Songs Of The Day: New music from Gyakie, Angelique Kidjo, Kamo Mphela & more
Catch up on notable recent releases from around the continent
Catch up on notable recent releases from around the continent
Music has served as the life force connecting people and communities around the world in these unprecedented times. Though the pandemic has denied us live shows and concerts, where the magical bond between artists and fans unfolds in real-time; artists have remained committed to sharing music with fans, so we continue to honour their art and create space and visibility for them. Last year, The NATIVE created our ‘Songs Of The Day’ column as an avenue to curate some of the best and biggest songs from around the continent. In the time since its creation, the column has served as a means to discover music from niche, rising acts, while also spotlighting releases from the biggest artists on the continent. As artists continue to share their music with us this year, it’s only right that we continue pointing you towards as much great music as we possibly can.
With this month being Women’s History Month, and a year since the coronavirus altered life as we knew it, our curation will emphasize celebrating women and music that have made these uncertain times more bearable. After a week long break, we’re back to putting you unto new releases, with today’s curation including recent drops from Gyakie, Burna Boy, Angelique Kidjo, Cassper Nyovest and more. Dig in and enjoy.
Gyakie is budding pan-African superstar. That much has been made clear by the ongoing success of her smash hit, “Forever”, a standout blue-eyed love song off her debut EP, ‘Seed’. Last week, the Fresh Meat alum shared the remix to the hit song, with a new verse from last year’s pan-African breakout star Omah Lay. To make proceedings even more significant, both singers are now international labelmates, with Gyakie’s recent signing to RCA Records via a new recording deal with Sony Music West Africa. Keeping momentum on “Forever (Remix)”, an accompanying music video has been shared, and it features crisp shots of Gyakie performing her set in a moving car, under neon lights (alongside Omah Lay), and in the midst of colourful flowers.
Put a finger up if you knew one day, Mowalola was going to drop a song. Over the weekend, the many-faced girl dropped a short release, “LiKe ME”, where she made the stamp we see in her creative direction on wax. Against an electronic beat reminiscent of the backing music in an arcade game, she reminds everyone that she’s in charge, alongside a playful and psychedelic video directed by Odunsi The Engine.
Over the course of her sprawling, awe-inspiring career, Angelique Kidjo has made it a point of duty to speak truth to power and encourage her vision of an African society that doesn’t step on the necks of its citizens. Inspired by last year’s youth-led protests against police brutality in Nigeria, the Beninese singer has collaborated with Nigerian singer Yemi Alade for a new socially charged single, “Dignity”. Over an up-tempo beat, both singers mourn the needless violence being endured by Black bodies all over the world, whether it’s outside the continent due to racism, or within due to greedy and self-serving government officials. The release is also accompanied by a brightly shot video, where we see both singers dancing and singing with a defiant verve, as a plot relating to the song also unfolds around them with an artsy edge.
Albanian-American singer Enisa caught the attention of Nigerians on social media after rapper and her High Bridge label boss, A Boogie With Da Hoodie, suggested she collaborate with Davido for the remix of her single, “Love Cycle”. After months of strengthening her relationship with Twitter NG, and recently collaborating with Tanzanian singer Rayvanny, Enisa has finally dropped the Davido-assisted “Love Cycle (Remix)”. The new remix maintains its Reggaeton-indented beat and Enisa’s boisterous melodies, with the main addition being Davido’s typically assured verse, where he sings of being seduced by a love interest for his wealth and fame. The accompanying video plays to the song’s catchy elements, focusing on both singers performing their set at a neon-lit party.
A year after their highly publicised beef, Nigerian rap veterans M.I Abaga and Vector squashed their beef under protracted circumstances. Their tiff was the centre of a mini-doc series, they appeared together on the last Hennessy cypher, and the pair recently released a long overdue collaborative song, “Crown of Clay”. Produced by Pheelz, who also sings its hook, the new song finds both rappers in self-eulogising mode, while using pre-colonial ancestral heritage as the spiritual guiding force to give it more heft. Directed by Olu the Wave, the music video does a good job of capturing the song’s essence, blending hood elements and religious symbolism with an artsy edge. It inevitably ends with Vector and M.I sitting side-by-side on their thrones while wearing shiny crowns.
For the majority of last year, Shane Eagle was largely silent on the new music front, eventually releasing ‘Xenergy: The Final Saga’, a visual album at the tail end of the year to remedy the pandemic’s effect on his touring plan for 2019’s ‘Dark Moon Flower’. The South African rapper has opened his account for this year with “AMMO”, a boastful thumper that finds him at his typically imperial best, as he issues out notices to naysayers and brags about his stuffed pockets. He’s joined by YoungstaCPT who steals the show with a phenomenal rap verse that mixes brashness with introspective truths like, “raised hard/couldn’t show no weakness or kindness”. The video for “AMMO” is aptly frenzied, cutting together footage of Shane and Youngsta rapping their verses in a moving car, in a desert, in front of a church, and on the staircase of a high rise building.
As a singer and dancer, Kamo Mphela best encapsulates the visceral spirit of Amapiano as a club-ready sound for a young and fun generation of South Africans. Having contributed to several smash hits over the last two-plus years, including “Sandton” and “Amanikiniki”, her credentials are evident. Stepping further into the spotlight as a solo artist, she’s gearing up to release her sophomore EP, ‘Nkulunkulu’, in early April, and she’s just shared the title track as its lead single. As evidenced by its accompanying video, which features energetic dance routines and religious imagery, “Nkulunkulu” is a potential club banger, with its thumping production from Major League DJz, as Kamo prays to God for wealth and the strength to live her best life, singing with a chant-rap energy that’s become her trademark.
Cassper Nyovest isn’t afraid to experiment. In 2018, the South African rap superstar dropped ‘Sweet & Short’, an EP dedicated to exploring his lifelong fascination with Kwaito. Since Amapiano has taken flight, he’s collaborated with some of the burgeoning scene’s key players, and after speculation, he’s gearing up to fully dip his feet into the genre with a dedicated project. Ahead of the tape, he’s dropped “Ama Number Ayi ‘10”, where he boastfully chants over Abidoza’s groovy percussion pattern, droning piano synths and blown-out bass. He’s joined by Kammu Dee, who brings his trademark energy with a swaggering verse.
Fresh off his historic win for Best Global Music album at the latest edition of the Grammys, Burna Boy recently dropped the video for “23”, arguably the best track off his excellent fifth studio LP, ‘Twice As Tall’. Inspired by “The Last Dance”, the documentary series focused on Michael Jordan’s epoch-making, final season at the Chicago Bulls, “23” is Burna Boy’s paean to his self-assured gait as an artist, where he compares his undeniable talent and unbending resolve to that of Jordan. With the Grammy win, the timing of the drop is impeccable, and even though it doesn’t hit grandiose heights, the video features imagery alluding to its inspiration, celebrates Burna’s record-setting feat as the first African artist to pack out London’s SSE Arena, and nods to Women’s History Month with the bulk of its supporting cast being women.
As far as debut singles go in these parts, Nigerian-American singer Kimora’s “Sexy Papa” is as infectious and rhythmic as they come. The groovy new number is rooted in Afrohouse, a dynamic subgenre that has recently found a home in the diverse sonic soundscape across the continent. “Sexy papa, I’m really tryna know ya/Do you know how you awaken my world,” she sings sensually on the song’s first verse, flirting and teasing with a love interest as she tries to convince them of her affection. Kimora shows off her vocal range, effortlessly floating over the song’s catchy production which is sure to grab any listener’s attention. You can hear it in the melodies, this number was tailor-made for dancefloors as it soundtracks the intoxicating feeling of two lovers under the twinkling of club lights. “Sexy Papa” is also said to be the first promotional single off her debut EP out later this year.
Nigerian-born, UK-based Afropop artist, Mukhy is just days off from the release of his debut mixtape ‘Posh Nation’, a 9-track release of sweet-sounding numbers created during the lockdown. The project’s lead single “My Race” has just been updated with a befitting video, one which tells the story of an ambitious youngster with big dreams. Singing “We all get problems, I run my race”, Mukhy depicts his desire to forge his own path and make progress regardless of the situation urging listeners to subscribe to his philosophy. The Nosachii-directed visual includes crisps snapshots of Mukhy in the streets of Lagos, comfortably at home with the city’s inhabitants as he sings to the power of the underdog rising to fame.
Dennis is a staff writer at the NATIVE. Let me know your favourite the Cavemen songs @dennisadepeter