Songs Of The Day: New Music From Tomi Owo, Simi, Mr Eazi & More
your mid-week playlist
your mid-week playlist
We’re 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. Today, enjoy new releases from Simi, Tomi Owo, T-Classic, Charlie Kay and more. Dig in.
Lagos-based Tomi Owo encompasses glittering influences in her music. From R&B to neo-soul and Jazz, the singer’s eclectic artistry has earned her a steady fan base, and got her onto the roster of Universal Music Nigeria in 2020. She typically in sparse circles, and “Bird” is her debut single of the year. Lulling bright vocals into the open air of a freedom song, there are bursts of shiny synths illuminating the perspective she renders so passionately.
Earlier this year, Simi made a strong statement with her third studio album, ‘To Be Honest,’ which flexed the artist’s vulnerable lyricism amidst muted production. “Logba Logba” portended one of the album’s striking bops, teasing an excellent sonic alliance from the pomp of Afrobeats’ drum patterns and Highlife’s exciting guitar-playing. The recently released Dammy Twitch visual captures a colourful and urban vibe, casting Simi alongside other beautiful black women, and amidst a lean storyline which involves a jailer.
The chief honcho of Empawa Africa has not hidden his intent to release an album this 2022. In June, he kicked off his year’s account with “Legalize”. Barely two months later, he’s continued his journey with “Personal Baby,” a warm record devoted to the earth-shifting motions of love. It’s co-written with Afropop star Teni, a choice which cumulates in a steamy perspective as he croons about being exclusively sensual with his romantic interest.
Over the years, Zimbabwean artist, producer and label executive have solidified his name as a purveyor of good sounds. On his latest record, his skills both as a musician and curator is present, linking up with South African rapper Cassper Nyovest and fellow countryperson Gemma Griffiths to fine effect. “Solo” is unmistakably a party bop, but there are undertones of solemn lessons especially on Gemma’s chorus where she alludes to no one being an island. The visual does well to capture its urgent vibe as well.
London-based producer and DJ incorporates eclectic sonic choices into her catalogue and that has led to her growing acclaim across EPs. She’s expected to release another later this year, and what better way to propel that run up than this? Amidst the head-wracking beauty of her synths, Sangare’s ancient-sounding chants electrify the core of one’s soul, reaching where no words would and reiterating, as we quite know, that there’s no one way to creating magic. “Water” is a beautifully disruptive song.
In 2019, T-Classic had all the streets spazzing with “Nobody Fine Pass You,” a song which announced his hitmaking potential to the wider Afropop audience. Since then, the artist has sought to replicate and surely exceed its success, but of course that hasn’t been easy. If there’s any clear path to ascendance, it comes on the ‘Voicenote EP,’ his latest project. A standout off the six-track tape is this Niphkeys-produced number, a bass-heavy affair ready for the dancefloor. Sultry keys delicately unfurl in the background as T-Classic makes a case for his love, using inventive one-liners and an instantly catchy hook to do so.
Hip-Hop has strong roots in the country’s southeastern scene. From the era of Nigga Raw and Slow Dogg down to iLLBliss, rap has been a viable way for the region’s acts to express their hustler mentality and lyrical skills. Previously signed to Penthauze Music, Nuno has struck out on his own while maintaining the ethos that’s earned him a credible fanbase in the East. “Odia” is the lead single off his recently released ‘No Day Off’ album, a sizzling Drill banger lined with ferocious boasts and lived-in tales of growing up in Onitsha.
Zambian-born artist packs a punch into her artistry and it’s quite evident. On her new record “Bona,” she delivers fire-toned lyrics with blistering pace over a futuristic, synth-heavy beat. The pomp recalls the flamboyant direction many Southern African rappers are taking, but Sampa is original and edgy in her perspective, delivering the lines with audible glee when she raps, “we’ve been rocking this s**t since the origin/ they be acting like they can’t see us win.”