GEMS: A list of the best songs released this week

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.


234jaydaa – “23”

234jaydaa steps into new waters with her latest winsome single. A testimonial to her Lagos home and the city’s notoriously happening population, “23” features 234jaydaa’s familiarly soft sirenic voice over an unfamiliar (for the singer) percussive pattern, on an otherwise symphonic DJ Lolu beat. While the first stanza pays attention to the tropical climate of her home town, through its second stanza, “23” embodies the creativity and unrelenting pursuit of the Lagos people jaydaa herself lauds on verse, as she briefly forays into rapping with the bars: “I say rise and shine/they say rise and grind/for no man waits time/the brilliance of the lime”.

Since she is a poet before anything else, jaydaa’s lyrics are, as usual, just as mesmeric as her standout vocals, particularly towards the record’s end, where her siren wails accompany the second chorus and trail into her harmonising on the bridge: “the sun has set and with it the colours fade/slaves to the moon, I bask in your silver shade”. In a league of her own, 234jaydaa is further exploring the island upon which she mines her talent on this new single, and it’s a hit! Luring us further into 234jaydaa fandom, the delectable “23” leaves us bewitched on the self-proclaimed siren’s enchanted shores, pining for more.

SGaWD – “Feel Right” (feat. Mafeni & DOZ)

How do you know when you’re in love?” Rapper/singer SGaWD asked her growing fan base that question ahead of the release of her first official single of the year “Feel Right” featuring rapper, Mafeni. The massive response from her fans resulted in the culmination of a home-made video of listeners from all around the world describing the universal feeling of love and affection. SGaWD may be fairly new in the game, but she already knows all the right ingredients to establish herself as an artist with a loyal following in the game.

Hanging up the sharp, clear raps we heard in“Whorephobia”, SGaWD adopts a more mellow, soulful tone on “Feel Right”, where she examines the vulnerability it takes to commit fully in romantic relationships. Over DOZ’s jazzy production, she sings, “I’ve been wronged before never took a minute to assess it but I know how I feel”, musing over a past relationship where she had to confront a partner with unrequited feelings. She’s joined by Mafeni on the second verse who raps, Hardly let people, I’m usually kicking them out”, admitting the walls he’s had to put up to guard himself from the game called love. Like Drake once accurately summed up, We live in a generation of, not being in love, and not being together”— it’s a sentiment that is perfectly captured by SGaWD and Mafeni on “Feel Right”.

Sampa The Great – “Time’s Up” (feat. Krown)

After a relatively quiet start to the year, Zambian-born, Melbourne-based MC Sampa the Great is back with a new video for her single “Time’s Up”, which first featured on her 2019 album ‘The Return’. “Time’s Up” is a song which finds new relevance amidst the ongoing chaos, as it sees the talented rapper chucking up a bold middle finger to the music industry about its racist ways, that seek to exploit and capitalise on Black artists and their art.

In today’s climate where there’s been a global soul-searching to tackle the racial inequalities that still haunt every sector of our society, Sampa The Great’s message is particularly important in reminding us that – although the uprisings may have calmed down – the battle is far from over. The video which was directed by Sanjay De Silva draws inspiration from the experimental hip-hop music videos of the ’90s with its use of wide-angle lens production. It stays true to the anti-establishment theme of the song (“I seen the industry kill the dream of a dreamer”) as the video closes with the solidarity of black creatives in the industry, reminding us that in order to break these cycles we must create our own damn table.

Kida Kudz – “Buga” Feat. Falz, Joey B

On his path to becoming a key figure in the UK rap community, Kida Kudz made sure to infuse his African traditions with his rap music influences, inventing a sound he terms Afroswank, and helping to further establish Afropop as a veritable and popular sound in the UK. He released his debut project, ‘Nasty’, earlier this year, where he showcased the range of his unorthodox approach to making music. Continuing in that line, he’s linked up with Nigerian rapper Falz and Ghana’s Joey B for his new, Fuji-inspired single, “Buga”.

With the help of expert production from Bad the Sound Boy, “Buga” keeps up Kida Kudz’s knack for singing over dance floor serving grooves. The bouncy rhythm of Afropop drum riffs, percussion and synth samples set up Kida Kudz’s melodic vocals, while his lyrics can focus on stunting on his enemies; “Who dem be? I got enemies but mama don pray”. Falz takes a cue from the Kida Kudz’s self-assured lyrics to deliver a stern but humoured second verse, before Joey B closes the song with a more romance-fueled verse. The result is a confidence-inspiring masterpiece, which highlights the different themes that define dance floors in Africa – romance, cocksure brags and humour. With the infectious melodies, instrumentals and the braggadocios lyrics, “Buga” is a warm and rousing song that’s equal parts bad boys and feel good.

Adé Lasodé – “Scars”

Adé Lasodé has put out more music since the pandemic started than she has since her 2018 debut, “Crave”. She’s always had a DIY approach to recording music, but self-isolating has clearly put her in a more productive place, seeing as she just released her fourth single of the year, “Scars”, a gracefully emotive song about the pain she’s experienced in love.

The self-produced “Scars” opens with brooding guitar harmonies, which form the instrumental scaffold for the melancholic set where she describes her struggle with love; “My mind craved love but my heart felt rust”. “The song was inspired by the guitar chords”, Ade tells us of the song via text. “After that, the words just followed. It was important for me to make this song because of the repressed emotions that seemed to surface, that I needed to express and let go of.” The video for “Scars” adds to the already compelling song, as we see moving portraits of her desire and determination to come out from under those depressing feelings.

Jarreau Vandal x Tay Iwar – “Single Complexities”

One of Tay Iwar’s many superpowers is his ability to detail just how messy and difficult it can be to navigate modern relationships. On his cult classic debut LP, ‘Gemini’, the singer examined the often impermanent nature of romantic bonds, with respect to the indelible memories and the long lasting effects those encounters leave behind on our personal perspective of intimacy in general. On “Single Complexities”, Tay’s feature on the new album from Soulection producer/singer Jarreau Vandal, Tay continues to operate within the same territory, albeit with some looseness to the narrative he portrays.

While emotive singing and an ability to hone in on the most essential parts of his stories gives Tay’s songs their riveting edge, there’s always the dour representation of love as an elusive concept. For “Single Complexities”, Tay comes across as a deeply wounded lover, but he indulges in the madness rather than opting to reach for a logical conclusion. “Play with my sanity, can’t cut you off like vasectomy/the universe must be testing me, is it love is it chemistry/either way I need your energy”, he sings with a mix of giddiness and mournfulness, resigning himself to the complexities of being in love with a potentially wrong person, instead of simply walking away.

Practically speaking, it might not be the best decision to stay, but Tay mirrors the real life unpredictability of romantic emotions and leaves enough room for redemption. Driven by Jarreau’s delightful, funk-lite production, “Single Complexities” not only delivers a compelling narrative that will have you ruminating, it’s also a catchy and well-crafted song that will have your shoulders rolling.

Pop Boys & Hvrry x Psycho YP – “Done Did It”

With his never ending stream of guest appearances, Pyscho YP’s prolific streak serves as a vessel for asserting and constantly fine-tuning his versatility. On “Done Did It”, which was released earlier this week and still isn’t even his latest feature, he teams up with producers Pop Boys and Hvrry to rap over one of the more unorthodox beats he’s ever graced, finding a unique pocket and sounding damn near impeccable all through.

Over a frenzied mash of Spanish guitars, horn riffs, ticking hi-hats and occasional bass drops, YP runs through a stream of consciousness that touches on multiple things: his willingness to max out his credit card for a love interest, thanking God for life and how easy it would be to steal your girl — you know, typical YP things. Throughout the 2-minute run of “Done Did It”, YP puts in a commanding shift, still sounding as playful as ever.

Forevatired – “WEST”

“If she kills me with her thighs, tell the jury I don’t mind”, Golddrummachine sings in a high-pitched falsetto at the beginning of “WEST”, the intro track to the excellent new Forevatired project, ‘Those Kids Next Door’. On a project packed to the ears with phenomenal highlights, Golddrummachine sets the tone with those striking lyrics, singing of his raunchy desires in a way that conveys admiration and outright devotion.

Those yearnings are scored by a shiny, synth pop-infused beat, heightening the explicit and profound nature of Golddrum’s sentiments. Mid-way through, “WEST” transforms into an ambient coda where he requests reciprocity, chanting, “Can I be your lover, girl? Undercover lover, girl”. The kicker comes in the end when he’s rejected: “She said you ain’t got no game, such a damn shame”. For a song that serves as a reminder that we all need to jazz it up, “WEST” is utterly beautiful in its sheer execution and how it cherishes infatuation despite the eventual outcome.

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IMPORTANT READ: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT AFROBEATS

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