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The Weeknd Sampled Legendary Ethiopian Singer Aster Aweke on 'False Alarm'

Ethiopian music legend Aster Aweke is sampled on The Weeknd's second Starboy single, "False Alarm"

In September, Abel Tesfaye promised fans Ethiopian influences on his forthcoming Starboy album, coming out November 25 on Republic. Speaking with VMAN, The Weeknd revealed Amharic will “definitely be key” on the new record.


We now know that at least one of those influences can be heard on his second Starboy single. As The Wall Street Journal’s Alan Light points out, the legendary Ethiopian singer Aster Aweke is sampled for a brief moment towards the end of “False Alarm."

In an interview with Light, Tesfaye called Aweke “the Whitney Houston of Ethiopia.” He’s previously referred to her (in the interview with VMAN) as one of his “subconscious inspirations" alongside fellow Ethiopians he grew up listening to like Tilahun Gessesse and Mahmoud Ahmed.

The singer also touched on the plight of refugees around the world during his conversation with the WSJ. “What is happening is very real,” he said, “and we’re at a time when you can’t hide it. It’s being shown on cellphones, shown to people’s faces, and they still try to ignore it. I don’t think we should be waiting for a presidential election to change things—we need to change now. Mayors, governors, however we can figure it out, but it’s something that has to change really fast or it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.”

And although Tesfaye has publicly and financially supported Black Lives Matter in recent months, he reiterated that he’s not quite ready to address social issues head on in his music: “Of course you get angry about what’s happening, and maybe you hear that in a record like ‘False Alarm,’ where I’m screaming and it could be what I just heard on the news. But I don’t know how to make political music—not yet, anyway. People like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, that’s a talent, it’s an art that I wish I could do.”

Listen to Aweke sampled on “False Alarm” (beginning at the 3:18 mark) above. Here's hoping for a proper collaboration in the future.

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15 South African Artists to Watch in 2019

Featuring Manu WolrdStar, Ranks, Dee Koala, Touchline, Sibu Nzuza and more.

Every year a wave of artists breaks in South Africa.

Last year saw young artists such as Mlindo The Vocalist, Muzi, Una Rams, Shekhinah, Sho Madjozi, KLY, Zoocci Coke Dope, Flame, J Molley, Rowlene and a whole lot more become household names and internet sensations. They released projects that shaped the country's musical landscape—a lot of them were on our list of 20 artists who could fuck up the game in 2018.

Alongside the aforementioned artists, there were just as many who were bubbling under, releasing singles that caught the attention of many fans. In 2019, these artists stand a great chance of expanding further and reaching more ears than they did last year.

From Manu WorldStar's lovely pop, to Ranks' version of ATM (African trap music), the refreshing Xhosa rap of Dee Koala, the street raps of Touchline, among others, we bring you a list of South African artists to keep an eye out for in 2019.

*The list is in no particular order.

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The latest African story to become a Netflix original will be an animated, family-friendly musical based on Zimbabwean culture, Deadline reports. The streaming service won a four-way bidding battle for Tunga, created by Zimbabwean-born screenwriter and newcomer to the film industry Godwin Jabangwe.

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Burna Boy Teams Up With Oritse Femi & Konshens on New Track 'Play Am'

Nigeria meets Jamaica on the Young D-produced dancehall-infused jam.

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The artist teams up with fellow Nigerian artist Oritse Femi and Jamaican artist Konshens for the dancehall-infused track "Play Am."

The song opens with a memorable verse from Konshens before both Oritse Femi and Burna join in, making for a unique fusion of Yoruba, Patois and Pidgin over the track's vibrant, multilayered production by producer Young D.

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