Vanessa Mdee. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The 8 Best East African Songs of the Month

Featuring Khaligraph Jones, Mbosso, Amaal, RIMON, Vanessa Mdee, and more.

These are the tracks shaking up East Africa right now.

Here is our selection of the best East African songs of January featuring Mbosso, Vanessa Mdee, Otile Brown, RIMON and more.

Vanessa Mdee x Distruction Boyz x DJ Tira x Prince Bulo 'That's For Me"

Tanzanian pop RnB star Vanessa Mdee delivers a gqom-infused banger in "That's For Me," a brand new collaboration with with DJ Tira, Distruction Boyz and Prince Bulo. This one's gonna get you on the dance floor immediately.

Mbosso "Tamu"

Wasafi Records artist Mbosso keeps up the momentum of his 2018 smash hit "Hodari" with yet another tasty single called "Tamu." We can already tell the Tanzanian crooner is keen on dominating the bongo flava scene this year.

RIMON "dust"

RIMON broke into the scene last year with her debut single, "Grace," a soulful RnB track that gets you hooked with its nostalgic feel. Her debut EP, BBYGIRL FOCU$, was released last November and its newest single, 'dust', is the kind of ear candy you need for the new year.

Amaal "Not What I Thought"

Amaal is a Somali-Canadian singer whose latest offering, "Not What I Thought," has us entranced. In her new single, the Toronto-based songwriter pairs hazy R&B; soundscapes with melancholic lyrics about a relationship that's come to an end.

Otile Brown "Samantha"

Kenyan singer Otile Brown has definitely taken advantage of the publicity from his dramatic relationship with socialite Vera Sidika last year. His consistency has been impressive and he has dropped back to back bangers since last year. His latest one "Samantha" is already topping Kenyan charts.

Khaligraph Jones x Ycee "Gwala"

Kenyan emcee Khaligraph Jones begins his 2019 with the video for another big single from his newest album Testimony 1990. "Gwala" features Nigerian act Ycee and it is an energetic trap banger with a catchy chorus.

Professor Jay x Victoria Kimani "Woman"

This month, bongo flava veteran Professor Jay dished out yet another massive single called "Woman" which features Kenyan songstress Victoria Kimani. The emotional song sends the message of respecting and appreciating the women in our lives.

Eddy Kenzo "Body Language"

Last year popular Ugandan singer Eddy Kenzo dropped a new album titled "Roots," celebrating his 10th year in the music industry. His latest single from the album is "Body Language" is a dance-ready pop track and a scorcher on the Ugandan charts.

Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

How Davido's 'FEM' Became the Unlikely #EndSARS Protest Anthem

When Nigerian youth shout the line "Why everybody come dey para, para, para, para for me" at protests, it is an act of collective rebellion and rage, giving flight to our anger against the police officers that profile young people, the bureaucracy that enables them, and a government that appears lethargic.

Some songs demand widespread attention from the first moments they unfurl themselves on the world. Such music are the type to jerk at people's reserves, wearing down defenses with an omnipresent footprint at all the places where music can be shared and enjoyed, in private or in communion; doubly so in the middle of an uncommonly hot year and the forced distancing of an aggressive pandemic that has altered the dynamics of living itself. Davido's "FEM" has never pretended to not be this sort of song. From the first day of its release, it has reveled in its existence as the type of music to escape to when the overbearing isolation of lockdown presses too heavily. An exorcism of ennui, a sing-along, or a party starter, "FEM" was made to fit whatever you wanted it to be.

However, in the weeks since its release, the song has come to serve another purpose altogether. As young Nigerians have poured out into the streets across the country to protest against the brutality of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, "FEM" has kept playing with the vigour of a generational protest anthem. From Lagos to Abia to Benin and Abuja, video clips have flooded the Internet of people singing word-for-word to Davido's summer jam as they engage in peaceful protests. In one video, recorded at Alausa, outside the Lagos State Government House, youths break into an impromptu rendition of the song when the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, tried addressing them; chants of "O boy you don dey talk too much" rent through the air, serving as proof of their dissatisfaction with his response to their demands—and the extortionist status quo.

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