8 South African Albums and EPs to Stream Right Now

Here are 8 South African albums and EPs to stream while staying home.

It's clear to a lot of people that the lockdown enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19 won't be over anytime soon. With many countries around the world discovering new cases of the virus, governments have placed their countries on lockdown, encouraging everyone to stay at home.

Below are some South African releases that came out in April and May that we recommend. From Priddy Ugly's fittingly titled Lockdown Extended to ASAP Shembe's spiritual debut album Amarekere and Focalistic's lively raps on Quarantined Tarantino, among others, we bring you 7 South African albums and EPs to stream while staying home.

​Priddy Ugly 'Lockdown Extended'

Priddy Ugly's voice shapeshifts from high-pitch to baritone over Wichi 1080's pulverizing basslines. Priddy Ugly's playful character and unique flows keep finding new ways to connect with Wichi's production. The pair has been formidable since the release of Priddy Ugly's You Don't Know Me Yet EP in 2016. On Lockdown Extended, things aren't different.

​ASAP Shembe 'Amarekere'

ASAP Shembe's debut album spans 11 songs. Brevity is necessary for a project that's dense with personal stories told using different techniques. ASAP Shembe's vocals carry his message with the urgency and sensitivity it deserves and the decorated contemporary production makes it palatable for the modern listener.

​Spoek Mathambo 'Tales From The Lost Cities'

Tales From The Lost Cities is already being hailed by critics as one of the most important albums of 2020. Spoek Mathambo's raps tap into the zeitgeist by touching on issues such as land reform, poor governance, student riots and other ills faced by South Africans today.

Focalistic 'Blecke'

One of South Africa's exciting hip-hop artists Focalistic gifts fans with another mash-up of amapiano production and his minimalist raps. Focalistic hasn't had a misstep thus far, and Blecke is yet another impressive entry in his growing catalog.

​Elizee 'BLK SHP'

Newcomer Elizee released an EP that caught the attention of both music lovers and fellow artists. BLK SHP is a collection of emo raps and whizzing vocals a la 6Lack. The EP strikes a balance between self-introspection and self-assurance—a cognitive dissonance many people can relate to.

​Buli' 'Blue'

Blue is a collection of mostly instrumental tracks by electronic music producer Buli. The production is defined by airy pads that make Blue a monolithic hypnotic listen that could act as a pleasing escape from reality in these trying times.

​Focalistic 'Quarantined Tarantino'

In Quarantined Tarantino, Focalistic manages to strike a balance between his hip-hop roots and his recent flirtations with amapiano and kwaito. His interpretation of the beats he picked and the usage of Pitori slang are some of the factors that differentiate him from his counterparts.

​popsnotthefather 'NNNN'

popsnotthefather challenges his listeners with the sonically diverse NNNN (an acronym for "Not Now, Not Never"). NNNN reveals an artist with a knack for experimentation and has nothing to prove to anyone.

Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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