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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.

Op-Ed
Photography by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Price to Pay: The Complicated Relationship Between Ambitiouz Entertainment and South Africa’s Music Scene

Through all the horror stories shared by artists, it's impossible to overlook Ambitiouz Entertainment's contribution to South African music.

One of the biggest South African songs at the moment boasts a lineup of artists that blend styles for a smooth collaboration. With verses for the heads and a catchy hook for the radio, "Price to Pay" by Miss Pru DJ features the duo Blaq Diamond and Lesotho-born rapper Malome Vector.

A quintessential Ambitiouz Entertainment song, "Price to Pay" feels like 2016/2017 all over again, even if it's for just above five minutes. When Ambitiouz started circa 2015, a majority of its hip-hop artists—Emtee, Saudi, Sjava, FiFi Cooper, and others—were doing trap rap, mostly in native languages. Even A-Reece, who raps almost exclusively in English now, threw a few SePitori phrases in his rhymes. Singles such as "Tshela" and "Smokolo" released by the rapper Priddy Ugly under Ambitiouz were his first experiments with adding native languages in his verses beyond hooks.

While streaming "Price to Pay" and other songs released by Ambitiouz Entertainment, however, one wonders if, years from now, Malome Vector and Blaq Diamond will be sharing horror stories of working with the label, just like many of its previous signings.

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