Songs Of The Day: New Music from Timaya, Ms Banks, Iyanya & More
Recent drops to keep you going for the rest of the week
Recent drops to keep you going for the rest of the week
2022 is no longer a new year, and Afropop knows that very well. As much as the previous year was packed with scene-defining achievements, especially within the context of global growth, the only way to keep the momentum from falling off is for artists to keep reaching into their bag for great music that holds the ears and captures the hearts of millions of listeners across the continent and well beyond. That’s exactly what’s been happening, so much so that there’s hundreds of new singles, at-least one new must-hear album and a new smash hit every week.
Amidst this torrent of new music, The NATIVE is committed to highlighting the best releases you need to hear, and possibly add to your playlists. That’s the essence of our ‘Songs of the Day’ column. Earlier this week, we brought you highlight selections from Reekado Banks, Niphkeys, Busiswa, Bisa Kdei and more. For our mid-week installment, here are recent releases from Timaya, Ms Banks, Iyanya, and more.
Following his 2021 continent-spanning, BNXN-assisted smash hit “Cold Outside”, Timaya shows no sign of losing steam as he follows through with his debut record of the year, “No Pressure”. Over the past few years Timaya has refined his sound and lyrics, establishing himself as a purveyor of chill groovy music with lyrics that tilt towards hedonistic themes and a general gospel of giving yourself to the moment. His 2019 smash hit, “I Can’t Kill Myself” highlights this superfluously. With its chill groovy cadence and its relatable hook, it spawned a full blown cultural moment. On “No Pressure” the singer continues on this route, as he bounces over a swanky mid tempo production, inflected with melodious horns, preaching his gospel of hedonism as he declares his earnest desire of living a life without pressure.
In the 2010s Iyanya thrilled the world with Afropop records spanning the entire spectrum, from the high-octane club jam “Kukere” to the R&B-inflected “Mr Oreo”. Following a string of low-key releases in 2021, he starts off this year with the Arya Starr-assisted “Call”. On the record, Iyanya draws from his archetypal late 2010s sound which leaned full tilt into mid-tempo R&B melodies. The production is a stripped-down, R&B-inflected Afropop sound featuring minimalist drum patterns and bouncy grooves. Iyanya and Arya both deliver mesmerising vocal performances over the mid-tempo bouncy groove, their vocals skimming and bouncing over the beat. The effect is an immersive soothing experience.
On this record, British-Nigerian singer-rapper MS Banks rallies fellow British-Nigerian Tion Wayne and singer Eight9Fly for a sunny bouncy number. The production is a salacious bouncy groove peppered with high pitched guitar riffs and zingy drums. Eight9Fly blesses the record with his swanky flows and sultry vocals over the addictive hook. Ms Banks and Tion Wayne hold up their end, delivering electrifying rapid-fire verses, with lyrics like “Hair money green and my swag look clean” and “Love them smooth and brown like Banks and Meghan”.
Off the just released My WorlD With U, “Press” is one of the conspicuous standouts on Nigerian soul singer WurlD’s debut album. The record follows his characteristic percussion-heavy and sensual melodic sound. The song reflects on the disquieting aspects of the dynamics of wooing a love interest. On the song he tunnels through the full gamut of emotions experienced by a person chasing a muse who is not quite interested in the love proposal. He sings about being forlorn because his love interest isn’t interested in his advancements as she has someone she’s in a relationship with, even though she’s giving him mixed signals. Expressing his tumultuous emotional state with lyrics like, “She no dey press, she tell me baby, she no want stress, she got her own so she no they press”.
“C Major” follows Seyi Vibez’ archetypal sonical arc. On the record he blends quintessential Yoruba melodies and exotic aspirational soul melodies into a brilliant whole. On the percussion upholstered record, he contorts his voice, scooting from a cool speaking-like tone to poignant sonorous crooning and vice versa as the song burns through. He explores themes like hope and divine assistance as he delivers his lyrics in Yoruba.
On “Make It Right”, sensational newcomer TIA taps Onyinye for a slowburn groovy RnB number. The production is immersive, lush and delicate—like dipping your hand into a jar of marshmallows. The pair take turns surfing the beat with their sultry vocals, as they deliver a salacious duet. On the record, TIA surfs a familiar arc, exploring the theme of unconditional love as he sings “Shey we dey dey, shey we dey dey like that, shey you dey dey when I dey say my mind”.
On “WEAK”, newcomer Frayz delivers a sunny ballad, laying his sultry vocals over percussion-heavy Afropop production punctuated by shimmering guitar riffs. On the record, he displays his dexterity as an artiste, contorting his voice and employing his usual clipped cadence to convey a range of emotions. The narrative of the song follows a familiar arc, he sings about his attraction to his muse and showers her with adulation, employing soulful melodies and cheeky lines to this effect.
In 2020, Kelvyn Boy was among the slew of musicians that added colour and vibrance to the otherwise gloomy year, thrilling fans with a smattering of singles and his debut album, ‘Blackstar’. If his 2020 was a bubbly montage, his 2021 was a fine point — going the full year without a release. This year, the Ghanaian singer comes full circle, returning to the scene with a sunny highlife-inflected Afropop record. “Down Bad” is a bouncy, percussion driven number, peppered with exotic melodies, anthemic horns and tantalizing guitar riffs. On the record, Kelvyn Boy shuffles between nonsensical playful chants and offering adulation to his muse. The effect is an infectious playful summertime bop.