Care), is a lifestyle brand "bringing a new perspective on Blackness through hair, by disrupting the synthetic market with innovative and sustainable products." Through their rebrand, Radswan aims to, "upscale the direct-to-consumer experience holistically, by having connected conversations around culture and identity, in order to remove the roots of stigma."

The latest from French-Cameroonian founder and creator Freddie Harrel - who was featured on our list of 100 women of 2020 - has built her career in digital marketing and reputation as an outspoken advocate for women's empowerment. On top of her business ventures, the 2018 'Cosmopolitan Influencer of the Year' uses her platform to advocate for women's empowerment with 'SHE Unleashed,' a workshop series where women of all ages come together to discuss the issues that impact the female experience, including the feeling of otherness, identity politics, unconscious bias, racism and sexism.

And hair is clearly one of her many passions, as Freddie says, "Hair embodies my freest and earliest form of self expression, and as a shapeshifter, I'm never done. I get to forever reintroduce my various angles, tell all my stories to this world that often feels constrained and biased."

Armed with a committee of Black women, Freddie has cultivated Radswan and the aesthetic that comes with the synthetic but luxurious wigs. The wigs are designed to look like as though the hair is growing out of her own head, with matching lace that compliments your own skin colour.

By being the first brand to use recycled fibres, Radswan is truly here to change the game. The team has somehow figured out how to make their products look and feel like the real thing, while using 0% human hair and not negotiating on the price, quality or persona.

In 2019, the company secured £1.5m of investment led by BBG Ventures with Female Founders Fund and Pritzker Private Capital participating, along with angelic contributions from Hannah Bronfman, Nashilu Mouen Makoua, and Sonja Perkins.

On the importance of representation and telling Black stories through the products we create, Freddie says, "Hair to me is Sundays kneeling between your mothers or aunties legs, it's your cousin or newly made friend combing lovingly through your hair, whilst you detangle your life out loud. Our constant shapeshifting teaches us to see ourselves in each other, the hands braiding always intimately touching our head more often than not laying someone's lap."

"Big Hair No Care took off in ways we couldn't keep up with," she continues, "RadSwan is our comeback.It's a lifestyle brand, it's the hair game getting an upgrade, becoming fairer and cleaner. It's the platform that recognises and celebrates your identity as a shapeshifter, your individuality and your right to be black like you."


Check out your next hairstyle from Radswan here.

Radswan's RadShape 01Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 02Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 03Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

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