Songs Of The Day: New Music From Ruger, Kwesi Arthur, Ictooicy & More
Including DJ Neptune, Ruger, Blaqbonez, and more.
Including DJ Neptune, Ruger, Blaqbonez, and more.
As the year winds down, the sheer number of music we receive at The NATIVE keeps growing at an exponential rate. With live shows back in full swing and Afropop hits such as Wizkid’s “Essence” and CKay’s “Love Nwantiti” climbing the charts both home and abroad, there has never been a more exciting time than the present for the ever-evolving sonic landscape. Through it all, we remain committed to the ideal of music discovery and sharing that is a big part of what we stand for.
That’s where our Songs of the Day column comes in. We’re doing the work to stay on pulse with all the music coming out from across the continent and beyond, bringing you exciting songs of tomorrow: today. Last time out, we had exciting music from Kizz Daniel, Vigro Deep, and Nissi amongst others. Today, we’re bringing you new music from DJ Neptune, Ruger, Blaqbonez, and more.
Three years ago, DJ Neptune reached into a deep vault of collaborations with a collection of African stars to release a body of work that captured the best and brightest of Afropop on ‘Greatness.’ The follow-up to that album is only better and shinier, seeing the DJ-producer spread his net to include talents from across the continent and the black diaspora. On “Cash,” the DJ links the boundless energy of Kumasi’s drill scene with the street-savviness of Eastern Nigeria by pairing Kofi Jamar and Jeriq who trade bars about the merits of cash.
When Blaqbonez dropped ‘Sex Over Love’ in April, it was the culmination of a wild 18 months when his reach had expanded beyond music to cultural influencer status due to his rabble-rousing ways. Nowhere on that LP did his mischievous instincts come to the fore as they did on “Okwaraji,” a Beats By Jayy-produced trap-meets-ballad attempt that sees him accept the cold nature of the streets. Featuring Bella Shmurda on the remix that is housed on the deluxe of ‘Sex Over Love,’ the “Cash App” singer paints a striking picture of how success can alienate one from love, instead of settling for the comfort of loveless trysts.
More than five years months after passing, the death of Sound Sultan still doesn’t feel real. An avatar of contemporary Nigerian Pop, he established his artistry across a stacked catalogue of seven albums and numerous impactful singles. To pay homage to the legend celebrated A&R, songwriter, and singer, Bankulli has teamed up with Canadian-Nigerian afro-fusion singer, Töme, to release a single that pays homage to his personality and far-reaching impact on the growth of Nigeria, and African music. Named “Journey Back Home,” the song is a pithy recognition that Sound Sultan has ascended to be with the elders and is now in a better place, where he is unencumbered by earthly concerns.
Following his star-studded entrance earlier this year on the D’Prince and Rema-assisted “One Shirt,” Jonzing World’s Ruger has just released his sophomore project, only a few months after his debut ‘Pandemic.’ The singer offers a re-immersion into his world titled ‘The Second Wave,’ which features standout track “Champion,” a braggadocious number. Yet, it is on “Snapchat” that his carefree flirting and bouncy melodies are at the strongest as he recalls shooting his shot to a love interest on the social platform.
Following the release of his previous single “Different” earlier this year, Ghanaian rapper and singer, Kwesi Arthur has linked up with Nigerian singer Teni for a congratulatory number titled “Celebrate.” Over the song’s catchy production, both singers toast and celebrate the good life, choosing to ignore life’s worries and focusing instead on the pleasures it offers. “Cause the money no matter/show dem go celebrate tonight,” he sings over the memorable hook, encouraging listeners to focus on the joy that the festive period brings rather than the poor economic state of their countries.
R2Bees are Afropop royalty. In a career spanning across 15 years and three albums, the duo have created timeless music and moments that have resonated with generations of singers. On their fourth album, ‘Back To Basics,’ they lean into their mastery of a range of genres while collaborating with the new vanguard of Afropop. On “Fine Wine,” led by King Promise and Joeboy, the veterans weave an array of melodies in and out of the strong deliveries by their guests.
A key figure in the Nigerian drill scene, Psiv introduced himself to the world last year with “GANGLAND,” a highlight off his debut EP ‘Welcome to the 234’ which offered a panoramic view of the brutal reality of life in Nigeria. On his latest single, “So Sexy,” the singer’s motivations are more mellow as he affirms a dedication to the hot women he finds sexy. Vocalist, E.VE., contributes a lustrous hook atop Zolo’s dusky beat, perfectly complementing the sensual vibe of the single.
One of the biggest benefits of the Internet is how artists who may not have previously known about each other are able to find themselves and collaborate across borders. Released today, ‘Love, Always,’ is a labour of love from artists located in places across the world. Nigerian musicians, AYLØ & Ictooicy join Ocapo for a song about keeping the energy in a relationship on a high. Flitting from soul to jazz, and dreamy rap, the song combines all their unique strengths for a gentle single that finds wider expression within the expanse of ‘Love, Always.’
Nissa Seych has a voice that sounds like melted butter. Her music pushes a deft fusion of Reggae, Afropop and Dancehall that is tinctured with the confessional aura of R&B and her latest song, “Hazy,” is an alluring investigation into how a romance can unravel. Dissecting her frustrations with a romance and seeing her on the verge of giving up on that love, “Hazy” has Nissa Seych deftly layering her voice over the mid-tempo instrumental produced by Zeffir, using it to create a hallucinogenic effect that elevates the song. “Hazy” follows up from “Ghost” and “Galagos” where Nissa Seych trialled a classic rap flow, adding another bow to her armoury.
Earlier this year, Victony was in an accident that profoundly changed his life, leading to a cathartic response on “Pray.” He’s been in inspired form ever since then, collaborating with Mayorkun on the chart-topper, “Holy Father.” On “Nataraja,” a two-pack song collaboration with Rexxie, who dropped his stellar debut, ‘A True Champion,’ earlier this year, the singer is effusively expressing affection for a love interest. On “Like Dat,” the singer leans gently layers his vocals about defending his lover over buttery production by Rexxie while “Ego,” featuring a signature Amapiano fusion instrumental from Rexxie, has Victony dreamily asking for the best of romance from his lover.