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Tay Iwar's "Space" video.

Here's a Playlist of Chill Songs to Relax to at Home

Keep calm with this playlist afro-jazz, funk, alternative, and R&B tracks from Nigeria, South Africa and more.

It's a time of uncertainty and stress right now for people all over the world. As we socially distance and quarantine ourselves, it's expected that we deal with feelings of anxiety and loneliness. But it's also good to remember that we're all in this together and music can certainly help with that.

For that, we've curated a playlist of Chill Songs to Relax to at Home with music ranging from afro-jazz, funk, alternative, and R&B that can help you relax but also maintain perspective during these days.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.



Tay Iwar "Space" ft. Santi & Preye

Lighten up the mood with this dreamy tune from alté heavyweights Tay Iwar and Santi. "Space" also subtly reminds us to keep a safe distance between ourselves and others.

Fireboy DML "Need You"

When the world seems to be in a pre-apocalyptic state it's likely that we begin to think about our loved ones whom we may be separated from. It's perfectly okay to miss your ex right now and want to text them, and this song by Nigeria's Fireboy DML truly captures the urge.

Starboy ft. Wizkid & Kel P Vibes "Ease Your Mind"

By all means, this is a good time to rest, meditate, cook, stretch, and try to "ease your mind" as Wizkid suggests in this jazzy Kel P-produced track.

Fela Kuti "Water No Get Enemy"

While still on the jazz vibes, the legendary Fela Kuti song "Water No Get Enemy" can be a good reminder that we as humans will surely overcome this difficult period in time as we have so many times before. But also as its title suggests, water is your friend and it's imperative to keep your surroundings as clean and sanitized as can be.

Brymo "Alone"

This interlude from Brymo's 2014 LP Tabula Rasa continues to capture the intense loneliness one may experience during quarantine or isolation.

Wurld "Contagious"

Okay, time to lighten things up again! Pardon the pun, but WurlD's "Contagious" can help shake off the anxiety and remind us that life is beautiful and this too, shall pass.

Lady Donli "Take Me Home" ft. Benjiflow

It's pretty simple, if you aren't working an essential job or out buying much-needed supplies, you need to be in the house.

Wilfresh "Share The Love"

This song, in particular, inspires us to help people in need, and also connect more with our loved ones during these trying times. Check on your friends, hold your loved ones close, donate to those in need, spread positive energy and share the love.

Elaine "Risky"

South African break-out R&B act Elaine is essential for any mellow playlist and her popular track "Risky" makes for great mood music right now.

Odunsi The Engine "Better Days" ft. WANI

Nothing like a feel-good bop from Odunsi and Wani to raise your spirits in these corona times.

Brymo "Patience and Goodluck"

"Patience and Goodluck" from Brymo's 2018 album Oso provides a dose of encouragement that we all need right now.


Listen to this playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.


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6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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