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These 16 Songs Will Get you in the Festive Spirit

These 16 Songs Will Get you in the Festive Spirit

Despite an undoubtedly tumultuous year and an ongoing pandemic, we've put together a playlist of 16 songs from across the continent that will hopefully get you into the December festive spirit.

As South Africans often say, "Ke December boss". In other words, it's December and it's time to party. Of course, this year looks a lot different to previous Decembers because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, while we may have to stay at home and avoid large gatherings, this certainly doesn't stop us from enjoying a dope playlist filled with feel-good jams that are sure to fight the boredom blues. From the 15 best albums that have been released by South African indie artists this year to the 20 best Nigerian songs of 2020, there's plenty to keep you entertained and thoroughly so.

In light of the upcoming holiday season, we've put together a playlist of 16 recent songs from across the continent that are sure to get you in the festive spirit. From Davido and James BKS to Dadju and Sauti Sol, this playlist has a little something for everyone.


READ: 15 Great Albums and EPs by South African Indie Artists That Came Out in 2020

"True Love" by Yemi Alade

Yemi Alade delivers a vibrant and uplifting number in "True Love" which is the second track featuring on her upcoming fifth studio album. The music video is as vibrant as the track AND complete with energetic choreographed scenes and bold outfits that elevate the Afropop anthem.

"Nia Lo" - Kabza De Small featuring Nia Pearl

Kabza De Small and Nia Pearl deliver a stunning amapiano hit with "Nia Lo" which features on the amapiano king's album which is aptly titled I am the King of Amapiano. The latter comprises numerous tracks that shows Kabza De Small's ingenuity and ability to create hit after hit.

"Likolo" by Fally Ipupa featuring Ninho

Congolese singer-songwriter Fally Ipupa released his latest album Tokoos II earlier today. The album is the seuquel to his 2017 album titled Tokoos. "Likely", which features fellow Congolose musician Ninho, is a standout number on the 16-track project. It's upbeat and infectious with seamless synergy between the two artists.

"Dangerously in Love (Remix)" by Tiwa Savage featuring DJ Ganyani & De Mogul

This past August, Tiwa Savage released her latest album titled Celia, a 12 track project which features the sultry and upbeat jam "Dangerous Love". The track was released prior to the album and was followed up by two remixes: "Dangerous Love (Born In Soweto Remix)" featuring De Mthuda and another featuring DJ Ganyani and De Mogul. The latter, which is an amapiano remix, is arguably better than the original version of the song and has an incredible soundscape consisting on Afrobeats and amapiano.

"New Breed" by James BKS featuring Idris Elba, Q-Tip & Little Simz

Cameroonian artist James BKS recruits Idris Elba, Q-Tip and Little Simz to create a jam that fuses contemporary rap with Afrobeats and the results are exquisite. "New Breed" is a powerful declaration about Africa and definitely a track with a feel-good vibe to it. You're sure to keep this number on repeat for a while.

"So Crazy" by Davido featuring Lil Baby

Following the success of his 2019 album A Good Time, the prince of Afrobeats recently released his follow-up album titled A Better Time. The project is impressive with a number of music heavyweights featuring including Nas, Nicki Minaj, Sauti Sol, Mayorkun, Sho Madjozi and several others. "So Crazy", which sees Davido and Lil Baby collaborating effortlessly, is definitely a poolside track that screams soft living and just having a good time with even better company.

"Your Love" by Azana

If perfection was a song it would be Azana's "Your Love". The track begins with a mid-tempo pace that then builds up into an explosion of sound. Trust us when we say that this song is everything you never knew you needed. The South African artist is certainly in her element.

"Choko" by Manu WorldStar

Following his 2019 smash hit "Nalingi", Manu WorldStar released "Choko" ahead of his debut album titled "Molimo." The track, which is already proving to be another hit, is an upbeat and infectious number that will have you turning the volume up and heading to the dance floor.

"Reckless" by Wizkid

This year, Wizkid finally released his long-anticipated album Made in Lagos and it certainly was well worth the wait. The project release was Initially delayed in an attempt not to divert attention from the recent #EndSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria. "Reckless", which features on the 14-track album, is a definite stand-out track that shows the Nigerian artist at his musical best.

"Ubomi Abumanga" by Sun-El Musician & Msaki

Is any list ever complete without Sun-El Musician? This year, the South African artist teamed up with fellow artist Msaki and created a track for the ages. "Ubomi Abumanga" is a beautiful Xhosa house song that speaks about how the sun will eventually rise even in the darkest of days.

"Sans theme (Remix)" by Dadju featuring Alonzo, MHD, Naza & ​Vegedream

French-Congolose artist Dadju is explosive on the remix of his original track "Sans theme" featuring Alonzo, MHD, Naza and Vegedream. The remix starts off on a high with a crazy instrumental that let's you know that the song is about to be everything and more. If you listen to nothing else, (and we're not kidding) you need to listen to this track.

"Dede" by Ommy Dimpoz featuring DJ Tira, Dladla & Prince Bulo

Tanzanian artist Ommy Dimpoz dropped "Dede" recently and it's an interesting fusion of bongo flava and a distinct South African sound. The music video is as frenetic as the track itself and is filled with colour and cultural references including eclectically dressed pantsula dancers repping for Johannesburg culture.

"Ngihamba Nawe" by Simmy featuring Sino Msolo

South African songstress Simmy released her album this year titled Tugela Fairy (Made of Stars) which is the follow-up to her 2018 anthemic project Tugela Fairy. "Ngihamba Nawe", which translates to "I'll go with you" in Zulu, is an exquisite and upbeat love song that'll certainly put you in a good mood.

"Suzanna" by Sauti Sol

Sauti Sol gave us a true gift in the middle of a pandemic and we're so here for it. The Kenyan Afropop sensation dropped their "Midnight Train" album this year and "Suzanna" is a definite standout track. It's an absolute vibe (and quite cheeky too) with both the instrumentals and vocals to have you playing this number endlessly.

"Wonderful" by Burna Boy

Burna Boy promised us that he'd come back even better following his African Giant album and he sure kept his word. Twice As Tall dropped this year, executive produced by Sean "Diddy" Combs, and is a project worthy of praise. "Wonderful" is an uplifting number that sees the Nigerian superstar dabbling with a new sound. All we can say is you'll love it as much as we do.

"Indlovu" by DJ Zinhle featuring Loyiso

"Indlovu" by DJ Zinhle is a powerful declaration. The vibrant song speaks about being "indlovu", which translates to "elephant" in Zulu. Featuring Loyiso, the pair elude to how one can conquer their challenges by remaining steadfast in their mission and being as strong as an elephant.

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Ayra Starr & Kelly Rowland Connect For Ultra Sultry "Bloody Samaritan" Remix

"I've always been a huge fan of Kelly Rowland, and when this came up, I could barely keep in the excitement," mentions the young Mavin Records star.


Ayra Starr has joined creative forces with Kelly Rowland to create a remix of her "Bloody Samaritan" record. The Mavin Records artist has been putting effort into her craft, and her recent collaboration with Rowland is an indication of her growing musical prowess.

Connecting with Rowland, who is a music icon, is another step in the right direction for the young Afro-pop star. The initial release of "Bloody Samaritan" was a well-received record that amassed over 60 million TikTok views and was also featured on BBC Radio's 1Xtra—the remix is equally as enjoyable. Although it retains the sound of the original song, it has its unique ambiance, which fuses elements of Afrobeats, Afro-pop and smooth R&B.

Starr continues to rise in the global music scene and her recent collaboration with Spotify has the potential to skyrocket the musical influence of the newcomer globally. Artists like Starr are increasingly pushing the envelope as it relates to collaborating with bigger names in the music world, which was something that was not as rampant a few years ago. While discussing the collaboration, Starr shared her excitement about the record and her admiration for Rowland.

"I've always been a huge fan of Kelly Rowland, and when this came up, I could barely keep in the excitement! While recording this, Kelly made me feel so comfortable and relaxed, something I really appreciate," said Starr. "She was super amazing! and I was able to hold my own alongside a legend, and I can't wait to share this new music with you all!"

Although Ayra Starr is one of the youngest artists in the Afro-pop world, she has already been making a solid impression among fans and music analysts. In an NME piece, the publication described Starr as “the teen leading her generation’s sonic revolution.” Her stage presence, confidence, and overall "je ne sais quoi" essence have proven that the Gen-Z pioneer is ready to continue to put her name and genre on the map.

Listen to Ayra Starr and Kelly Rowland's "Bloody Samaritan" remix below!

Music
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The 10 Best South African Songs of the Month (September)

Featuring AKA, Nasty C, K.O, Blaq Diamond, Musa Keys, and more.

Here are the South African songs and music videos that caught our attention this month.

Check out more of our Best Songs of the Month lists from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and East Africa. You can also follow our weeklySongs You Need to Hear roundup for the best new music.

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Kenya Says It's Banning LGBTQ+ Content

According to the acting head of the Kenya's Film Classification Board (KFCB), all movies with LGBTQ+ content are illegal in the country.

The acting CEO of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), Christopher Wambua, has announced that all movies containing LGBTQ+-related content are now illegal in the country. Wambua also said that the country is against LGBTQ+ relationships.


"As we rate and classify content, we also consider other applicable laws. If there is any content that normalizes, glorifies same-sex relationships, our position in Kenya has always been to restrict and not to broadcast, exhibit or distribute that kind of content within the borders of the country," Wambua said. Wambua also said that while there are multiple platforms highlighting sam-sex content online, the Kenyan government is actively taking action to block access to the content in Kenya. According to Wambua, the KFCB authority is currently working with streaming powerhouse Netflix to ensure that access to LGBTQ+ movies and series are barred within Kenya.

"Most of them are restricting; because of our discussions with Netflix, they are curating their classification system that is very aligned with our laws with the view of ensuring that in future once we sign the agreement, some of this content is not visible at all within the republic," Wambua said.

Kenya is not the first country to state that it would not condone LGBTQ+ content. Earlier this year, Egypt joined six other Arab countries to call out Netflix and Disney+, and demand that certain types of "offensive" content be restricted from airing in their countries. This was understood to be in reference to media that featured members of the LGBT+ community within those countries.

Kenya has had a long history of barring content with LGBTQ+ characters and storylines. In 2018, Kenyan authorities banned 'Rafiki,' a film that profiled the love story of two women, citing that the production promoted lesbianism. Last year, the KFCB also banned the documentary "I am Samuel," a storyline about a gay Kenyan man. Kenya's law strongly forbids LGBTQ+ and Section 165 of its Penal Code highlights the legality of code in detail.

Interview
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The Inimitable Flair of BNXN

We talk to the Afro-fusion star about his year of ascendance, legendary co-signs, and headline shows around the world.

“There is this pressure that comes with it. It's on a level of ‘How are you going to do better?’, ‘How are you going to beat these songs? 'Can you back up the same energy the following year?

BNXN (pronounced Benson) calmly highlights the weighty pressures of his phenomenal 2021 run of hits that have cemented his spot as one of the hottest artists in Africa.

The last time I spoke with BNXN he was known as Buju. We sat in a recording studio within Burna Boy’s exquisite home, with the conversation centered around a seven-month stoppage in music releases. Weeks after, Buju released "Outside," the first single under his imprint, To Your Ears Entertainment—parting ways with Burna Boy’s Spaceship Records.

The release of "Outside" commenced a streak of relentless hits for BNXN which included guest verses on songs such as Savage’s "Confident," Ladipoe’s "Feeling," Blaq Diamond’s "Italy" and Wizkid’s "Mood." BNXN’s 2021 crescendoed with performances during Wizkid’s sold-out three-day residency at London’s iconic O2, a Grammy nomination for his work in Made In Lagos, his seven-track debut EP, Sorry I’m Late, and headline shows in London and Lagos.

“Coming into 2022, the speculation was about what the run was going to be like this year. Who else are you trying to do it with? 'Finesse' happened and it was wild.” BNXN earmarks the impact of the Pheelz-owned record, released in March. “Finesse” became an earworm after individual videos of Pheelz and BNXN vibing to the record went viral on Tiktok. The BNXN-assisted song charted in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, and America, and was featured on Barack Obama’s coveted summer playlist.

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