Lady Donli "Cash" cover artwork (detail).

The 14 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Olamide, Lady Donli, Wizkid x Larry Gaaga, Tekno, Tolani and more.

Here are our selections for the best to come out of Nigeria in April.

Follow our new NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Olamide 'Spirit'

Syncretic sensibilities emerge strongly in Pheelz' production for "Spirit" which straddles a fine balance of galala and reggae. It is matched by equally fine writing and earnest singing from Olamide who employs populist Christian platitudes—"I have refused to downgrade from God to Human / my purpose in this life you cannot understand"—in what, musically, may otherwise be an unholy mix of Christian religiosity and Africanist spirituality with strong allusions to Rastafarianism all blended into one.

Lady Donli 'Cash'

An insistent piano is often outshone by a prickly electric guitar on the latest single from Lady Donli, a forerunner of Nigeria's much vaunted "alte" music whose image of organic music-making, unreliant on the flash and perceived vacuity of pop, gets a nice contrast in this shameless celebration of money.

Reminisce 'Oja'

Balanced neatly between house and dancehall, Sarz' production on "Oja" has the right amount of bounce, which is quickened by the short percussive riffs and largely sustained by an unceasing, ominous keyboard. It's the type of sensible production over which Reminisce truly shines combining his husky flow and street lord persona in a long history of standout collaborations by the pair that include "Diet", "Shekpe", "Eleniyan" and "Ise Yen."

Tekno 'Uptempo'

Reminiscent of Don Jazzy's own ornate highlife production heard as recently as on 2018's "My Dear," this co-production between Selebobo and Tekno gets a satisfying turn by the latter who rides the winning groove with ease and mischief.

Wizkid x Larry Gaaga 'Low'

"This kind love is stupid, this kind love is foolish / but na this kind love man dey want" insists Wizkid who here revisits the soothing production that inspired 2018's "Fake Love" leading to the resurgence of Duncan Mighty and defining, in part, the soundscape of Nigerian afropop for most of the year.

Tolani 'Liar'

"Liar" is an admonishment of a cheating lover delivered with the right amount of acerbic emoting in its muted use of the work "fucking" and clever use of Nigerian-isms. The cursing gets extra fizz on account of the singer's clean image and respectable millionaire dad when she tells off the cheating lover with the words "save that shit for your father." It is produced by E Kelly, who here utilises the elegant guitar lick and piano melodies he used for "Pour Me Water" for Mr Eazi. The tastefully shot video emphasises a revenge plot and has Tolani brandishing a bat and later locking up the offending lover in a car booth.

Yung L 'Get Up' feat. Reekado Banks

Chopsticks is a dab hand at making heavily rhythmic house beats with heaving drums in an uptempo that is perfect for regular collaborator Yung L and guest, Reekado Banks. Both singers combine well and its success will improve matters for Yung L who has long been an accomplished afropop act but without the defining status of a runaway hit

Terri 'On Me' 

The starlet of Starboys, Terri, sounds remarkably surefooted in his vocal identity even when it is, so far, largely a clear distillation of his mentor Wizkid and the raspy charm of Kizz Daniel (that was well realised on 2018's "Bia"). His new single "On Me" maintains the same formula with a sense of playfulness and mischief that is all his.

Ogranya 'Don't Leave Me'

Ogranya's lover in his new single "Don't Leave Me" is in on the deception, and while both parties are complicit, she is either self-deceiving or coy. He's more likely swooning more than he is in full control of his emotions. He sings: "so if you say we're nothing more than friends / Tell me why things just keep on getting more intense / I'll be your lover, we can call it pretend / Tomorrow we can do it over again, over again." Ogranya's paucity of releases are good enough to sustain interest in his work despite periods of seeming inactivity. "Don't Leave Me" is a delicious confection of ambient instrumentation in the lineage of Maxwell's subterranean "Drowndeep: Hula" and Usher's Spanish flirtation on 2001's "How Do I Say" All of which Ogranya has made his own with cutlets of Nigerianisms, "girl, you supposed reason my side," but largely in the idiom of American R&B.

FALANA 'Give Into You'

"Stranger things have happened / so why can't this be love?" asks Falana of a dithering lover on one of five sensibly and sensitively written songs that make up her sophomore EP titled Chapter One after 2014's Things Fall Together.

WurlD 'Candy'

Released this month, Love Is Contagious is the much mulled over debut project by Wurld which delivers on the promise shown on early singles "Show You Off" (2017) and "Contagious" (2018). All through the song, he likens a lover's affections with candy and yet avoids saccharine sentiments. Of the other satisfactory songs on the album, "Candy" is a true gem which shows off Wurld's refined sensibility and the R&B chops of a Motown singer.

Simi x Falz 'Mind Your Bizness'

Both Simi and Falz formed a proven musical partnership on their 2016 joint EP, Chemistry, whose stand out song "Foreign" equally mocks and celebrates the theatricality in class pretensions. Taken from her new album, Omo Charlie Champagne Vol 1, "Mind Your Bizness" is a clever piece of songwriting which reworks "Shake Bodi," the 1999 hit song by Trybesmen which itself, and at the time, was a reworking of Fela's afrobeat. Simi's own version is rebuff to rumours about her personal affairs and that of others.

Moelogo "Grateful" & "Magic"

The themes of essentialism, self affirmation and self-actualization that are at the core of Moelogo's music-making and philosophy are best realised on "Magic" and "Grateful" taken from his satisfying second project, Magic, after the promise of 2016's Ireti. Over spare production that relies on plaintive and searching unceasing guitar, "Grateful" is a song of thanksgiving while in "Magic", the singer marvels in the extraordinary within the ordinary when he sings "nothing is promised / but you get one thing / Free will, that is your magic."

BOJ 'Awolowo'

A brilliantly conceived song which despite the allusion the bank notes that bare the image of Nigerian statesman, Chief Femi Awolowo is a more interesting assembly of the subset of Nigerian and Ghanaian pop, otherwise called "alte" who act as a counterbalance to the dominance and flash of top-layer pop.

Follow our new NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

John Boyega Set to Star In Upcoming Netflix Sci-Fi Movie 'They Cloned Tyrone'

The film is being described as "Friday-meets-Get Out."

Fresh off his performance as Finn in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker John Boyega is set to take on another leading role, this time in the Netflix's upcoming sci-fi comedy They Cloned Tyrone. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news.

The film will be the directorial debut of Juel Taylor the writer behind Creed 2. He co-wrote the script for They Cloned Tyrone with Tony Rettenmaier.

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AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Samthing Soweto and Others are on the SXSW 2020 Line-Up

9 African artists have been confirmed for next year's SXSW.

Nine artists from the continent, six of which are from South Africa, are among the first wave of Showcasing Artists on the SXSW 2020 line-up. AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Amanda Black, Samthing Soweto, Nadia Nakai and Moonchild Sanelly will be representing South Africa in the festival which takes place in Austin, Texas annually. Nigeria's Simi and Lady Donli and Lesotho's Morena Leraba are also on the line-up of showcasing artists, which consists of artists from 51 countries.

James Minor, Head of Music Festival at SXSW said:

"This season's first artist reveal is a compelling and diverse list of artists from all corners of the globe. In the continued spirit of discovery, we're pleased to give the world a glimpse of what it can expect to see next March; a genre-spanning and defying lineup of artists you'll undoubtedly be hearing about in the future."

The first wave of African artists is a great mixture of mainstream and niche artists, and it's highly likely to get even better with more artists being added in the near future before the festival takes place.

SXSW is taking place in Austin, TX between March 16 and 22.

View the current line-up here.

(Photo Courtesy of DIARRABLU)

Meet the Senegalese Designer Making Math Chic

Diarra Bousso uses algorithms to create designs for her line DIARRABLU.

Who knew that math and fashion could work together so seamlessly? Apparently Diarra Bousso did, the self-described "Creative Mathematician" and mastermind behind DIARRABLU. The Senegalese serial entrepreneur and multidisciplinary artist left a career of trading on Wall Street to pursue design and it paid off. She has just been awarded a coveted spot as the Designer in Residence at the San Francisco Fashion Incubator for her innovative use of equations and algorithms in her beautiful designs.

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(Photo by Emma McIntyre/BAFTA LA/Getty Images for BAFTA LA)

Daniel Kaluuya Is Producing a Live-Action 'Barney' Movie with Mattel

Yes, you read that correctly.

In a move that absolutely no one saw coming, Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya is set to produce a live-action Barney movie in conjunction with Mattel Films. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the story.

Kaluuya will co-produce the film as part of his 59% production banner, which signed a first-look deal with Paramount back in May. Speaking on his involvement with the project and the impact of Barney & Friends, Kaluuya had this to say: "Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. We're excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of 'I love you, you love me' can stand the test of time."

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