GEMS: A list of the best songs released this week

New music from Straffitti, Loti, Tochi Bedford, Santi and more

Every Saturday, The NATIVE Will Put Out A List Detailing The Best And Most Enjoyable Songs Released During The Week. With The Scope Widening And Music Dropping At An Immeasurable Pace, It’s Easy To Miss Out On A Lot Of New Drops, So We’ve Decided To Help Out, By Collating A List Of The Best Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B Song From All Over The Continent. Our Main Goal With This List Is To Make Finding Great Music Of The Moment Easier For You.

Straffitti – “Everywhere” feat. Buju

Straffitti is one artist who wears many hats. Though he’s mostly known for being a rapper, he is also a graphic designer and a producer. For his latest single, “Everywhere”, Straffitti shows off a more romantic side than we’re used to, and he teams up with Buju for the dancefloor-ready bop. 

Over the upbeat instrumentals Remy Baggins produced with a piercing guitar baseline, Straffiti and Buju perform lyrics inspired by the sparks you feel when you fall in love at first sight; “Let me be the one to follow you/Everywhere”. Just like in most of his songs, Buju’s opening verse and chorus sees him looking for love (at a club). Though the lyrics don’t tell us if he gets the girl or not, it hardly matters because his charming falsetto and laidback flow are designed to be too infectious to resist on the dancefloor.  

The euphoric feeling of falling in love has inspired a lot of beautiful art. In the past week, the song that most accurately captures that feeling is Straffitti and Buju’s “Everywhere” and they accomplish this by confessing the destructive lengths they’d go to be with the one they’ve fallen in love with. While Straffitti says he’s “Spending (his) raba/ No you can’t stop (him)”, Buju threatens us, saying “oh you’re my enemy/ If you no let that baby get with me”. Straffitti’s willingness to evolve and experiment with his sound has always been impressive, here he switches from rapping to singing and adding some patios lines to give the song a reggae flourish. It makes “Everywhere” an outlier in his hip-hop catalog, but then again, the song will stand out no matter the context. 

Loti & KD – “Time of our Lives” featuring Buju

R&B artist, Loti and close friend and producer, KD have been teasing their joint project ‘Sins & Scenes’ for a while now, with the first single “Realer” providing an insight into their carefully crafted youthful world of alcohol, girls and pure unadulterated fun. They’ve just released another single off the project, “Time of our Lives” with a guest feature from Buju.

As the muddled days slowing roll into weeks and the weeks become months, it’s anyone’s guess when things will go back to normal. All across the internet, millennials and GenZers alike are airing out their grievances with these unprecedented times we’re all going through, and its songs like Loti & KD’s “Time of our Lives” that remind us to never let that youthful spirit die. The single presents visions of youthful indiscretions where the order of the day is to be joyful and inebriated, with each memorable lyric enunciated sure to have you rocking and swaying.

Over the drubbing bass-line beat laid down by KD, Loti and Buju are full of life as they encourage listeners to enjoy and make the most of these times. It might seem cruel to reminisce about all the fun we used to have with our friends before the lockdowns, but we’ll let it slide this time because it’s such a catchy tune. ‘You know the vibes, we don dey high/time of our lives we are still young, we need some fun’ coos Loti on the song’s opening verse, leaning into carefree hedonistic ideals. Buju joins him on the next verse and addresses a love interest directly, as he tries to convince her to let go and have fun in this memorable ‘time of [their] lives’.

Shalom Dubas – “One (For the $)”

The way Shalom Dubas tells it, she’s more Notorious B.I.G than Lil Kim and she’s also Pam from ‘The Office’ sitting next to Jim. It’s a statement of identity she champions on “One (For the $)”, a standout selection off her immersive new EP, ‘Mint, Green.’ Over the course of growing catalogue, Shalom has always made it a duty to own her narrative as someone with her own unique complexities, and as an artist who can spit mean sixteens and deliver acoustic ballads. What makes “One” a truly special song is that she doesn’t just own these traits, she embodies them in a way that feels normal and powerful.

With lines about saving endorphins for someone else and its R&B-inflected beat, “One” initially sets itself up as a mushy love song, but as the first verse gracefully crashes in, Shalom subverts those expectations into a song about acceptance—she’s accepted herself, she wants to ensure her love interest accepts her for who she is. “One” doesn’t just hit different because of its relatable nature, it also does because it’s a wonderful feat in technique, with Shalom’s assertive flow adding a playful burn to her vivid raps, and when she sings, her smooth voice preciously colours her devotional words.

Tochi Bedford – “Disintegrate” featuring Cruel Santino

Twenty-year-old artist and producer, Tochi Bedford is literally in his artistic bag. He’s the leader of the producer collective, 44db  which he formed back in 2018 with a group of talented friends, and since then, he’s had a hand in some of the bouncy trap sounds coming out of the scene. From Zamir’s “Anti” to Uglymoss’ “Creep” to even Odunsi’s experimental number “nü finesse”.

At the moment, Tochi Bedford is currently working on his debut project ‘Eternal Mob’ slated for release later this year. In the meantime, he’s rolling out pre-released singles off the new project to whet our appetites for what’s to come. For his latest offering, he’s tapping into Santi’s leisurely signature-style drawl for laidback rap track “Disintegrate”. Over the hi-hat-heavy beat he self-produced, Tochi and Santi deliver snappy raps about not giving in to the hate from the opps and naysayers bent on playing for the wrong side.

‘I never changed niggas be switching positions, I stayed the fucking same’ raps Santi confidently, on the song’s second verse. Both artists trade bars about wanting to detach from all the noise and stay in their own lane making bonafide hits, fucking the baddest bitches, and shaking the shackles of the industry games off their hands and feet. If you’re looking for music to blast on full volume this weekend, you’re in luck.

YMK Sama – “Bubblegum”

Yimika Owoaje, alternately known as YMK Sama, is a funny guy. You only need to go through his Twitter page or stumble upon any of his viral videos to conclude that he possesses a disarming sense of humour. This quality has seeped into his scant releases as a rap artist, mostly in service of socially tilted cuts. For his latest single, “Bubblegum”, YMK turns that ability inward in something of an Issa Dee mirror moment, as he negotiates with himself on the ways he might be willing to compromise in order to better his chances in a space where the relationship between being a rapper and making money is seemingly like oil and water.

“Do I stay true to me or do I pretend to be someone else?” he asks on the chorus, knowing that authenticity or keeping it real as rapper in these parts can be a recipe for constantly fighting against obscurity, and selling out for commercial gains may not bring the satisfaction he craves. It’s a heady debate but the allure of “Bubblegum” is that, even though YMK doesn’t have the answers, he knows what he wants to achieve: “I just want to make the crowd bounce”. Backed by Sir Bastien’s gamer-type piano riff and thudding drums, he does just that—creates a song that will make you bounce.

Davolee – “Festival Bar”

Davolee’s new tape, ‘Festival Bar’ is the project indigenous Yoruba rap fans have been waiting for since 2017. Though there’s no shortage of street-savvy rappers narrating their struggle to get out of the streets, Davolee’s breakout single, “Festival Bar” brought a new dramatic twist to the art with his cinematic depiction of his experience working as a bartender. He promised fans he’d have more stories to come and after 3 years of waiting, we finally have all 4 parts of the Festival Bar hip-hop drama. 

Though all four songs don’t follow the same narrative, the common thread that runs through them is Davolee’s street smart as he explains the different things he has done to survive on the street; working as a bartender, a motor-boy, a fuel station attendant, etc. However, “Festival Bar 3” standout as the centerpiece of the project as it describes how Davolee’s rap career started from a rap battle on the street to sharing freestyles on Instagram till he got noticed; “62 steady straight days ni mo fin drop bars sori IG ko to di pe eyin gbo bayi(I was dropping bars on IG for 62 straight days before you heard about me)”. 

Most people who use Instagram can relate with his sentiment for sharing content with the hope of being discovered one day. However, the song hits the deepest when he describes how he joined Olamide’s YBNL label but eventually had to leave because he still felt unsatisfied. Despite the story’s overarching theme of triumph, Davolee’s unsettlingly detailed lyrics allow him to mention his struggle depression and remind us that sometimes, things get worse before they get better.

Featured image credits/instagram

Words by Dennis Ade-Peter, Tami Makinde and Debola Abimbolu

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