In a year where we’ve had to fight for basic human rights while being quarantined away from friends and family, music has emerged as an important distraction from the things that trouble us. With music of African origin rising to global consciousness, it’s important to continue to document the songs that highlight the talent, tenacity, and diversity of artists within our industry. We’ve scouted through the continent and come up with our picks of all the best songs released today.
We started the week with recommendations from Ade Lasodé, Moelogo, Buju, ArnieeF, Lē and more. This mid-week curation offers all the best new releases from Burna Boy’s new video for “Wonderful”, Willywine and Dice Ailes, Ghanaian rapper, Rvdical The Kid, Idris Lawal, Ibeji and more. Enjoy.
Burna Boy – “Wonderful”
The music video for Burna Boy’s latest single, “Wonderful” is here and it celebrates the tribal African culture. Coming off the high of his back to back BET awards for Best International Act, the ‘African Giant’ debuted the single as the first release from his coming project, ‘Twice as Tall’. “Wonderful” continues right where Burna Boy left off on ‘African Giant’ as he resumes his proud championing of his African culture. Director K set the music video for “Wonderful” in a jungle where Burna Boy is accompanied by spear-wielding dancers dressed in tribal costumes and wearing face paints. The opening scene shows Burna Boy looking at a reflection of himself as a Gorilla in a stream. before he’s captured by the tribal dancers. The video, however, closes with Burna Boy as the champion of the tribal community and we are inclined to wonder if the video alludes to the fanfare he got after ‘African Giant’ earned Grammy nods last year.
Rvdical the Kid – “Skimp on the Shrimp” Feat. Yonkwi
Ghanaian producer, Rvdical the Kid has enlisted the services of Øbed, as co-producer and Yonkwi as the lead artist for his new single, “Skimp on the Shrimp”. The resulting collaboration is an effortlessly cool and tender song that’s also all about unrequited love. Yonkwi got raw and vulnerable as he addressed his muse, singing and rapping over the catchy trap beat which elevates the song from good to great when the beat drops. With clever one-liners like, “you know I’m nostalgic with my heart babe/ Want that throwback”, it’s sure to be an ear-worm over the next few weeks.
Idris Lawal – “Hey Colonizer”
Idris Lawal just released his EP, ‘Young, Black & Blue’ and he packed it full of songs that fight the power, comfort the afflicted and offer a relatable narrative for Africans in the diaspora. Sonically, the album listens like a progression from Fela’s Afrobeat sound. as he sings and raps over Jazz fuelled beats, composed with assistance from saxophonist, Jelani Watson. On the standout track, “Hey Colonizer”, his songwriting skills are highlighted, as he’s able to celebrate his African tradition, juxtaposing the joys of dance with the realities of the everyday post-colonial battle ; “I do my shoki/ palongo/ shakitibobo/ I do my Zanku/ skelewu/ shakushaku/ I do azonto/ do my dance till I tire”.
MillyWine – “Run Up” feat. Dice Ailes
Dice Ailes knows all about big introductions, and he provides the assist here for debut artist MillyWine, on new track “Run Up”. Signed to legendary producer Leriq’s record label, MillyWine counts Angelique Kidjo and Travis Scott as major influences. Over the catchy Randay-produced beat with a mix of atmospheric synths and percussion harmonies, the Lagos-hailing artist sings “I gotta spend money on my toes/ Got a lot but I still want more”. Milly Wine embodies the recklessness of youth while his pitched vocals add a nice touch to his joyous resolution to do whatever he wants. Dice Ailes delivers a melodic rap verse for his set which references his hit song, “Otedola” to make for a vivid, unrestrained and endearing listen.
Lolade – “Dive” feat. Fuga the Pirate
When we look back at 2020, we’ll remember how music sustained us through the pandemic and offered comfort and distraction from the chaotic news updates. Lolade recognises this and made sure her latest single, “Dive” provided the soothing harmonies and sentiments to ease whatever pressures listeners might be dealing with. “Solace is that place that you can be/ Run away from places that they hurt you”, she sings over the sober R&B beat, complemented perfectly by a succinct rap offering from Fuga The Pirate.
Ibeji – “Boda Suraju”
Ibeji’s new album, ‘ìlù ìlú’ bears all the hallmarks of classic Yoruba folk music. The use of Yoruba lyrics, traditional drum riffs and rattling samples give Ibeji’s music a rustic grooviness that feels like it slipped through the cracks of time, as he performs songs entrenched in old sounds. “Boda Suraju”, one of the highlights of ‘ìlù ìlú’ brings back a forgotten folklore narrative with lyrics that pass a message of hope by telling the story of a poor man who worked hard to overcome poverty and become a wealthy person. Using a combination of Yoruba proverbs and some contemporary English slangs, Ibeji revives folk Yoruba music and delivers it with a modern attitude without sacrificing the authentic feel.
You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu