Photo: Motown Records / Universal Music South Africa.

Tiwa Savage Water & Garri cover artwork (detail).

The 8 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month (August)

Featuring Tiwa Savage x Brandy, Mannywellz x Tems, Burna Boy x Don Jazzy, Liya, Ayra Starr, Joeboy and more.

Here are the best and most noteworthy Nigerian tracks we had on repeat this month.

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

Tiwa Savage "Somebody's Son" ft. Brandy

Nigerian superstar Tiwa Savage came through with the new 5-song EP Water & Garri, which she describes as her "most spiritual journey through music so far." The collectiin of songs, which features the likes of Nas, Amaarae and Tay Iwar, has several standout points but it's the Brandy-featuring "Somebody's Son" that's stayed on replay on our end.

Mannywellz 'Peace' ft. Tems

Mannywellz connected with Tems, who is coming in hot off the new popularity of the "Essence": remix, for the new desert music video for "Peace." This is one of the many highlights off Mannywellz' excellent Mirage record, which you can check out here.

Liya 'Adua'

24-year-old Nigerian singer Liya is the first female signee to Davido's DMW label. Her debut 6-song project, Alari, and accompanying lead single "Adua" see her showcasing an immediately-grabbing vocal delivery and style. Check out the music video for "Adua" above.

Burna Boy 'Question' ft. Don Jazzy

Burna Boy shared a brand new single and music video with the help of veteran producer and Mavin Records CEO Don Jazzy. In "Question," the Nigerian superstar can be heard going in over a light guitars and airy synth chords. It's a breezy song that comes paired with a new music video that follows both Burna and Don Jazzy as they hang with the youth. All the positivity, however, is contrasted by a secondary story line of a violent fight for who's king of the local streets.

Joeboy 'Better Thing'

Joeboy continued to drop visuals from his excellent album, Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic. This month he came through with the lighthearted music video for "Better Thing," which you can get into above.

Ayra Starr 'Bloody Samaritan'

Mavin Records' new star, Ayra Starr, shared her debut album, 19 & Dangerous earlier this month. Throughout its 11-songs you can hear the Nigerian teenager showcase just why she's got the whole country paying attention. While there are several standouts, for us its lead single "Bloody Samaritan." Check out our interview with Ayra here.

Mayorkun 'Let Me Know'

Nigerian star Mayorkun shared his latest single, "Let Me Know," a sweet blend of afro-fusion and pop sensibilities. Get lost in the vibes above.

Ayanfe 'Migrate' ft. Davido

Young Nigerian artist Ayanfe connects with superstar Davido for this upbeat Smeezbeat-produced tune, "Migrate." Listen above.

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


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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