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The 11 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Tekno, Zlatan, Lady Donli, Tems, Rema, Odunsi and more.

Here's our selection for the best to come out of Nigeria in August.

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


Tekno & Zlatan 'Agege'

Aided by Zlatan, it's originator, Tekno subsumes the zanku wave into his proven song=making and new preference to talk-sing on "Agege," as he's also done on "Don't Jealous Me" from Beyoncé's The Lion King: The Gift.

Dj Big N 'Ogologoma' ft. Rema

DJ BIg N enlists the boy wonder of Nigerian pop, Rema, who squeezes musicality out of a clunky word whose refrain, in the hook, is simple and effective in "Ogologoma."

Odunsi 'Wetin Dey'

Odunsi injects new life in an enduring pidgin phrase in the audio for "Wetin Dey" and turns up the nostalgia in the video which is either a send up or homage to Nigerian pop music videos of the 1990s.

Jidenna "Vaporiza"

"Sou Sou" and "Zodi," Jidenna's pair of promo singles for his sophomore album 85 To Africa capture his double heritage of rap and afropop, especially in one lasting phrase about going to "Afropunk in Jozi." More enchanting is "Vapourizer," on which marching drums give way to a delightful highlife mix of chirpy horns, searching snare drums, leisurely bass and patient sun-clappers made even better by Jidenna's charming singing about his charmed love.

Tems 'Try Me'

"Wanna lock me away I'm winning / you wanna add to my pain I'm shining" belts Tems on "Try Me," a feminist ballad that is equally powerful as a stance against any oppression whether physical, mental or existential.

AYLØ 'xozhu'

AYLO's killer falsetto is used to devastating effect on "xozhu" from his third EP dnt'dlt. Drawing from Drake's ambient trap ballads, the mercurial singer-producer-rapper is even more subterranean, his annunciations have bite and his singing is both tortured and controlled. The last 40 seconds of the song are a show of vocal virtuosity that makes AYLO a singular artist.

Nonso Amadi 'Better' ft. Simi

The Mr Eazi feature is one reason why "Go Outside" is the lead single off Nonso Amadi's Free EP but just as good is "Better" with Simi, a soothing avowal to improve as a lover. The soft percussion and ambient piano dissolves, in the last third, into a highlife arrangement whose tempo is suited to the Sade-esque soundscape from which both singers readily draw.

Lady Donli 'Corner' feat. VanJess & the Cavemen

Verses about defiance and resolve distract from the song's focus: a tale of an unfaithful lover that cleverly layers soulful harmonising over a rich highlife arrangement. Rather than a throwback, "Corner" is a brilliant re-tooling of highlife by Lady Donli whose debut album, Enjoy Your Life, is full of other such mercurial turns.

Bez Idakula 'Far Away'

Taken from his new album The Light, "Faraway" is a song about yearning for closeness with a lover, in mind if not in body. The song's connecting tissue of American soul and afropop is captured in its lyric: "hope say I dey make a little bit of sense," as in the seamless combination of genres which blends an electric guitar with heaving conga drums and back-up vocals typical on Fela's afrobeat.

Brymo 'Take Me Back To November'

"Take Me Back To November" is a plaintive call to relive a memorable past "when love was sweet and free" and "when our hearts were free from disaster" by Brymo the soulful pianist turned bluesman on his 5 track EP titled A.A.A, which he has also adopted as a moniker of sorts.

Toby Grey 'Medicine'

A rallying call to the "single and searching," "Medicine" is the standout song off Toby Grey's debut EP Love In Lagos. The "soco beat"—now a staple of Nigerian pop—is improved by Grey's fine balance of rRnB and afropop diction.


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


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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.

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Asa 'Lucid' cover.

The 14 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Asa, Patoranking x Busiswa, $pacely, Vagabon, Shane Eagle and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Watch Bernadine Evaristo Talk About Womanhood and Othering on 'BBC: Focus on Africa'

The 2019 Booker Prize winner speaks to BBC about her acclaimed book 'Girl, Woman, Other'.

Earlier this week, British-Nigerian author Bernadine Evaristo was awarded the prestigious Booker Prize for her book, Girl, Woman, Other. Although the Booker Prize forbids that the award be given to more than one individual, the committee reportedly felt that two novels were deserving of this year's prize. While Evaristo made history as the first ever Black woman to win the prize, many were not pleased that she had to share the prize with Canadian author, Margaret Atwood. Recently, in an interview with BBC: Focus on Africa, Evaristo spoke about womanhood, othering in terms of race, sexuality, class and immigration status.

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Boity and Dee Koala Totally Own ‘Utatakho Remix’

Boity and Dee Koala deliver great verses on "Utatakho Remix."

One of the most anticipated songs of the year was the remix to "Utatakho" by Yanga Chief. It's the combination of rappers enlisted on the song and of course the fact that the original is a heater that raised everyone's curiosity.

Riky Rick takes the opening verse, and drops decent bars, but things start taking a different turn from Dee Koala's verse. The Cape Town emcee frolics over the beat, switching flows, aligning her bars perfectly with the instrumental. She shows love to her city and reminds you she's great.

In her verse, Boity opens about her personal issues with her father: "Personally, this is a touchy subject/ 'Cause my dad was live but his presence wasn't/ So my mama was everything daddy wasn't," and goes on to say she holds no grudge towards her father, and refusing to dwell on that, she chooses to be grateful for her present life.

One thing is clear, Boity can rap. Her verse on this remix is seamlessly delivered in both English and Setswana. Every word she utters sounds believable. She has been consistently dope since she released her first song last year, "Wuz Dat."

"Utatakho Remix" is the closing song on Yanga Chief's recently released EP Becoming a Pop Star. The nine-track project includes the original version of "Utatakho" and the song "200," which was released last week. Apart from the guests on the remix, features on BAPS include AKA and Makwa.

Listen to Becoming a Pop Star below:



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