Featuring DJ Lag, Asa, LasGiiDi, Kaien Cruz, Imarhan and more
Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.
Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.
DJ Lag & Sinjin Hawke 'Raptor'
South Africa's DJ Lag comes through with a total banger of a track in the shape of "Raptor," a collaboration with the popular Canadian-American producer Sinjin Hawke. In it, both artists stretch and mold gqom's borders into a huge festival-ready and percussion-heavy beat. "There’s something special about the way Lag uses drums, they’re so tough and epic yet minimal and spacious at the same time,” says Hawke.
Asa is back! The Nigerian star returns with the new, dreamy single and music video for "Mayana." Produced by Priime, the new track is an addictive mid-tempo afro-fusion composition. "Usually, when I write a song, I would make melodies with bits of words here and there," Asa mentions. "‘Mayana’ stuck. I didn’t know what it meant. The usual thing I’d do is look for another word. I knew I wanted it to mean something good to this person I am singing to, like his forever. So, I Googled the word and voila! It means ‘Healer, tomorrow.’" Watch the Meji Alabi-directed video above.
Kaien Cruz 'BUFFERING...' EP
Queer South African artist Kaien Cruz expands on her blend of R&B and afropop in her new 3-song BUFFERING... EP. The highlight here is "Fa111en Angels," which marries pop sensibilities with a darker-edged sound. She's also launched an NFT alongside the new EP. "This project is a bridge to show fans the progression of where my music is going," Kaien mentions. "As an artist my goal is to create an alternative way for aspiring artists to be discovered using all the new tools that are available to us... For so long creatives have been slaves to these big companies that don’t really care about artist development. I want to encourage others to stop fighting for a seat at a table that was never built for them and instead create their own table specially curated to their needs, interests and passions."
Tuareg quintet Imarhan share their hypnotic new single “Tamiditin," featuring Japonais (aka Mohamed Ag Itlale), a pillar of the Tuareg community who recently passed. The new song is a taste off of their upcoming third studio album, Aboogi, which is due in January. Bandleader Iyad Moussa Ben Abderahmane, aka Sadam, mentions “It was enough to exist in the same precious time as [Japonais'] poetry and music but to have recorded with him... was so special. He was an exceptional artist and personality. When I met him by chance, it felt like magic. He... wanted us to sing his songs because he didn’t have the strength and trusted us to carry his music on."
Lasgiidi 'Still I Rise' EP
LasGiiDi returns with his first official body of work in the shape of the 6-song Still I Rise EP. The new collection of songs offer a captivating blend of afro-fusion beat work featuring appearances from Psycho YP (on EP highlight "Whoozy"), J-Lomah, and DJ Poizon Ivy. "The project lets off a lot of painful secrets embodied that have never been revealed," LasGiiDi mentions, "it also invites the listener into my mind state that’s always been something I’ve chosen to not reveal. I put it all on the line."
FAVE 'Baby Riddim'
FAVE recently shared the new single and music video for "Baby Riddim," a head-turning fusion of afropop melodies with Caribbean influences. “I’m never slacking on a chance to unlock a phase. A chance to birth a sound, a chance to love up on a beat. If it’s calling, I’m answering," she mentions.