Songs Of The Day: New Music From Nonso Amadi, Somadina, Erigga & More
A necessary playlist for the weekend
A necessary playlist for the weekend
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, tonnes of 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 Skiibii, Preye, Dunnie, Ajebo Hustlers, and more. Dig in!
Every fan of Nigerian music has been eating good this year and there’s no signs of stopping. The sheer variance of sounds and artists are almost viscerally pleasing, as though you could reach out and touch the music. Somadina’s “Rolling Loud” is that kind of song, a colourful, trippy record pulsing with juicy, affirmative vocals. Adapting the bad gyal vibe of Dancehall purveyors, Somadina blends cheeky quotables into body-swinging moments.
Soulful describes the music of Preye, the Nigerian vocalist who’s made positive impressions on the audience for a number of years now. Ahead of her project, she’d released the glittering singles “Malibu” and “Crayons,” a stripped ode to her childhood. She’s now put out ‘Don’t Look Down,’ a 7-track project which houses both tracks. “Love, Today” is however the lead single, a powerful record which recognizes the fleeting nature of life and why seizing moments are necessary. “Just wanna be free; keeping it cool/ Turn up the heat, pour out the wine,” she sings on the breezy chorus, joined later by a typically illuminating verse from Ladipoe.
One thing Vector has mastered over the career is pop-rap experiments. He’s able to switch lanes or cross them so purposefully, most recently to fine effect on the Goodgirl LA-featuring “Early Momo.” He’s joined by another stellar guest in the iconic Wande Coal, both of them swinging over glittering synth-based Trap production. The narrative of a lover’s mother playing an unlikely matchmaker is explored humorously, giving a sunny levity to the musicians’ delivery.
The music of Skiibii has been on a consistent rise since last year, spawning hit songs and notable cultural lingo. As you’d expect, that has granted the musician a new lease on life, a more graceful perspective if you will. On his latest EP, ‘Life of A King,’ the record “Flex” is gloriously-toned and well-sung, relaying the musician’s ambition to get the best from life. The Niphkeys production packs his signature flourishes, while Skiibii also utilises a unique variant of the stacked vocals that’s been a fixture all through Afropop’s 2022.
Nuel is better known for gospel songs, but on the just-released ‘Bobibi’ he charts broader seas. Love is the moving nucleus of the five-song EP which features Johnny Drille and Remii. A standout is this vibrant, earthy collaboration with Timi Dakolo. Performing gleefully over party-esque drums, the duo evoke the famous thrill of falling heads over heels in love. It’s also a fitting compass for the project’s overall mood: a fullness of romance courted with relative innocence.
For those who know, Nonso Amadi is back. The R&B savant has made good on his promise to release music this year, following up the introductory “Foreigner” with “Different”, a record whose collaboration with Majid Jordan introduced a distinct edge to Amadi’s signature sound. He’s gone three for three with “Eye To Eye,” a soothing record which underplays the romantic tension at its center. He’s admitting of being struck by a certain love interest, working up a catchy chorus to illuminate the practices of their union. “We don’t always see eye to eye,” he sings with raw honesty, “but when we know when it’s the perfect time.”
Street Hop unarguably influences the center of mainstream pop, and Trod is a strong name in that movement. For starters, he’s the younger brother of the late great Dagrin. But asides that, Trod is an highly competent rapper, a fact that’s bare on his new album, ‘Grinface’. The hallmarks of his style are well represented on “Ise,” an introspective slowburn off the tape. His vocals, inflections and word choice are well calculated to create a balanced record, one with enough soul but enough Hip-Hop to keep your head moving.
Highlife is an important sonic touchstone for many Afropop acts today, from Omah Lay to Black Sherif. The name Lovn may or may not be familiar to you, but his latest song will have you on notice. Titled “Caution,” the mid-tempo record borrows the electricity of local percussions and Lovn’s singing, very accomplished and deftly lyrical, is the perfect accompaniment. He weaves sexual innuendos into essential life advice, maintaining a cheeky mastery while at it. “Egungun wey enter for church, na im go anointing touch/ Dog wey go loss, no go hear whistle of the hunter,” he sings wisely in the opening lines. A fine run-up to his ‘This is Lovn’ tape expected later this year.
An irresistible candour permeates this record. Dunnie’s renown as a multi-skilled entertainer is well charted, but has her singing been undermined? She’s a very capable singer, and her background in producing endows her with melodies. On the Deeyasso-produced “More (Ko Ko Ko),” her sunny vocals capture the exhilarating mood that comes with finding your better half. The glistening allure in the production is also very alive, bringing the song’s warmth into completion. If you fancy a well-natured love song, surely have this one on repeat.
By all markings a label record, “Keep on Rocking” reworks the Amapiano trend into a breezy affair. The Semzi production sounds made for these cold Lagos evenings, surrounded with the enthusiastic vocals of the featured musicians. Piego’s signature crooning meets Knowledge’s story-spiced bars, but it’s Frayz on the hook who binds the record with sustained zest. If you know anything about Fridays in Nigeria, you’d know this isn’t an advice as much as it’s a precursor to already rolling events.
Revered for his wit as much as his technical abilities, Erigga is a rap savant. For lovers of his music this has been obvious for close to a decade, but the Warri-raised rapper has consistently worked his way into mainstream discussions. Earlier today, he released ‘The Lost Boy’, an album which bares all his strengths as a music-maker. Take for instance, this guitar-licked Drill-leaning record with the exciting Jeriq. Their distinct styles are combined for an aspirational bop, the kind of song you’ll want to hear when something really good happens to you. Solid chune.