Songs of the Day: New Music from Patoranking, Black Coffee, Ona Dema & more
Light up your weekend with these new releases
Light up your weekend with these new releases
We’re more than halfway through 2022, and it’s been an eventful year for Afropop. There’s been a torrent of great new music, spawning a massive stack of inventive smash hit songs. From Highlife-infused Ghanaian pop, to the unrelenting force that is Nigerian street-pop, to South Africa’s indomitable Dance scene, to tantalising Drill explorations in East and Central Africa, and much, much more, we’re living through abundant and musically expansive times.
Every week, many songs from African artists make their way to digital streaming platforms, and wading through them can be intense. That’s where The NATIVE’s Songs of the Day column comes in to help. We go through as many new releases as possible, spotlighting them here, two to three times every week. This Friday, enjoy new music from Jaido P Lyta, R2Bees, Sigag Lauren and more. Dig In!
A jazzy beat polished with interstellar synths form the backdrop of “There’s Music In The Air,” the new record from Black Coffee and Ami Faku. Both names are famous in the South African scene for their sonic ingenuity, and joining forces restates why: Coffee’s signature House rhythm meets the soulful tones of Faku, creating this modern remake of Letta Mbulu’s 1976 classic of the same title.
Dancehall savant Patoranking takes his time to put out music, but the effort is often worth the wait. Fresh from winning Recording of the Year with last year’s “Celebrate Me,” the musician has released his first single of the year, also the first from his forthcoming fourth album. “Kolo Kolo” is crafted by the familiar hands of Yung Willis and sees Pato joined by Tanzanian superstar Diamond Platnumz as they sing exhilaratingly about a woman’s love, over bright, vocal-heavy production.
Shopla knows how to make street-inspired bangers. His latest is an hypnotic jam which swells with wise, humor-laced caption-ready lyrics. There’s an edge highly reminiscent of Naira Marley in the lyrical approach but Jaido P has even more awareness in his raps, utilising the song’s backend to etch his life philosophy onto the listener. With the beat bursting with pomp and ominous tones in the background, everything just works to make this a fine weekend starter.
Ghanaian music greats R2Bees have carved a space for evocative, melodious love songs. From “Slow Down” to “Kiss Your Hand”, their distinct vocal approach have blended with perfect guests to create perfect odes to a lover’s embrace. Gyakie joins a stellar list then, contributing warm husky vocals to the soulful notes of Mugees and Omar Sterling’s admittedly sterling flow. With the visuals finely capturing its chill metropolitan vibe, everything about this record works.
An offshoot of technology’s influence on Afropop is how many people can create great records. There’s no limits to creativity, and Ema Onigah is a youngster very deep into his own process. After producing and recording “Playful Someone,” he called up his frequent collaborator, the revered producer Ozedikus who adds finishing touches. With crisp, confidence-laced lyrics Onigah spills out the many thoughts in his mind and, like the title suggests, still maintains a playful approach to his pacing and word choices. A stellar record.
A strong melody flows through “Gidigba,” which is indicative of Stonebwoy’s continued flirtation between the brick-solid rhymes of Dancehall and the sugary nature of Afropop. The message is one of strength, as Stonebwoy charts an inspirational tale for his listeners by taking them through the tough moments of his own life. It’s not a mission new to the artist, but here he’s quite convincing and somewhat spiritual, setting himself in the figure of a strong leader.
Primal persussions from Hiplife are everywhere on KiDi’s new record, “Champagne”. Again the Ghanaian superstar highlights his ability to bring the country’s local flavour into his pop excursions, and here he does so beautifully. Echoing the style of label mate Kuami Eugene’s “Take Away”, there’s subtle usage of crowd vocals as KiDi charts the famous tale of coping through a heartbreak. Champagne is the choice liquid, bringing the excesses of a peculiar lifestyle into a warm, groovy number.
Nigerian French-Canadian singer has created heart-warming records cut from R&B, and for her latest she turns the genre’s romantic tension even higher. “Uptight” is accompanied by dramatic visuals which show Tome and a man who’s supposed to be her former lover fighting over its runtime. The activity is a brilliant accompaniment for the slow-paced record, Tome’s distinct tones hitting just as it should.
Abuja rapper Detailmadeit has an insane work ethic. Just a week after releasing the palmwine music-suffused “LUV & BUM BUM,” he’s tapped into the sonicscape of Amapiano for his new record. “Hot Hot” takes record of his accomplishments, especially as an independently-backed musician. With zesty lyrics partly delivered in Pidgin English and Igbo, he’s created a bubbly record intended to soundtrack the happier moments of the year.
uNder alum Ona Dema possesses the uncanny ability to bring refreshing emotions into her music, and “Heart On Fire” is no different. Bright, bouncy percussions lead the way as Dema’s similarly upbeat vocals sing about a lover. It’s a laidback mood, but there’s enough in the minutes to keep your feet tapping and your head bopping. It’s been a while since we heard from her, but she does make the wait count, as expected.
A total of eleven rappers are united in this posse cut remix of MashBeatz’s “Never Ride”. Triumphant, shooting synths and minimal percussion allows the rappers’ the spaces to deliver on their distinct styles, presenting a dizzying array of the range in South African rap. By the end of the song’s six minutes, the feeling is not unlike having got off a rollercoaster, with the bars, like flashing sights, still playing in your head.