Songs of the Day: New Music From Lady Donli, Ajebutter 22, Master KG & More
New songs you should get hip to this weekend
New songs you should get hip to this weekend
2022 is winding down, and it’s been an eventful year for Afropop. There’s been a torrent of great new music, spawning a massive stack of inventive smash-hit songs. From Highlife-infused Ghanaian pop, to the unrelenting force that is Nigerian street-pop to South Africa’s indomitable Dance scene, to tantalising Drill explorations in East and Central Africa, and much, much more, we’re living through abundant and musically expansive times.
Every week, many songs from African artists make their way to digital streaming platforms, and wading through them can be intense. That’s where The NATIVE’s Songs of the Day column comes in to help. We go through as many new releases as possible, spotlighting them here, two to three times every week. Today, enjoy new music from Enny, Tim Lyre, Eugy and more. Dig in!
Having announced the coming of her sophomore album in 2023, Lady Donli has shared a new record. “Hello Lady” features the musician’s luscious vocals layered effervescently over bubbly production. Since ‘Enjoy Your Life,’ Donli has always echoed the ethos of living one’s life to the fullest and it’s no surprise she delves into that headspace again, gleefully recognising the beauty of existence. With shiny synths colouring her vocals, she pulls her hair down to create an essential feel-good record.
Finally, the Ajebos of Nigerian music have collaborated to give us a solid jam. As you would expect, the record embraces the slow tease Ajebutter 22 has mastered, bringing his guests into the sonic world with graceful flair. A lover’s warmth propels their distinct takes on the record, as they promise to blind her eye with enjoyment. It’s a stripped, sensual song which glitters with the finely wrought mastery of the associated artists, and given the quality of their synergy, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t become more popular in the coming weeks.
Primed to release their EP ‘Leading Lines’ in December, the multidisciplinary South African artist Nakhane has premiered a new single. As the title suggests, “My Ma Was Good” unpacks the weight of family dynamics over its five minute run-time. Nakhane’s poetic lyrics are framed with vignette-esque purpose, gently unfurling layers to their storytelling even as glittering Disco elements and a sombre piano build around them. Ultimately, the record’s epic vision is brilliantly executed with dedication and sexiness, dripping with the colourful energy Nakhane has embodied for the better part of their career.
Ominous flutes begin the progression in “Pelo,” the new song from South African musician Espacio Dios. The mood switches almost immediately afterwards, with soft-knocking percussions soaking the record’s spaces with sufficient tension. “I need some company,” sings Dios in his opening lyric, and afterwards sketching the situation of obvious romantic palaver. It’s his vocals which makes the record a stellar listen however, highly emotive and delivered in the ever-thrilling isiZulu. Maglera’s verse is well done too, introducing the verve of rap into the established soul.
British-Nigerian rapper Enny has excited over the course of the year, both on features and on her own records. “Champagne Problems” has been a particular highlight, showcasing the rapper’s ability to spit quotable bars while maintaining sonic pleasurability, revealing a fine understanding of her vocals and language. On this remix, she goes back and forth with the ever-reliant Unknown T, brazenly colouring their verses with an affirmative energy which also supplies vivid imagery. A stellar collaboration, this one.
Famed as one of the more consistent rappers from this side, DAP The Contract has had a reflective year. His new record bares that mind state, even if the bold percussions and upbeat tempo line its seams with an head-bopping vibe. Ditching his usual rap expression for more melodious phrases and adlibs, the song emerges fully-formed, further exciting with the entry of feature, the American musician Elena Pinderhughes. Together they sing about choosing to love enemies, obviously toeing the peace and light lane.
German-Cameroonian artist T’Neeya has long demonstrated her knack for R&B-suffused Afropop, creating an enviable catalogue that’s made her one of the most promising talents in the scene. Currently resident in Accra, she’s growing more purposefully into her artistry. “Monsta Alta” builds on her ethos of soul-baring records, constructing a poignant narrative of a relationship where she’s comfortable. Romantic tension is a foundational subject matter of R&B, but so are dreamy-eyed expressions of love, and T’Neeya stirringly delivers on the latter.
Amapiano might slowly be dredging itself from the Nigerian music scene, but when you have Master KG behind the chops it’s always a memorable experience. Even with its recognisable drum patterns, the soulful tendencies of the South African musician comes to the fore. Providing vocals is Joeboy, who’s been having a good year thus far. His signature subject of youthful love enriches his singing with head-bopping melancholy, while he applies a falsetto in certain sections of the record. With a supply of crowd vocals, the massive hit potential of “Laleyi” should be quite obvious to anyone who listens.
Ghanaian-British musician Eugy is known for his soulful R&B-inspired songs, although in recent times he’s been noticeably absent from conversations about Afropop. “Medicine” is the perfect song for a comeback, uniting with frequent collaborator Maleek Berry and the rapper Ladipoe. Over soft, breezy production, he mints an unforgettable hook which teases similarly memorable verses from his guests. “She call me the love doctor/ Take position, yeah me get your medicine,” he sings, deftly underlining the record’s venereal intent.
In recent times the Abuja-based rapper Detailmadeit has been experimenting with his singing. “World Class” is the latest in this phase of evolution, and he seems to be getting more in-tune with it. Over mellow drums and looping keys he sings gently about the demands of a love interest, while holding up his own ability to fit those standards.