Photo via Rema/Mavin Records
The Best Afrobeats Songs Out Right Now
Featuring tracks from Rema, Ayra Starr, Stonebwoy, Juls, Wande Coal, Olamide and many more.
Afrobeats is one of the biggest cultural movements in the world. Influencing everything from fashion to sports, the music acts as the adhesive, catching on to listeners of all demographics and shaping the scene in Africa with great potential. With the growing number of new Afrobeats releases every month, it becomes necessary to round up the best of the bunch. From singles to new music videos, the continent’s vast expanse will be covered in our Best Afrobeats Songs Out Right Now column. Get started below.
Over the past year Remahas been growing into the global superstar he always was. From releasing Rave & Roses to having “Calm Down” become one of the biggest songs worldwide, there’s a lot for the Nigerian act to be grateful for. Alongside the emotive “Reason You” his first drop for the new year “Holiday” captures the vibe pretty well: over bubbly production from Blaise Beatz, the magnetic Rema recounts stories from his early days while reiterating the need to keep pushing for more greatness. With its DK-directed visuals, there’s a summery grace to the presentation, setting Rema for another groundbreaking year at the zenith of Afrobeats music and culture.
BNXN, Kizz Daniel & Seyi Vibez "Gwagwalada"
Produced by Sarz, “Gwagwalada” is an all-star affair. Starting off with dramatic adlibs from Kizz Daniel, the song progresses into a dance-ready ear candy. BNXN’s signature vocals take the hook in good stride, promising to focus on the individuality of his journey, while Seyi Vibes–Nigerian Pop’s revelation since last year–delivers a short but sweet verse, setting up Vado for a fitting closer. It’s not usually such star-studded cuts works, but the usage of space and distinct melodies renders this song a special quality.
Juls ft. S.ON “Injabulo”
It takes a while for vocals to emerge in this record but that’s no problem. Establishing the groove is Juls’ languid grooves, his signature neo-highlife instrumentation meeting the dramatic progressions of amapiano. An entrance fitting for epic records, the background chants and singing polishes off the vibe quite well, coaxing gentle movements from the listener. With the Ghanaian-British producer broadening his musical palette since Sounds of My World, “Injabulo” is one of his finest excursions yet. A stunning achievement of space and sound, it transports one to the coastal splendor of beaches.
2Baba, Larry Gaaga, Mi Casa "Bebe"
A legendary name in Afrobeats, “Bebe” bears the unique flavor of 2Baba’s sound. It’s a warm affair crafted to describe the serenading highs that comes with being in love, a subject 2Baba has written about through varying storylines over the course of his two decades-plus career. South African trio Mi Casa join the carousel, not just delivering a sweet vocal performance but lining affectionate keyboard playing and trumpet solo which closes out the record. Perfectly aligned in vision, this song has every potential to be a classic.
Stonebwoy "More Of You"
Few artists in the Afrobeats space have the ability to reinvent their sound so graciously and in a timely fashion. “More of You” marks a new direction for Ghanaian music veteran Stonebwoy’s sound, pairing glittering elements of R&B with the upbeat tempo of regular Afropop. With his vocals invested in the chosen theme of desiring love, the song comes across with so much warmth and deliberation. Further coating its brilliance are the Highlife cadences in his verses, bringing a tender and existentialist edge to the overtones of romantic tension.
Ayra Starr - Sability (Official Music Video)
Debating Ayra’s star quality is like questioning the wetness of water. Every year since her emergence she’s soundtracked memorable moments by releasing songs with an almost unparalleled grasp on popular culture. “Sability” continues the self-appraising quality of her previous record “Rush,” but here she leans more into the vivid aspects of African culture. Everything from the writing to the beat and the video presents her in the light of an African diva; also, her sampling of Congolese icon Awilo Logomba’s “Coupe Bibamba” is a fine stroke, giving the song a sweet rush of nostalgia while Ayra’s future-facing vision remains solid.
Wande Coal & Olamide "Kpe Paso"
Between themselves, the duo on this record have produced a great number of hits and pop culture moments. Even though they’ve collaborated previously on “Hate Me,” this new song takes the prize for their best joint effort. Pairing Olamide’s zen vocals with Wande Coal’s dynamic allure, the banging production makes you want to live inside the world they describe. It’s a hyper vivid world, but also colored with culture and swag, endowing “Kpe Paso” with undeniable hit quality.
Rightly considered as one of the most ingenious songwriters in the Afrobeats scene, Lojay has been setting himself up for his forthcoming project, Gangster Romantic. A riveting run-up, Lojay puts himself firmly in the driver seat on his latest cut “MOTO.” It’s a sentimental record written from the perspective of a jilted lover, his dulcet vocals meeting the warm percussions and guitar base with heartwarming vulnerability. Produced by himself with additional touches from The Elements, it’s a record that never grows old.
Bien "My Baby" feat Ayra Starr
Bien of Sauti Sol is unarguably one of East Africa’s finest voices and on this song, he joins powers with the strong register of Ayra Starr. A classic love duet, their voices meld in perfect harmony, singing about the assurances of a partner who shows up everytime. With the production built on sparse movements and an unhurried pace, the R&B style of the musicians shine with riveting poise.
DJ Neptune ft. Ruger "Bienvenue"
Possessing one of the most distinct and dynamic voices around, Ruger is every producer’s dream. Veteran act DJ Neptune recognizes that quality as he features the musician on “Bienvenue.” Translated to ‘welcome’ in French, the song is a shiny piece of art which thrives on the production’s sweet tease as much as Ruger’s starry-eyed lyricism. The pairing of soft guitars and log drums prove to be a masterful choice, prompting the musician to deliver a prospective hit in French-speaking parts of the world and as well the Caribbean, audibly due to the Dancehall-indebted inflections in Ruger’s delivery.
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