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Olamide "Woske" cover art detail.

The 10 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Olamide, Santi, Teni, Zlatan, BankyOnDBeatz and more.

This month, our assortment of songs paints a widely-diverse picture of Nigerian afropop—from bashment by a rejuvenated singer to new interpretations of highlife, to folk-indebted soft rock and imaginative beatmaking by seldom-lauded producers.

Read ahead for our selection of the best Nigerian songs of February.

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


Olamide 'Woske'

"They cannot stand the stamina" says Olamide. He could be talking about his continuous run of pop-rap hits, which appears to come easy for him. The house beat on "Woske" is a winner as horn stabs take turns with a synthesiser piano held steady by faithful and unshowy drumming. The MJ impersonation in the video suggests a poverty of ideas until you remember that Olamide has been closely-linked to the best dance crazes of the last few years from shoki to shakiti bobo, shaku and now zanku.

Santi 'Sparky'

A good part of Santi's charm is what he shrouds in mystery. Strong imageries (e.g "bon chiga with a darkie") are layered over uncommon references ("sexy punk rider") in a mumbled-patois that draws the listener in rather than explain the work it is doing. The song was produced by his alté scene counterpart, Odunsi the Engine, with additional production from Le Mav. The track had been premiered on Apple Music's OVO Sound Radio in May last year and fans have been waiting eagerly for its release since then.

BankyOnDBeatz x Tomi Thomas x L Marshall 'Hello'

Tomi Thomas released a criminally under-appreciated EP, Illusions, alongside producer LeriQ last September. On "Hello, Thomas recalls simpler, happier times with a former lover when he sings "there was a time when I felt no pain." The wistfulness is emphasised by the insistent guitar that is often given heft by a thumping bass drums, the work of producer BankyOnDBeatz. Coming in after Thomas is L Marshall, a Nigerian singer with a growing body of work since his 2013 EP, Live All The Way. He blends well enough here, bringing his uniquely Black-British vocal stank that'll introduce him to afropop fans beyond his shores.

"Hello" is available everywhere now

Simi 'Ayo'

Twin electric guitars search and prod all over Simi's "Ayo," bringing polyrhythmic goodness to a song about self-affirmation and self-assertion with authority from the most high. It's produced by the Legendury Beatz duo, who last worked with Simi on "So Rire" for their debut album, Afropop 101.

Cynthia Morgan 'Porshe Panamera'

Cynthia Morgan's re-emergence will soon encourage platitudes that will name her the 'Queen of Nigerian or African dancehall.' Her mature music-making has her accent sounding truer and the twang in her voice sounding richer in this new single which is really one big luxury car metaphor with one standout turn of Nigerianism: "You're aint talking money just chill / Don't point what you can't kill."

Teni 'Gele'

An ode to the most noticeable accessory at parties, "Gele" is clever songwriting that could cause a playful show off when played at any party where trads are worn. It could in fact become evergreen for the same reasons, especially over a highlife beat. Go Teni!

Johnny Drille 'Forever / Shine'

Johnny Drille writes unironically about reaffirming faith in the everyday. "Forever" is addressed to a wife-to-be while "Shine" is a call for optimism—"Do your best but don't lose yourself / Cause in the morning time, the sun go shine." The song is built over a steady swell of guitar, horns, and hand claps that makes for a rousing, uplifting close. Good-natured with a sunny disposition, and always wearing his heart on his sleeves, you wonder what Driller is ever cynical about.

MzKiss 'Braaa'

MzKiss' vitality as an MC is not nearly as celebrated as it should be. Supported on the one word "Braa"—a pronunciation of "Bro" that is more common to Ghanaians—she rides the thumping and propulsive drumming here with ease, delivering lyrics packed full of humor and misdirection. Although she does this with less of the dizzying brilliance she exhibited on the last big single "Merule".

Sound Sultan x Small Doctor 'Twin Broda'

The cover art for "Twin Broda" references the comic hit film Twins, which was largely reliant on the physicality of both actors, but more important here is how well a vital veteran like Sound Sultan combines with the charismatic Small Doctor and his unique blend of RnB and Fuji.

Masterkraft x Zlatan x CDQ 'Are You Sure?'

The appropriately named Masterkraft is a producer of dance music with strong melodic lines that could tell stories on their own. Together with the rapper CDQ, both men long formed a rewarding partnership, especially over variations of the house music that has defined each of their music careers. On "Are You Sure?" they've recruited Zanku mastermind and man of the moment, Zlatan, who adds his own signature zest.


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

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(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for AFI)

Cynthia Erivo Earns Golden Globe Nomination for 'Harriet'

Check out the full list of 2020 nominees (and the snubs).

Award-winning actress, Cynthia Erivo has earned a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman in Harriet. She's earned a nomination for Best Original Song for 'Stand Up."

She's nominated in the "Best Performance by an Actress In a Motion Picture—Drama" alongside Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johansson, Renée Zellwegger and Saoirse Ronan.

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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GuiltyBeatz, Kwesi Arthur & Mr Eazi's "Pilolo" visualizer video (Youtube).

The 20 Best Ghanaian Songs of 2019

Featuring Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, Amaarae, Kwesi Arthur, Shatta Wale, Efya GuiltyBeatz, Joey B, R2Bees and many more.

2019 was definitely an exciting year for Ghanaian music.

Right from the top of the year, we saw both new and established make their mark with songs that would soundtrack the nation's airwaves, functions, and nights for months to come. In 2019 we got to experience an E.L comeback, Shatta Wale and Beyoncé on the same song, numerous solid Ghana-Naija collaborations, and bop after bop by old and new artists alike.

We also saw the rise of brand new artists, starting from the likes of J.Derobie's wave making debut in January, to Kofi Mole's widespread trap anthem, to Fameye's declaration of brokeness, to the promising future superstar Sam Opoku. As far as projects go, 2019 was a good year for that in the Ghana music space as well. We were blessed with an EP from Sarkodie, an album by the superstar duo R2Bees, talented singer King Promise's debut album, Ko-Jo Cue's stellar debut, and M.anifest's 7-track feel-good EP, among several others.

Ghanaian music has been stepping its game up lately, and there's only one way to go from here. Below, we give you the rundown on the Ghanaian songs that stole ears and hearts and set the pace for the country's sound this year.

Check out the list below. Listen in no particular order.—Nnamdi Okirike

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

CNN Names Ethiopian Innovator Freweini Mebrahtu This Year's 'Hero of the Year'

Freweini Mebrahtu designed a reusable sanitary pad to help keep girls in school and has fought to end the cultural stigma around menstruation.

Last night, Ethiopia's Freweini Mebrahtu was been named CNN's "Hero of the Year". The award was in recognition of her work on menstruation and keeping girls in school as well as fighting to end the cultural stigma still attached to menstruation. Mebrahtu was also awarded USD 100 000 to help in expanding her work.

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