The 8 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

These are the best tracks, videos, mixtapes and releases that came across our desks.

At the end of every week, we’ll be highlighting the creme of the crop in music and rounding up the best tracks, videos, mixtapes and releases that came across our desks throughout the last few days.

Check out this week’s selections below.

Ayo Jay rolls through with two new singles

Ayo Jay's been riding high with the massive success of "Your Number" last year, which was one of our favorite songs of 2016.

The Nigerian singer's kicking off his 2017 with two brand new singles ahead of the release of his debut EP, Coming To America, on RCA Records.

"Want You" is a uplifting joint produced by Melvitto (who also produced "Your Number"). The track is built on catchy keys and Caribbean-infused percussion. "The Vibe" packs a bit more punch and bass—it's one that's ripe for the club dance floors.

Tunji Ige returns with "Why Don't You?"

'We need art more than ever right now!" Tunji Ige wrote on his Facebook page to promote this new music video and single, "Why Don't You?"

The Nigerian-Philadelphian rapper and producer, who's releasing some of the most exciting hip-hop right now, takes an intriguing approach in this Glassface-directed video, which on the surface may seem like it's simply full of rap clichés.

"I want to give the people what they want and show them what's really going on," he tells Noisey. "My reality of being an artist in age where your more bound to win with streams and viral parodies, click bait to distract from the message at hand... How does one stand out and how can one still get the message across? I feel like this piece of art gives the people everything they want and more, maybe a little more than they can handle, through my eyes."

Nasty C is "Golden"

Boy wonder Nasty C, the 19-year-old who understands the South African hip-hop industry better than anyone, comes through with his booming new single "Golden."

"Golden" follows the release of Nasty C's debut album, Bad Hair, and its extended version, Bad Hair Extensions, which was one of the 15 best South African hip-hop albums last year.

"Nasty C is one of the best rappers South Africa has ever produced," writes OkayAfrica contributor Sabelo Mkhabela. This new track is just another showcase of that raw talent.

Elucid heads to South Africa for his experimental EP

East New York-meets-South Africa through this experimental "travelogue" of rapper Elucid's trip to Johannesburg and Cape Town last summer.

The Valley of Grace EP is a self-produced project which showcases Elucid's uncanny ability to deliver stunning rhymes and fit lyrical patterns over unconventional, stuttering beats. The rapper describes his EP through a meeting with a customs agent:

"US Customs agent: Where are you arriving from? 

Me: Johannesburg, South Africa


US Customs agent: And what was the purpose of your visit? 

Me: Love"

Maleek Berry parties in "Eko Miami"

Maleek Berry's music videos have an aesthetic flavor that you don't typically see in afrobeats clips. The excellent "Kontrol" video kicked-off that visual style and, now, "Eko Miami" follows suit.

The single, which features UK artist Geko, is taken from Berry's Last Daze of Summer EP, in which the proven hitmaker and producer finally takes center stage.

Auntie Flo's Kampala collaboration

Producer Auntie Flo got together a group of Ugandan and Senegalese musicians to record the meditative track "The Soniferous Garden," which was produced and arranged over only two days.

"The Soniferous Garden" highlights Senegalese Sabar drumming, the Adungu (a Ugandan 10-string harp) and the vocals of Gio Kiyingi, over Auntie Flo's pristine production work.

Check out its psychedelic, animated video above and buy the release on Bandcamp and vinyl.

Nneka returns with "Nothing"

Nigerian singer-songwriter Nneka has been an office favorite for years. In "Nothing," she returns from a brief quiet stint with a one-off single and 'thank you' to her fans.

"Nothing" is a fragile song about lost love built on sparse piano chords. Like the single, its accompanying black-and-white music video focuses on the real star here: Nneka's incredible vocal delivery. Check it out above and, for more, revisit our Okay Acoustic session with the Nigerian singer.

Africaine 808 meets Umeme Afrorave

This one comes via the folks at Mawimbi Collective.

VS is a new project and collaboration between Berlin-based producers Africaine 808 and Dutch musicians Umeme Afrorave. They've recorded the 2-track Flamingo Hangover EP, which is now available here.

The title track, "Flamingo Hangover," is the star here with its infusion of '70s Carribean disco sounds. Stream both songs above.

News Brief

OkayAfrica's Weekend Guide

There’s a deluge of cool events happening across Africa and the diaspora this weekend and OkayAfrica’s weekend guide is where you’ll find them.

There’s a deluge of cool events happening across Africa and the diaspora this weekend and OkayAfrica’s weekend guide is where you’ll find them.

Keep reading...
Photo by Romain Chanson/AFP via Getty Images.

Three Protesters Killed During Anti-Government Demonstrations in The Gambia

These are the first deaths to be reported since the protests against President Adama Barrow began.

Ongoing anti-government protests in The Gambia have turned deadly. Aljazeera reports that this past Sunday, three protesters were killed while protesting for President Adama Barrow to resign. These are the first reported deaths since the protests began a few months ago.

Several other protesters were injured after the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the massive crowds.

Keep reading...
John Legend (seated at piano) and DJ Khaled perform onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Grammys 2020: Performers Pay Tribute to Nipsey Hussle In Traditional Eritrean Attire

During a Grammy tribute, featuring John Legend, Kirk Franklin, Meek Mill and more, a group of dancers paid homage to the late rapper's Eritrean heritage, by sporting traditional garb.

The 2020 Grammys have been one of great reflection, as various artists and public figures that we've lost recently have received tributes.

One of the artists commemorated tonight was the late Eritrean-American rapper, Nipsey Hussle who was killed in March of last year in his hometown of Los Angeles. His tribute featured performances from artists like John Legend, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, Kirk Franklin, as well as fellow LA rappers YG and Roddy Rich.

The tribute opened with a heartfelt performance from Meek Mill. Later, during a rendition of their collaboration "Higher," DJ Khaled and John Legend brought out a group of dancers dressed in traditional zurias and other Eritrean attire—a tribute to the late rapper's unique heritage. "I'm half American and half Eritrean—as much as I am a black person from America, I am a black person from Africa too," Nipsey once said in an interview.

Keep reading...

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