Music has served as the life force connecting people and communities around the world in these unprecedented times. Though the pandemic has denied us live shows and concerts, where the magical bond between artists and fans unfolds in real-time; artists have remained committed to sharing music with fans, so we continue to honour their art and create space and visibility for them. Last year, The NATIVE created our ‘Songs Of The Day’ column as an avenue to curate some of the best and biggest songs from around the continent. In the time since its creation, the column has served as a means to discover music from niche, rising acts, while also spotlighting releases from the biggest artists on the continent. As artists continue to share their music with us this year, it’s only right that we continue pointing you towards as much great music as we possibly can.
This month is the anniversary of the Coronavirus in Nigeria as well as Women’s History Month so our curation will emphasize celebrating women and music that have made these uncertain times more bearable. During the week, we brought you new releases from Sho Madjozi, Zlatan, Lioness, William Last KRM, and much more. Today’s selection includes new releases from Justin Beiber and Burna Boy, Teni, Rema, Jae5 and Skepta, Gyakie and Omah Lay, M.I, Sinzu and Erigga, Naira Marley and Busisiwa, M.anifest, Vic Mensa and Moliy, SV, Crayon and Bella Shmurda, PRVNA, Ms November and much more. Dig in and enjoy.
Justin Beiber – “Loved By You” featuring Burna Boy
Days after he bagged a Grammy for Best Global Music album, Burna Boy has hit back with a new single, this time appearing on Justin Beiber’s sixth studio album ‘Justice’. With no signs of not taking his foot off the pedal anytime soon, the new collaboration titled “Loved By You” is an instant earworm that finds both artists delivering a romantic feel-good number.
Justin Beiber’s light touch on the hook sets the tone for the rest of the song as he sings “I hate the way I need to be loved by you”, a line that’s sure to drum up fraught memories of past flings with undeserving lovers. He’s joined by Burna Boy on the song’s second verse who adds his familiar charm with catchy adlibs and charming lyrics such as “You know my loving is an everyday thing/when I’m with you, it feels like it’s a daydream”. It’s almost impossible to hear this and not bop your head to the beat, it’s clearly built for your weekend playlists.
Jae5 – “Dimension” featuring Rema and Skepta
Afropop is enjoying its best moment yet. Its biggest stars are bagging multiple awards including music’s most coveted, the Grammy’s while cross-continental collaborations remain at an all-time high. Not long ago, East London producer Jae5 announced that he had a collaboration with grime king, Skepta, and Mavin’s golden boy, Rema in the works and now, it’s finally here. Over the groovy production that latches onto the percussion-led sonics of afrobeats, both artists deliver verses about the pressures and struggles of growing up as a Black African.
“Me I go give dem the vibe till the kingdom come/I been on the road for a long time, tryna get the bread so my family go survive” sings Rema on the song’s first verse, speaking to his come-up and how hard he’s had to work in comparison to his peers. He’s joined by Skepta on the second verse who delivers raps about the continent-wide fight for justice and freedom: “It’s the same old story, different occassion/you can be a star or you could end up a patient”. Speaking about the single, Jae5 shared “For my first single, I wanted to pull off something that represented me well. It had to be heavily influenced by Afrobeats and the UK urban scene”. The accompanying video was shot over a year in Ghana and includes colourful clips of all three artists in the coastal city donned in vibrant satirical choices alongside models in sci-fi inspired fits.
Gyakie – “Forever” featuring Omah Lay
Fresh Meat alum, Gyakie caught our hearts and ears last year when she released her debut EP ‘Seed’, a 5-track project that saw her weaving through tales of romance, life, loss, and success. “Forever” was an instant standout at the time, with Gyakie’s vocally agile presence on the number demanding that listen and pay attention.
Today, she’s served up the remix to the fan favourite with Nigeria’s Omah Lay, the singer who soundtracked the past year’s socially distanced lockdowns with his romantic, lustful numbers. Singing “Everything wey consign you consign me/Psychiatric cannot treat our many” on the song’s second verse, Omah Lay makes his presence felt on the song by complimenting it’s gentle percussive production with his amorous lyrics.
M.anifest – “No Fear”featuring Vic Mensa and Moliy
For his first official single this year, Ghanaian rapper, M.anifest has released a new number titled “No Fear” which features American rapper Vic Mensa and fellow Ghanaian singer and Fresh Meat alum, Moliy. The bouncy new release lays the foundation for the slick-tongue, gruff rapping style of the two mcees who trade bars about flexing on their opps and sticking to their guns. “No fear, no fear, tell a man chale no fear” sing-raps M.anifest on the song’s hook imploring listeners to find the courage within to take on this world.
He’s joined soon after by Vic Mensa who raps “Why would I feel fear when 10 years I’m still on top out here,” delivering an honest confessional about his upbringing and attending a special needs school but still coming out on top in his career. Moliy’s honey-toned vocals give momentary pauses to the hard-hitting bars from the two rappers but she rounds off the song with a memorable slick-tongued verse.
M.I – “TBDK” featuring Sinzu & Erigga
Not long after his collaboration with Vector on “Crown of Clay”, M.I Abaga is back with a new single, a cryptic new banger titled “TBDK” which features Sinzu and Erigga. Over the bouncy and bass-filled beat produced by Chopstix, M.I begins the song with an instantly memorable verse as he raps “I always dey my house, Lagos dey too corrupt/This beat dey knock head like it’s 2020,” setting the scene for his rap peers. Erigga takes the floor next, rapping “Last last na who plan well go enjoy past/Bad bele wan dey winch but God pass dem” speaking to the need to watch out for opps posed as friends. Sinzu ends the number with an equally memorable verse, going into a blazing soliloquy about how he ended up on another single with M.I.
Tsuni – “Deny”
Tsuni is an undeniable talent and if you’re still not convinced then tune into her latest 2-pack single titled “I Am A Piano” which was released earlier today. The joint drop finds the singer delivering her own refreshing take on the fast-growing South African genre, amapiano which provides the perfect background for her enviable pen game.
The first track “Deny” is an instant standout, drawing listeners in from its opening moments with its bouncy amapiano production. Tsuni commands the beat, singing “When I get the feeling in my body, I do not deny it” in a clear, soothing tone that all but demands you move along with the groovy production. This is definitely one to add to your weekend playlists.
Naira Marley – “Coming” featuring Busisiwa
Naira Marley is never one to shy away from an opportunity to brag about his sexual prowess and his latest single “Coming” featuring Busisiwa is proof enough of this. Over the groovy amapiano-inspired beat produced by Rexxie, Naira Marley narrates the tale of his experiences in the bedroom, stating his lustful desires in a no-holds-barred manner. “Upstairs, downstairs/In the car, bedroom, sitting room/Boom Boom, I am coming” he sings on the song’s catchy hook, itemising all the places and positions he wishes to make love to his lover. Busisiwa’s delectable vocals are heard in the background, assuredly repeating each of Naira Marley’s desires in a melodious tone while delivering unforgettable contributions to the song.
Crayon – “Jackpot” featuring Bella Shmurda
Mavin’s Crayon is inching towards the release of his debut album ‘Twelve AM’ and ahead of this, he’s now shared his first official single of the year titled “Jackpot”, a catchy new romantic number that features Bella Shmurda. Over the mid-tempo beat produced by Baby Fresh, both artists sing about their romantic partners and the love that they share likening it to the elated feeling of winning the jackpot. “You the best from the rest you the first from the rest,” Bella Shmurda sings on the song’s second verse, admiring his muse and reminding her just how much he loves her. It’s simply a showcase of the best heartthrob with killer voice.
SV – “Poor Chrissy”
Nigerian rapper SV has been relatively quiet since he dropped his album ‘SV Saved My Life’ back in 2019 but this year, he’s starting off on a memorable note. His latest single “Poor Chrissy” finds the rapper tells a tale of how he navigates his interpersonal relationships and his bad habits while still finding ways to come out on top. Over the piano-led beat produced by Alex Dugdale, SV narrates how he is “stuck in [his] ways” running through his stint with women who aren’t good for him, his drinking problems, and the struggles that come with making music. “Still in my prime, the fire abalaze/Can’t put it down, still stuck in my ways” he raps, concluding that he’s still on the journey to being the man he wants to be.
PRVNA – “Get Down”
British-Mauritian singer, PRVNA is looking to start 2021 on a high note with the release of her latest single “Get Down”, a catchy danceable song that finds her drawing listeners to the dancefloor this weekend. “I take you somewhere new to go/Get it together/Get down” she sings over the bouncy production which captures the atmosphere in a dimly-lit club rekindling memories of vibrant lights twinkling, bodies intertwined and all care out the window. Speaking about the new releases, she shares that she is “making music that people can dance to and also find a bit of hope in too. The projects I am working on now show me I am honing in on a sound, which doesn’t always fit into a box but has an energy I am constantly craving”.
Ms November – “Lagos Bratz Doll”
For months now, we’ve been preaching the gospel of the Nigerian rap girls from DETO BLACK to SGaWD, Phlow, Yazzavelli, Ade Lasodé, Ictooicy, and more, and we’re here to confirm that the message is spreading far and wide. Over the past few weeks, the rap girls have been serving up catchy singles, staking their claim in the industry and audaciously pushing back a myriad of naysayers talking down on their abilities. Introducing London-based, Nigerian rapper Ms. November, the self-proclaimed ‘Lagos Bratz Doll’ who has just released her eponymous debut single of the same title.
“They wanna ride with the Lagos bratz doll/fuck a barbie, I’m a bratz doll” she quips on the slick-tongued number, sending shots at her opps and adversaries who dare to undermine her. She’s clearly self-assured in her abilities and she wastes no time sounding off kiss-offs to those who might think differently. She declares “Ms Novemeber up next on the rap roster” audaciously stating that she’s someone you need to get familiar with. Given how androcentric the rap scene in these parts can be, we’re more than excited to see more women take to the mic and rap circles around their adversaries.
Tonero – “Clementine”
Dublin-based Nigerian singer, songwriter, producer and engineer Tonero has just released his first official single of the year titled “Clementine”, a song that captures the thrill of being in love and the angst and uncertainty that comes with it. Over the futuristic production by Trill Xöe, Tonero sings about the trajectory of a relationship from its nascent stages to the less than glamorous bits of building a connection with another person. “I can’t go wrong when I’m with you/I cannot just resist you” he sings, passionately declaring his affections for his muse and admitting his inability to walk away from their love. The song’s title is based on a fruit known as Clementine and features here as a double-entendre for a sweet citrus fruit that is attractive on the outside but is advisable to consume in well-structured rations.
Featured image credits/Instagram