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The Best East African Songs of the Month

2020 started strong with standout releases from some of the region's heavyweights.

East African Artists started 2020 on a good note with major releases from heavyweights like Rayvanny, Lava Lava, Otile Brown and more. Here is our selection of the hottest tracks that came out in the month of January.

This list is no particular order.

Rayvanny ft Busiswa & Baba Levo “Zipo”

Tanzanian superstar Rayvanny is building up a great catalogue of hit songs with a healthy number of Pan-African collaborations. In his latest banger "Zipo" he enlists South African sensation Busiswa and Baba Levo to create a dance-ready kwaito and g-qom mashup.

Otile Brown “The Way You Are”

Kenyan bongo star Otile Brown started the year with a new release title "The Way You Are", a song telling women of all shapes, colours and sizes to love themselves the way they are.

Lava Lava ft Rayvanny “Tekenya”


WCB Wasafi talent Lava Lava got together with his label-mate Rayvanny for the "Tekenya" Remix. This catchy rendition is a sure hit.

King Kaka ft. Kelechi Africana  “Kesi”

Kenyan rap heavyweight King Kaka returned in the new year with 'Kesi", the newest single from his 'The Servant & The King' mixtape. He features Kelechi Africana on this love-inspired track.

Harmonize “Hainistui”

Tanzania's biggest star of the moment served us his first single of the year "Hainistui", and as expected, he doesn't disappoint.

Spice Diana “On You”

Ugandan pop star Spice Diana came through this month with a fiery club starter titled "On You." The fast-rising singer incorporates flirty lyrics into this infectious dancehall-tinged jam.

Sailors and Nadia Mukami “Ni Tekenye”

Kenyan Gengetone sensations Sailors teamed up with award-winning songstress Nadia Mukami for their latest track "Ni Tekenye." The group, which is well known for igniting last year's "Wamblambez" craze, take a different direction on this track incorporating a smoother and more romantic delivery.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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