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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: Tjeerd Braat. Courtesy of Marieme.

The 11 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Bas, Ycee, Major League, Moonchild Sanelly, Niniola, Indigo Stella, Fireboy DML, Marieme 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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Rema, image courtesy of the artist.

Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Rema, Teni & More Win Big at 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards

Check out the complete list of 2020 winners.

The Soundcity MVP Awards, the annual award show that recognizes the best and biggest in African music, took place over the weekend at the Eko Convention Centre in Lagos, Nigeria. Some of the biggest names in African entertainment took home awards.

The show was hosted by South African star Bonang Matheba and featured performances from Diamond Platnumz, Tekno, Tiwa Savage, Stonebwoy and more.

The big winner of the night was none other than Burna Boy, who took home the award for African Artiste of the Year for the second time, the first time being in 2018 in which his mother, Bose Ogulu gave us that memorable acceptance speech warning us "to expect more madness." He also won Song of the Year for "Killin Dem," as well as Best Male MVP.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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