Audio

You Need to Hear Lady Donli's New Single 'Games'

-The rising Nigerian maverick drops an ambitious funk-filled banger featuring GJtheCaesar.

Zainab Donli, popularly known as Lady Donli is the 21-year-old singer-songwriter spearheading the new wave of Nigerian alternative music. The "all-round creative" is known for her soothing vocals and soulful alt-jazz sounds.

We got to know the talented songstress a little better in her 2017 debut EP, Letters to Her, an intimate 6-track project exploring the complexities of relationships and unrequited love.

Donli positively returns with "Games," the long-awaited first single off her forth-coming album. This time she experiments with a more up-tempo production that blends funk, soul, R&B and dance music.


With a playful yet mature lyricism Donli showcases her artistic growth and London-based talent GJtheCaesar offers an enigmatic energy to the track as they sing about the mind-games that lovers often play.

We definitely cannot wait to see what's in store for us from Lady Donli's upcoming project but right now it's safe to say she's clearly not playing any games when it comes to her music.

Listen to Lady Donli's new single "Games" featuring GJtheCaesar below and purchase it here.

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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