Music

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.

Music

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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