Zuchu x Diamond Platnumz "Cheche"

The 8 Best East African Songs of the Month (September)

Featuring Willy Paul, Diamond Platnumz, Fik Fameica, Ali Kiba, Zuchu and more.

These are the hottest tracks from East Africa released in the month of September.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.


Kenyan artist Willy Paul releases a sentimental love song, "Coco," alongside female artist Avril. This comes as the first single off his much anticipated debut album, Songs of Solomon. Willy Paul delivers a stellar performance professing his undying love for his loved one. The stars each give us a glimpse of their love lives and how deeply smitten they are. Willy and his "love interest" getting intimate as she combs his hair while he is seated at her feet singing "...if you love someone pull them a little closer.…"

Zuchu ft. Diamond Platnumz 'Cheche'

Tanzania's new bongo flava princess Zuchu teamed up with her label boss, Diamond Platnumz, yet again for another hot single titled, "Cheche." The pair bring forth an effortless fusion of cultures on this groovy Swahilli love song topped off with Afro-Caribbean rhythms.This track is produced by Lizer Classic while the visual is directed by Director Kenny.

Victoria Kimani 'Say Less'

Kenyan Afropop singer Victoria Kimani returned with a new single this month titled "Say Less." Over a groovy beat, she lays some honest lyricism about people who love to flex on the internet and flaunt their lifestyles.

TNT Kenya 'Hated Beloved' EP

Kenyan rap duo TNT finally graces their fans with a long-overdue body of work. Their latest project, an EP titled HATED BELOVED is their first release under their new label Quarry Boys Entertainment. The artwork shows two halves of their faces as cartoons, representing the duality of good (Timmy) and bad (Twenny). It sets the stage for the various roles they play in the songs as well as—they say—their real life personalities.

Alikiba 'MEDIOCRE'

Bongo Flava legend, Ali Kiba ,released a new single "Mediocre" this month after another period of silence. The Tanzanian star flaunts his "king of bongo flava" status and sings about how he's managed to be relevant over the years while other "mediocre" artists struggle to do the same.

Diamond Platnumz 'Ongeza'

East Africa's biggest star Diamond Platnumz released another single this month titled "Ongeza," "Ongeza" is a Swahili word that means "add" and in the track he sings about a lover adding to the pain he already has over their breakup.


Kenyan rap stars Naiboi and Nyashinki team up for new single "BLACK," a much anticipated collaboration.The upbeat banger celebrates the beauty in being black in a world where everyone is fighting the rights of black people.

Lydia Jazmine X Fik Fameica 'BINJI'

Ugandan stars Fik Fameica and Lydia Jazmine link up on the track "Binji" this month to give us some good vibes. The two stars also star in an accompanying music video as a gangster couple on a heist, further fueling the local rumors that the pair are dating in real life.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.


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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