Video

The 6 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Check out the best tracks, videos, mixtapes and releases that came across our desks this week.

At the end of the 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.

Wizkid and DJ Henry X's "Like This"

Nigerian Starboy ("the 'real' Starboy") Wizkid keeps his hot streak going with the music video for “Like This,” a collaboration with Amsterdam-based Ghanaian producer DJ Henry X.

The track, which was produced by DJ Henry X, pairs breezy synthesizers with a sturdy back beat and Wizkid’s carefree vocals about enjoying his holiday lifestyle. The new video follows Wizkid doing just that. It features cameos from Efya, Hayley Marie Norman, Nastasia Griffin, Reka Rene, Salmannsa, Heather Paige Cohn, Leah Girma, and Heart Hayes.

Tinariwen's animated video for “Ténéré Tàqqàl”

Tuareg desert blues group Tinariwen announced their new album Elwan (The Elephants), due 10 February via Anti-. It'll be the band's follow-up to one of our favorite records from 2014.

The new album was recorded in California’s Joshua Tree and M’Hamid El Ghizlane, an oasis in southern Morocco, and will feature guest appearances from Kurt Vile, Matt Sweeney, Mark Lanegan, and more.

The band shared a beautiful animated music video for "Ténéré Tàqqàl," directed by Axel Digoix, this week. "The word Ténéré means empty land or desert in Tamashek. The clip... vividly depicts the contrast between the desert's lack of hospitality and the love its inhabitants feel towards it," the band mentions.

Dex Kwasi brings the "Bass"

Ghanaian-American rapper Dex Kwasi just dropped his new album Akata ¥€$U, which roughly translates to "Black Jesus." The title's a tongue-in-cheek play on Dex's "larger-than-life persona and his popular 'Jeezoss' ad-lib," Dex's camp says.

The new Accra-shot music video for "Bass" sees the MC fine-tuning his afro-trap sound and sprinkling in a few dancehall flavors for a straight head-nodder. Check out other videos for album tracks "Ghost" and "Avenor."

Wyclef re-ups "If I Was President" for the 2016 election

Wyclef revisits his 2008 acoustic hit "If I Was President," which came out during Barack Obama's first presidential campaign.

For the 2016 version, Wyclef changed the lyrics to reflect the craziness of this American election, (kind of) call out Trump, and sing about race relations, gun reform and more.

"Her t-shirt says Black Lives Matter, the media is screaming All Lives Matter," Wyclef sings in this new version.

Afro-Cuban hip-hop meets J Dilla in El Tipo Este's new video

Alexey Rodriguez aka El Tipo Este is one-half of Obsesión, one of Cuba's most popular hip-hop groups who've been around for 20 years. For his latest mixtape, Misión Dilla, Rodriguez pays tribute to the legendary beat maker J Dilla by rapping over his beats.

"Regla," one of the highlights from that Dilla tribute, is a song dedicated to his neighborhood, Regla in Havana, Cuba.

Afrobeats meets grime in Atumpan & Big Narstie's "We Like It"

Ghanaian singer Atumpan returns with a new video for “We Like It,” an afrobeats meets grime dance floor collaboration with UK grime star Big Narstie.

The track is a hotpot of dance rhythms that build on Atumpan’s West African influences—there’s mentions of azonto and shoki in there—with Big Narstie sounding right at home over the afrobeats and dancehall concoction.

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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