Songs of the Day: New Music From Lojay, Yemi Alade, Musa Keys x Victony & More

Enter the weekend in style with these new releases

We’re more than halfway through 2022, 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. This Friday, enjoy new music from Victony, Layzee Ella, Idahams, Bad Boy Timz and more. Dig in!


Since shifting the Afropop soundscape with his irresistible melodies and songwriting on his Sarz-assisted debut EP ‘LV N ATTN,’ Lojay is finally back. Teased some days back on social media, his new offering “Leader!” is every bit as assertive as its title suggests. The artist is in undeniable form, running fine vocal riffs while bouncing lyrics of a sensual nature with a Dancehall-esque verve. P.Priime’s production sets the stage, glittering with intention and groove. This has every chance to become a late-year hit, and what a comeback for the creator of last year’s most penetrating hit song.


Benin-born artist and uNder alum Layzee Ella has continued to work her way to prominence, one song at a time. Well, her latest output is a collection of the seven songs which make up the EP, ‘Feel Everything’. On project standout “Hypnotize,” she sings about the whirlwind feeling that comes with loving another person. Her vocals are luscious and bright, flowing over the soft production with a breezy Island-tinged cadence.


After premiering his new album ‘Truth, Love & Confessions (TLC)’ earlier today, Idahams has quickly followed up with visuals for what is presumably the lead record. “Bad Girl” calls up the hit-making abilities of fellow Port-Harcourt brethren Ajebo Hustlers, and alongside Idahams they’ve made a scintillating record. Replete with sensual-charged innuendos, every part of the record works brilliantly to leave a sizzling feel on the listener. Don’t sleep on this one, it’s an absolute banger.


Gearing for the release of a tape later this year, Bad Boy Timz has released new music. “Big Money” is driven by the high-energy sound he’s embodied since “MJ” shot him into the limelight. Here he’s recognising of his motivations, rendering them with an optimist edge which is revealed in the cheeky nature of his lyrics and the accompanying video, which happens almost entirely in a room where dollars are being converted.


Warm percussions and resonant guitar notes are the dominant technical details on “Happy Day,” the impressive new single from Darkovibes. The Ghanaian musician has marked himself out with his distinct vocals and delivery style, and on here those qualities are bare. A love interest is centered in the narrative, and with the possibility of what lies ahead, no doubt it’s an happy day for Darko. The record blooms with that promise, colourfully brought alive by P. Priime’s signature visceral production.


Not many Afropop musicians of this era has collaborated as widely as Yemi Alade. She’s been as far as East and North Africa, and for her latest musical excursion she visits Jamaica, where she collaborates with the Dancehall legend Spice. Subverting the pomp of regular songs cut from the genre, here the production is somewhat muted, allowing the musicians space to infuse their distinct styles on the verses.


Amapiano continues to be a widely-adapted touchstone for many African musicians, but there should be no doubt about its origin, which is South Africa. On “Selema,” SA’s Musa Keys joins forces with Nigeria’s Victony and Loui for this sizzling bop. The remix of “Selema” is lined with the sweet vocals of the musicians, affirming a lady’s beauty in loving and often cheeky ways. At over five minutes, nothing about the record seems forced and, while there’s surely a number of contenders, there’s a good chance at this becoming a late-year hit. Everything is present.


A dreamy feel swirls around the keys in this record. The drums are lively and the guitars even colourful, but the story at its center is unarguably influenced by not-so-great memories. Karun’s lilting voice takes the verses and chorus with a sort of brooding playfulness, directing them to detractors who might have smeared her reputation in the past. “Clout Chaser” is definitely laid-back in its own way, and could offer a novel listening experience going into a weekend that’s most likely to be fast.


New York-based Nigerian artist Femi has shared his debut EP, ‘Stunna’. A standout off the record is the eponymous song, a Trap-lined number depicting the musician in a hipster light. His vocals are perhaps autotune-laced, but the delivery skirts around with so much freedom and understanding, dropping caption-ready lyrics at unexpected moments. With a riveting visual full of colour and activity, this is surely an impressive entry into the world of professional music for Femi.