Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)" music video.

The 15 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Zlatan, Burna Boy, Bella Alubo, Davido, Adekunle Gold x Simi and more.

It's official: zanku is the new dance craze of 2019. It has also made its originator, Zlatan Ibile, the hottest pop property in Nigerian pop so far this year. But other newcomers continue to make impressive strides with every new release, as do the tried and trusted, some of whom are quick jump on the newest bandwagon of soundscapes while one, a legend of afropop, revisits an old template with surprising results.

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

Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)"

2019 just got a whole lot better thanks to Zlatan Ibile. The rapper's dance is the new craze and he's capitalised on this by creating a song solely based on it. The brilliant house beat does the rest of the job.

Read: Is Zanku Set To Be the New Dance Craze of 2019?

Bella Alubo "Aiya"

"Don't want your number, want your name / don't want your money, want your time" clarifies Bella Alubo to a love interest on "Aiya," the stand out single from her re-Bella EP, the artist's most mature and enjoyable project thus far.

Casanova x Davido x Tory Lanez "2AM"

"I've got more keys than a trapper" brags Davido in a scene stealing verse that brings star power and afropop credibility to "2AM" from New York rapper Casanova and Tory Lanez.

Read our interview with Casanova about the collaboration

Burna Boy x Zlatan "Killin Dem"

Brilliantly energised singing from Burna Boy benefits from a competent, succinct verse from Zlatan which doesn't not outstayed its welcome.

Oxlade "Shugar"

Oxlade's feature on "Mamiwota" by Blaqbonez was a highlight of the latter's celebrated debut in 2018. Oxlade is no less impressive on "Shugar" on which his fine writing and engaged singing emphasises the song's urgent request from a love interest who is said to have a "fire waist."

Zamir x Kidda Kudz "Dangerous" & "Jan 1st"

A double release by both Zamir and Kidda Kudz draws closer attention to their shared vocal approach with slurry, lower octaves and muscular image as bodybuilders. Listen to "Jan 1st" here.

Phyno x Flavour x Deejay J Masta "Ani"

Time and again, the synergy between Phyno and Flavour is strong, urgent and rewarding as on "Ani"—enough to wish for a full project that will exhaust their combined musical ideas that goes beyond their mastery of the Igbo language and pop song making.

Shizzi x Teni x Mayorkun "Aye Kan"

A suitably melancholic and nostalgic piano chord progression by producer Shizzi is improved upon by Teni's wistful melodies, which are unspoiled by a Mayorkun's verse.

Tekno "Woman"

An ode to women and womanhood that dismisses old ideas of submission for equality. Rather than depend on the lofty messaging for musical value, Tekno's astute songwriting makes for an enjoyable song, enough to make it evergreen.

2Baba "Oyi"

2Baba's strongest musical influence is roots reggae despite an unrivaled reputation as a legend of afropop. On "Oyi," an otherwise decent love song is imbued with proverbs and maxims about self-regard and conduct towards others, conveyed in English, pidgin and Idoma, his ancestral language.

Adekunle Gold x Simi "Promise"

In both song and video, "Promise" is self explanatory about its themes of love, loyalty and fidelity. And with a proven musical synergy and vital independent careers, a joint album a la The Carters is and perhaps should be expected.

Patoranking "Everyday"

Patoranking's well-formed singing voice is smoothened out with autotune but not enough to to lack real character by the bigness of the production on "Everyday" whose heavy dembow beat and attention-seeking horns are busied by a guitar.

Ycee "My Side"

After a relatively quiet 2018, Ycee begins 2019 with the release of the video for "My Side" and news of his own record label Ain't Nobody Badder Than, a long bandied tag of his. For the song, he's repurposed Tony Tetuila's own reworking of "Omode Meta Sere" by King Sunny Ade to his particular way with rap-singing and knack for song making.

Tolani x Reekado Banks "Ba Mi Lo"

New comer Tolani's credible singing chops is a good match for proven balladeer, Reekado Banks, on "Ba Mi Lo" which is made even better by a heavy dembow beat that is couched in a patient piano.

Lil Kesh x Naira Marley "Royal Rumble"

Naira Marley's charmingly husky flow may have come in too soon after a winning start by Lil Kesh but both combine well enough to convince of the struggles of chasing money and wants.

MohBad & Naira Marley in "Komanjensun." (Youtube)

MohBad & Naira Marley Connect For 'Komajensun'

The uplifting tune sees Naira Marley and his newly signed Marlian Music artist going in over a head-nodding beat by Rexxie,

Naira Marley and MohBad come through with the new music video for "Komanjensun."

The uplifting tune sees Naira Marley and his newly signed Marlian Music artist going in over a head-nodding beat by Rexxie,

The music video for "Komanjensun," which was directed by Naya Effectz, sees both Nigerian artists playing the part of students as they and their mates dance on a school bus.

Naira Marley also recently connected with C Blvck for the music video for "Tingasa," the opening track from his Lord of Lamba (LOL) EP.

The 6-track project Lord of Lamba is a classic representation of the Naira Marley's signature upbeat sound. It features the likes of Young John and Mayorkun and was produced by Killertunes, Studio Magik and Rexxie.

Watch the new music video for Naira Marley and MohBad's "Komanjensun" below.

Keep reading...

Nike Has Unveiled a New Nigeria 2020 Kit—and It's Just as Striking as the First

The Super Eagle's new kits are an impressive follow-up to the 2018 design.

Nike and Nigeria have done it again.

On Wednesday, the sporting brand unveiled a brand new Nigeria kit. This comes after the success of the wildly popular World Cup kit from 2018 which seamlessly fused streetwear with athletic function. The famous design was even nominated for the Beazley Design of the Year Award the year of its release.

The 2020 design is just as striking, featuring an angled, hand-drawn green design on top of a cream base. The Super Eagles's football crest is placed at the top front of the jersey, with the signature Nike swoop underneath. Matching sock sets were also unveiled for both colors of the jersey.

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"Zion 9, 2018" (inkjet on Hahnemuhle photo rag)" by Mohau Modisakeng. Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

South African Artist Mohau Modisakeng Makes Solo NYC Debut With 'A Promised Land'

The artist will present the video installation 'ZION' and other works centering on the "global history of displacement of Black communities" at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Brooklyn.

Renowned South African visual artist Mohau Modisakeng presents A Promised Land, his latest solo exhibition, opening at Brooklyn's Jenkins Johnson Gallery this month. This marks the New York debut of Modisakeng's ZION video installation, based on the artists's 2017 performance art series by the same name. It originally debuted at the Performa Biennial.

"In ZION the artist deals with the relationship between body, place and the global history of displacement of Black communities," reads a press release. "There is an idea that all people are meant to belong somewhere, yet in reality there are millions of people who are unsettled, in search of refuge, migrating across borders and landscapes for various reasons."

In addition to the video, the show also features seven large-scale photographs that communicate themes of Black displacement. From 19th century Black settlements in New York City, which as the press release notes, were eradicated to clear space for the development of Central Park, to the scores of Africans who have faced conflict that has led them to life as refugees in foreign lands.

Keep reading...
Rema in "Beamer (Bad Boys)" (Youtube)

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Tony Allen x Hugh Masekela, Sarkodie, Rema, Costa Titch x Riky Rick x AKA 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 playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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