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A Boy From Tandale album cover.

Diamond Platnumz Cements His Place As East Africa's Biggest Music Star With His New Album

The star-studded A Boy From Tandale blends the Tanzanian artist's native bongo flava sound with hip-hop, R&B, dancehall and more.

Diamond Platnumz is easily East Africa's biggest music export.

With a career spanning over a decade, he has transitioned from humble bongo flava newcomer to a globally recognized afro-pop heavyweight. His brand new album, A Boy From Tandale, is proof of this evolution—Tandale being the slum in Dar Es Salaam where Diamond was born and raised. With his prospering WCB Wasafi Label, numerous endorsement deals, and popularity beyond the borders of his beloved Tanzania, Diamond's success story has been a remarkable one to witness.

Arriving four years after his debut album, Lala Salama, this new LP carries the fiery energy of where Diamond is at with his career right now. Unlike his debut, this album has the safety blanket of a sleek distribution deal with Universal as well as a world of loyal supporters that Diamond has gained over the years.


The 18-track album is packed to the brim with bouncy club bangers and infectious chart-topping singles that we already know and love. As part of his cross-over mission, Diamond goes ahead and sings in English for a large portion of the project but he does throw in a few songs which are fully-sung in Swahili to maintain his Tanzanian pride.

Album opener "Hallelujah" which features Morgan Heritage is a seductive, club-ready track tinged with groovy island rhythms and reggae instrumentation. The follow-up track, "Waka," features Rick Ross and it carries all the elements of a manufactured hit single. It's not very lyrically-rich but, hey, no one's complaining when it comes on at 2AM in the club, right?

Amidst all the boom-bap of these massive singles, he manages to squeeze in some brilliant bongo flava tracks. "Kosa Langu" stands out immediately. Not only does this song inspire some blissful nostalgia with its traditional style production, his vocal performance is truly captivating. It's one of those songs you go back to, and you're like "Yep, this dude is mad talented."

With the likes of Flavour, Rayvanny, Davido, Jah Prayzah, P-Square and Vanessa Mdee featured, the album has no shortage of African collaborations. One can't help but fall head over heels for mid-tempo love ballads like "Eneka," "Far Away," and "Marry You," the latter became the first song by an African artist under Universal to go six times platinum.

One of the most well-known tracks on his album is "Fire" which features Mavin's First Lady Tiwa Savage. The fusion of the East and West on this song was ingeniously executed. It's the kind of song that just won't get out of your head and it is not surprising that the up-beat record was an instant hit with fans.

The latest single from the album, "African Beauty," features Omarion and is produced by Nigerian producer, Krizbeatz, whose signature style of blending afrobeats with electronic music gives the song a crisp and classy finish.

Musically, this album blends various music genres such as hip-hop, R&B, reggae, dancehall, as well as his native bongo flava and dansi sounds. For most of the album he enlists his famed in-house producer, Lizer Classic, who has been instrumental in cultivating a highly marketable wave of East African pop music.

Not to take away from his endeavors but it's not hard to notice that Diamond sings so much better purely in Swahili. The bongo flava tunes in the album have balanced out the crescendo of his ambitious, genre-hopping tracks. Overall the album is unnecessarily lengthy and lacks a cohesive stylistic approach. At some point it begins to sound more like a greatest hits album. This is not a bad thing, but it makes you wonder if he really had to include singles that were dropped as early as 2014 in the project.

Nonetheless, this album raises the bar even higher for African music. It exemplifies all the boundaries that we can break with our music. Diamond is now a home-bred, bona fide superstar and the world is his oyster. And even with all the flashy music videos, international collaborations and ever-changing sounds, as you listen to this album there are parts where the true essence of Diamond shines through.

If you listen hard enough you'll find that the boy from Tandale is still in there somewhere.


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Still from YouTube.

Diamond Platnumz & Rayvanny’s 'Mwanza' Has Been Banned In Tanzania

It's been deemed "too vulgar" to be played in the country.

Tanzania's national arts council, Baraza la Sanaa Tanzania (BASATA) has banned Diamond Platnumz and Rayvanny's latest single "Mwanza," and slapped the artists with a hefty fine due to its sexual content.

The board has ordered the label Wasafi Records to remove the track from all digital platforms, and it will no longer be played on the radio or in clubs in Tanzania, reports Kahawa Tungu. The popular song has over 2 million views on YouTube.

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Diamond Platnumz in 'A Boy From Tandale' album cover.

Diamond Platnumz Was Arrested In Tanzania For Posting A Video Of Himself Kissing A Girl

The East African star is the latest to get detained in Tanzania's crack down on social media use.

Update 4/19/2018: Diamond Platnumz has now officially apologized for the Instagram post of himself kissing a girl, which the Tanzanian government claims was in violation of new laws regulating online content.

"I've had a long conversation with the authorities and I have learnt that what I did was not right. As a role model to many young people, not just in Tanzania but across the continent, posting a private moment was irresponsible of me," the star artist mentioned according to BBC.

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Diamond Platnumz, arguably East Africa's biggest music star, is the latest musician to fall under Tanzanian President John Magufuli's strict regulations on online content and social media, where bloggers now have to pay the government over $900 to operate.

The popular singer was detained on Monday after posting a picture to his 4.5 million followers on Instagram of himself kissing a girl, according to Times Live.

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Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.

Dave's 'Psychodrama' Wins 'Album of the Year' at the 2020 Brit Awards

The British-Nigerian rapper took home the top prize moments after a performance during which he called the British Prime Minister a 'real racist'.

British Nigerian rapper Dave took home the top prize at this year's Brit Awards. His 2019 debut album Psychodrama, which was certified gold in just three months and went on to win last year's Mercury Prize, was awarded "Album of the Year".

However, it was Dave's performance prior to him receiving the award that really stole the show.

According to the BBC, the artist gave a fiery performance of his track "Black" wherein he added a new verse which called out the government and referred to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a "real racist".

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Shirazee. Photo: Tiara Marei. Courtesy of the artist.

Get Into Shirazee & Saint Jhn's Highly-Addictive 'Juju'

The new music video follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans.

Shirazee is back with his latest single "Juju."

The new song sees the Benin-born singer-songwriter linking up with none-other-than Saint Jhn for a highly-addictive tune built on afro-fusion beat work. The striking new music video for "Juju," which was directed by Tiara Marei, follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans, Louisiana.

"This one is special to me 'cause the song was recorded at a time I needed to break a love-spell that I felt was put on me by a serious crush of mine [laughs]," Shirazee tells OkayAfrica. "Shooting this video in New Orleans, a city with historical ties to my Benin, was such a privilege and does so much justice to the song and theme.

"[I'm] looking forward to releasing new music this year and the first of two EPs called LOST is on the way and it's exciting," he adds.

For more on him, revisit our interview with Shirazee on his journey, taking risks and going independent. As you remember, Saint Jhn featured on Beyoncé and Wizkid's "Brown Skin Girl," one of our favorite songs last year.

Get into Shirazee and Saint Jhn's "Juju" below.

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