Songs Of The Day: New Music From WhoIsAkin, Deto Black, Blaq Jerzee & More
start your week with this eclectic collection
start your week with this eclectic collection
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. Today, enjoy new releases from WhoIsAkin, 3rty, Blaq Jerzee and more. Dig in.
The talented Nigerian act signed under emPawa Africa has released his new record, “Damaged”. A softly-strung record built on percussions and swooning violins, the musician’s Biker phase continues as he riffs on life, adversity and triumphs. He’s ultimately determined to steer clear of temptations, singing with a wizened perspective how he intends to stand out in the music industry. With inventive rhymes and the subject matter, this is definitely the most affirmative we’ve seen from a musician better known for his tales of young, complex love.
For years, lovers of a certain kind of alternative sound have rang loud the gospel of 3rty. He describes his music as one with healing vibrations, deftly immersed in the practices of African traditional lifestyle. The musician is however able to extend those qualities into a peculiar kind of pop-centric record, which is what he does on “Brown Sugar”. Almost muted from the start, the record progresses with dreamy perfection and, later on, the Wande Coal-esque vocalising which is rendered in pristine Yoruba.
Ever since he began creating songs as an artist, Blaq Jerzee has been on a consistent ascension. He’s proven capable at delivering unique Afropop records with a soulful edge, and “Dangerous” is another object from his bag of tricks. Drawing from the Palmwine-suffused sound of Juls, the production sets a mellow field for Jerzee and London-raised Jaz Karis to trade tales of their undefeatable love, portending a danger for naysayers. The Prince Dovlo visual is shot in Ghana and warmly translates the song’s theme with tender, colourful scenes.
Revered Hip-Hop producer Teck-Zilla stays behind the boards for all the songs off LanrayX’s new project, ‘Step It Up’. The soundscape is a collage of mellow, lo-fi beats which are paired with laidback, introspective rapping and evocative singing from a guest such as Maka. On “YGTLT,” the musicians tackle existential themes with stylistic assurance. “I care less about what society thinks/ They only care about your titanic luxury until it sinks,” LanrayX raps in his first verse, merging Old School knowledge with pop culture references.
When two fierce female voices connect, you know you’re in for a treat. “Bad Slut” is barely two minutes long, but the energy that jumps out will stay with you for a long time. Built on rocky drums and psychedelia-tinged loops, the record has that you-can’t-restrain-me energy that was the outlying feature of the Alte movement. Even with the colourful vocals and fast-paced nature of the song, its aspirational turn is obvious in lyrics like “Bitches want everything” and “I know I can fly”. The Shanti-directed visualizer also does beautifully in capturing the flagrance and fun.
Even before winning the much-followed BBNaija, Laycon was always heavy on his artistry. He wanted to be known as an artist, specifically a rapper, first, and he’s been keen to show that. On the second version of fan favourite “God Body,” he unites with the veteran rapper A-Q for a spaz off session. Over minimal, boom bap production they both unfurl lyrics with relations to the religious overtone in its title, making their claim on the rap game while paying homage to God for their uniquely successful trajectories. “God makes the tables turn, Jesus was the carpenter,” raps Laycon in his second verse, showcasing the deft wordplay which permeates this record.
Having soundtracked iconic Alte records for the better part of five years, Higo has been extending his sonic material. On his latest record titled “Tsunami,” he calls up Jilex Anderson for a vocal performance. His guest delivers in scintillating fashion, layering his calm vocals over Higo’s atmospheric production. What results is an undeniably sensual record, with the titular word employed as a metaphor for a woman’s explosiveness.
Featured image credits/NATIVE