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.
After sharing new release from Willywine and Dice Ailes, Ghanaian rapper, Rvdical The Kid, Idris Lawal, Ibeji and more for our mid-week selection, we are starting off the weekend with great new songs from DJ Tunez, Spax and Wizkid, Mayorkun and Davido, Fiokee, Simi and Oxlade, MOJO, Cheque and more. Enjoy.
DJ Tunez x Spax x Wizkid – “Gbese 2.0”
Fans have remained sceptical about the release of Wizkid’s album, ‘Made in Lagos’ even though the Starboy has provided July 16 as the release date. After teasing fans about its release on numerous occasions, it’s understandable that some have pointed out that the specific year wasn’t stated and they’ll believe him when they actually have the album.
The Starboy team have responded with a new single, “Gbese 2.0”, a lightweight and ambient Afropop number which highlights the minimalist allure of Wizkid and Spax’s combination. The song’s real beauty is its ability to sound stripped back despite how well he stacks his vocals on top of each other. Whether this will usher the promised ‘Made in Lagos’ tape or just serve as a placeholder till a new date is given, we’ll soon know for sure.
Mayorkun x Davido – “Betty Butter”
We often fantasise about living the celebrity life of global superstars like Davido and Mayorkun, and between the flashy fleet of luxury cars and shiny jewellery, it’s hard to imagine they’d have any problem with the ladies. However, Mayorkun and Davido’s “Betty Butter” tries to convince us that even celebrities don’t always get what they want, and just like the rest of us, they sometimes struggle to with the rejection.
Singing “Which one be say you no wan kan give me your heart?” the song addresses their muses while they take turns performing verses, hoping to change their minds with grand declarations worthy of their acclaim; “E go shock you like taser/ when you go see the aza oh/ when e enter”. The Clarence Peters’s directed video shows Mayorkun doing his best to convince his lover, before we see him catching up with Davido and the rest of the DMW family to lament his loss.
Fiokee x Simi x Oxlade – “Koni Koni”
Quarantine is testing couples, new and old, and it’s safe to say some people might be single by the time we’re able to go outside freely again. But in the meantime, Fiokee has linked up with Simi and Oxlade to provide his signature highlife groove for the artists to basking in their disagreement with their love interests, “Koni Koni”.
Both Simi and Oxlade are tired of their respective relationships, as they perform melodic sets expressing their frustration over the dance-driven beat. While Simi pleads to be left alone, “Make you leave me go”, Oxlade takes a more drastic means with a verse which sounds a bit like a letter left for his lover to find on the counter after he’s already walked out of her life.
MOJO – “Chiwawa”
MOJO is one of the few Nigerian rappers who is able to match his boastful hip-hop lyrics with dance-driven flows. His latest single, “Chiwawa” demonstrates this unique ability as he brings a galala-esque flow to the ever-evolving rap genre. Though the mid-tempo beat Ronehi produced is mostly responsible for the sound’s direction, MOJO matches the beat and delivers a mesmerising performance with lyrics that depict his lifestyle as a lovable ganja user; “Too many women/ Won fe tele mi and live lavida with us/ Ganja burning in my pictures”.
Cheque – “Zoom”
Cheque’s 2018 debut, “Brand New” gave a middle finger to the limitations placed on what is accepted as popular Nigerian music with the purely r&b sound following in the line of other new age Afropop stars such as Nonso Amadi, Tay Iwar and Odunsi. Though he has since signed a recording contract with Phyno’s label, Penthauze, under which he released his more commercial single, “Satisfied”, Cheque’s cadence and melodies still retained his R&B influences.
He’s now just released his debut EP, ‘Razor’ and the opening single, “Zoom” continues his trend of expanding the barriers of Afropop. His confident lyrics, melodies and airy instrumentals produced by Andyr and Datboigetro draw you in as he narrates his triumphant musical journey; “When they try to hold me I go zoom zoom zoom/ don’t like your vibe then I go zoom zoom zoom”. The cohesive direction of his project makes him of the refreshing new acts on the scene today.
Koker – “Bad”
Since “Do Something” brought Koker into the limelight in 2016, the Chocolate City star has had no qualms stepping back in the shadows and returning whenever he feels like it. Last year, he linked up with Falz for a romantic bop, “Daddy” and he’s returning this year with a solo effort titled “Bad”. Produced by Swapps, the Caribbean-dancehall-influenced beat for “Bad”, sets a groovy backdrop for Koker to express his frustration with the attitude he’s getting from his muse. His lyrics “Your body badder than bad/ Make a man harder than hard/ Je ka lo le mi I wan know your dad”, describe his complicated relationship with her attractive features. The endearing use of ‘bad’ comes across as dysfunctional and if you picked up on that, it’s probably cause you’re guilty of it too.
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