Music

Weekend Playlist: The Best New Music From Kendrick, Davido, Reason & More

These are the songs you need to hear this week.

DIASPORA—At the end of every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music and round up the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks in a Weekend Playlist for you.


Follow our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every Friday and read about some of our weekend selections ahead.

King Kendrick does it again

Kendrick Lamar dropped another incredible music video, this time for his DAMN. standout, "Element." As our contributor Alisha Acquaye writes, "in 'Element' violence exists alongside beauty, wonder, curiosity and power, illustrating a nuanced portrait of black life, survival and what it means to be hard."

Maleek Berry "Been Calling"

Maleek Berry continues his hot streak with his latest single, "Been Calling," a catchy afrobeats-meets-dancehall concoction about longing for a girl.

DJ Zan-D “Rigorous” ft. Reason

“Rigorous” sees Reason floss his rigorous lifestyle–which includes looking fresh at Fashion Week and deserving a spot on your top 5, among other things. A perennial bass line and bouncy 808 rhythm carries the song through. It's an easy listen from one of South Africa’s most gifted rhymers.

Davido "If" Remix

Davido dropped a remix of his smash hit, "If," featuring new vocals from R. Kelly. We're not entirely sure how we feel about it, but here it is above.

Lady Moon & The Eclipse "Augmented"

Brooklyn's Lady Moon & The Eclipse celebrate Congolese independence from Belgium, today, with this one-shot video for "Augmented." The song "pays homage to the infinite fight for peace, freedom & justice, in the Kongo and Afrika," the group mentions.

Show Dem Camp x Funbi

Nigeria's Show Dem Camp link up with Funbi for "Up To You," the silky lead track off their Palm Wine Music album.

Kid Tini “Bekezela” (ft. Lisa)

One of the most promising rappers in South Africa, Kid Tini’s latest song is an ode to his mother. He delivers his verse with a swaggering bravado over a slow trap instrumental. The vocalist Lisa’s hook and backing vocals give the song a soulful feel.

Kahli Abdu "Romantic Girl"

New York-based Nigerian Kahli Abdu rolls through with the Kid Konnect-produced "Romantic Girl," one for your new fling.

Big Nuz “Sibongile”

Durban kwaito duo Big Nuz have a new one for the dance floor. If you aren’t too busy dancing, you’ll notice that “Sibongile” is essentially a light-hearted love song that is sure to keep you warm.

DJ Lag “Khonkolo”

The lead single to gqom producer DJ Lag’s upcoming EP, Trip To New York, is a firestarter of note consisting of an indistinct chant, recurring synth, and a rhythm that’s sure to invoke a booty shake.

Nu Epoque "Ginga"

The Barcelona-based Nu Epoque is a trio that consists of Mozambican singer/beatmaker Simonal Bie, Angolan vocalist Monica Mussungo and Italian pianist Leonardo Cincinelli. They deliver an alluring single and forest video for "Ginga."

Follow our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every Friday

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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