Featured
Juls & Burna Boy's "Gwarn."

The 10 Best Music Videos of 2017

The best music videos of the year—featuring must-see music videos from Cherrie, MHD, Juls & Burna Boy and more.

As everything in the music world seems to move towards streaming, the importance and weight of music videos only gets bigger.

2017 saw a long list of artists across Africa and its diaspora share some incredible music videos. Some acts looked towards their background to deliver new takes on their roots, while others broke the mold completely, presenting a visual aesthetic that felt wholly fresh and new.

Here are the 10 Best Music Videos of 2017 below.

Listen to our Best Songs of 2017 playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

Cherrie "163 För Evigt," featuring Z.E

Buzzing Somali-Swedish singer Cherrie dropped the amazing video for "163 För Evigt" ("163 Forever"), which despite her singing in Swedish, blew up online on both sides of the Atlantic, being posted in several Instagrams, Tweets and everything in between. "163" is the area code for Rinkeby, the largely immigrant populated Stockholm suburb where Cherrie grew up. Throughout the video, she reps Somalia hard—just take a look at the Somali flag waving proudly throughout the whole video or the very first line of the song in which she shouts out Mogadishu. —Kam Tambini

Oumou Sangaré "Kamelemba"

Grammy Award-winning Malian singer Oumou Sangaré teams up with South African director and fashion photographer Chris Saunders in the surreal music video for "Kamelemba." The video features members from the Swaggers dance crew, set before a gloomy, futuristic landscape. The director has mentioned that their performance is meant to portray a varied interpretation of afrofuturism and modern beauty. "The video references traditionally masculine performance cultures, like the competition of the Congolese Sapeur, portrayed here by a group of women in a gender-free setting," said Saunders. —Damola Durosomo

Juls "Gwarn" feat. Burna Boy

"Gwarn" is the ultra-smooth afrobeats collaboration from British-Ghanaian producer Juls and Nigerian star Burna Boy. It's music video follows an animated Juls and Burna as they serenade their girls in through several hilarious scenes. Watch them both lounge with their girls in this incredible Poka-directed video. —Kam Tambini

J Hus "Spirit"

J Hus had a breakout year with his excellent debut album, Common Sense. In the music video for "Spirit," one of the release's standout tracks, the UK-Gambian MC heads to Jamestown, Ghana for a lively affair packed with motor bike swerving, boxing, fishing and loads of contagious energy. —Kam Tambini

Yemi Alade "Charliee"

Yemi Alade's video for "Charliee" is simply a joy to watch. The Paul Gambit-directed clip is a bright and vibrant deep-dive into the sweet pop sound and aesthetic of this Nigerian diva. Yemi had a good year marked by the recent release of her highly-anticipated third album, Black Magic. Even more so, her old video for "Johnny" became the most watched Nigerian video on Youtube ever earlier this year. —Kam Tambini

Kelela "LMK"

Kelela serves all kinds of looks in her sultry music video for "LMK." The energetic video begins with the Ethiopian-American singer offering chic, 90s "it-girl" looks as she enters a packed club in a shiny blonde wig and statement frames. She then dons fiery red tresses for a dance number in a flashing hallway, before switching back to her signature locs during an all-white party. It's all major hair and style inspiration in just under four minutes. —Damola Durosomo

MHD "Afro Trap Part 9 (Faut Les Wet)"

The highly-buzzing young rapper MHD celebrates his roots by making West African-inspired "Afro Trap" music—an eclectic mix of hip-hop and afro-pop styles that's gone viral. The French rapper of Guinean and Senegalese descent has sparked an "Afro Trap" phenomenon in the past few years, with each one of his songs and its accompanying videos typically gaining tens of millions of views when he uploads them to Youtube. MHD continued his impressive Afro Trap series with Part 9, which follows the young rapper flanked by two amazing kid dancers and some goofy CGI effects across the streets of Paris. —Kam Tambini

Major Lazer & DJ Maphorisa "Particula"

Major Lazer and South Africa's DJ Maphorisa enlisted a bevy of buzzing African artists—Nasty C, Jidenna, Ice Prince, and Patorankin—for 'Particula.' Shot in Johannesburg, the 70s-inspired video sees the artists head to an exceptionally groovy party filled with vibrant gqom, pantsula and Fela Kuti-inspired dancers. The retro-tinged visual, directed by Adriaan Louw, transports viewers to the funkier days, when disco and bell-bottoms ruled. —Damola Durosomo

Olamide "Love No Go Die"

Olamide's video for "Love No Go Die" is the perfect meeting of animation and Nigerian pop music. The video, which was produced by the YBNL Toons, begins with Olamide's 3D avatar, in his signature black shades, lovingly staring at a girl in a hospital bed. The segment then cuts to better times—a flashback of the two animated characters playing video games. Their gaming session soon escalates as they start getting more intimate, while a larger-than-life portrait of Olamide hanging in the background looks on. Everything then turns to a spy-meets-Casino Royale ordeal. There are levels to this thing. —Jacqueline Traoré

Wizkid "Come Closer (Redux)"

When Wizkid dropped an alternate music video for his Drake-assisted hit "Come Closer," we have to say, we enjoyed it much more than the first. The video—directed by the acclaimed video director and husband of Solange Knowles, Alan Ferguson—sees Wizkid and some stylish friends at a dreamy summer get-together, brimming with rich color, bold fashion, and gorgeous melanin. The 3 and-a-half minute music video boasts features from Khoudia Diop (aka Melanin Goddess) , and even Davido's reported ex-girlfirend Sira Kante, who plays Wizkid's love interest. With its fun dance numbers and vintage Malik Sidibé vibes, the video is a visual stunner that had us wondering why Starboy didn't just drop this version in the first place. —Damola Durosomo


popular
Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)" music video.

Is Zanku Set to Be the New Dance Craze of 2019?

Breaking down what could become the year's new dance craze.

With last week's release of the video for "Zanku (Leg Work)," Zlatan Ibile has consecrated himself as the originator of the newest dance craze in afropop.

The specific origin of the name 'zanku' is uncertain but the dance itself, says Ibile in this interview from December, is one he noticed from his visits to The Shrine in Lagos and refashioned into a trend.

The best zanku, so far, works best in beats combining repeated foot tapping or pounding, with hands held aloft, and finished with a flourish—a stylised thrusting of one foot as if to knock down a door. Variations include a faster footwork, mimicry of slicing and screwing hand motions and the brandshing of a white kerchief, all of which is done with vigour and attitude.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
WurlD. Image courtesy of the artist.

WurlD: Nigeria's Most Inspired Star?

We talk to the Nigerian artist about creating a sound that connects to the quintessential Afropolitan mind.

WurlD, the blue-haired singer with a killer voice and deep songwriting, is a wonder. His music sits at the intersection between African vibes and Western delivery. 2018 has been a huge for him, with a deal with Universal Music ensuring that his art has received consistency in release.

Born Sadiq Onifade, the Afro-Fusion artist has had an inspiring journey, moving from the streets of Mushin in Lagos, to the US, from where much of his music has been conceived. The complete creative embrace of that cross-cultural influence has become his strongest point, with songs such as "Show You Off" and "Contagious" offering a unique angle to his sound.

"Moving to America for me gave me the opportunity to learn music and I fell in love with songwriting," WurlD says of his influence. "Atlanta (where I lived) is a creative hub when it comes to songwriting and producing, some of the biggest songs in the world were produced in Atlanta, people round the world go to Atlanta to go meet producers and songwriters in Atlanta. There, I fell in love with music and songwriting."

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Still from YouTube.

France Still Doesn't Know How Racism Works and the Vilification of Nick Conrad Proves It

The French rapper is currently on trial for his music video "Hang White People," which depicts what life might be like if the racial tables were turned.

When the music video "Pendez les Blancs" ("Hang White people") by French rapper Nick Conrad was released, the backlash was intense. The video shows what life would be if black people had enslaved white people. "Hang white people… arm them and let them kill each other" Conrad raps. He is not the first artist to think about a life where Black people would dominate white people. Todric Hall's music video "Forbidden" and Malorie Blackman's novels "Noughts and Crosses" did it before. But in France, a country that still tries to stop Black people from organising as a community, Nick Conrad had to pay the price.

First, he received countless death threats and lost his job at a prestigious French hotel. Everyone, from French personalities to the government called him out. And then, two anti-racist and anti-semitism organizations, the LICRA and L'AGRIF sued him. His trial happened last week. French journalist Sihame Assbague was there to witness it, and what she reports is baffling.

To the prosecution, Conrad is encouraging his audience to kill white people. They believe that anti white racism or "reverse racism" is just as bad as any type of racism and that Conrad is using a "black supremacist language" with words like "queen" "king" when he mentions Africa. In their mind, once Black people stop trying to integrate and start organising themselves, it's just as bad as white people being racist. Ethnocentrism is dangerous.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.