Songs Of The Day: New music from Pamela Badjogo, Benzo, Bosom P Yung & more
Catch up on all the latest releases from around the continent
Catch up on all the latest releases from around the continent
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. For last weekend’s selection, we brought you new releases from Niniola, Naya Akanji, Darkoo, Lavaud, Reekado Banks, Teezee, Yaw Tog, Naomisia, Alpha P, TMXO, and more. Today, we’re bringing you all the latest music releases you don’t want to miss from Gabonese singer, Pamela Badjogo, Philkeyz and Blaqbonez, Oladips and Zlatan, Kwamz and emPawa artist, Bosom P Yung. Dig in and enjoy.
Gabonese singer, Pamela Badjogo released her new project, ‘Kaba’ a few days before international women’s day. The Afro-jazz singer who first built her reputation performing with African music legend, Angélique Kidjo as members of the Malian supergroup, Les Amazones d’Afrique has returned with her debut solo project. Over the 30 minutes duration of the 8-track tape, she reflects on her migratory journey, having lived in Gabon, then Mali, before settling in France.
The standout track, “Respectez-nous” demonstrates her multi-lingual vocals as she delivers a feminist message over Afropop production. The track is one of the more upbeat songs on the project while we hear her address her male love interest, singing “Hey baby, we’re going to respect each other/ You and me on an equal footing.” Though her lyrics are mostly French, her makosa melodies make for an entertaining listen while the beat inspires listeners to dance.
Last month, South African emcee, Benzo caught our attention with her arresting, snappy raps and killer flow on her debut project ‘Kumanikazi’, a feat that landed her in our Fresh Meat class for February. Since then, we’ve been regularly spinning tracks off her album in hopes that we receive new Benzo material soon and the 20-year-old rapper heard and answered us. Released today, Benzo has now officially kicked off the visual rollout for the titular song “Kumanikazi” which finds her effortlessly switching between Xhosa and English.
In the video, Benzo is joined by a team of close friends and creatives from the Johannesburg creative scene who certainly make it a visual feast by every metric. As Benzo raps, “Like a bun in the oven, I am on the rise/when I spit I make sure it will click in your mind” we get to see varying clips of the Johannesburg scene, from the skate parks where people gather to show off their latest moves to the courts where games are played. Benzo pops up often in the video, clad in a killer fit with a rhinestone encrusted pastie on her boobs which immediately brings up memories of outfits worn by the legendary female emcee, Lil Kim.
Nigerian producer/artist, Philkeyz (aka Mr Melody) has released his debut project, ‘Premium’. The 8-track EP offers a variety of lightweight Afropop melodies and features an impressive list of choice Afropop artists, from Blaqbonez to Kizz Daniel, The Gifted, Yemi Alade, Bisa Kdie, Makhaj and Skinny Fabulous who contribute guest verses that make the project memorable. The opening track, “More” is one of the standout tracks with the soothing mix of classic R&B production and romantic lyrics performed by Philkeyz and Blaqbonez.
Like the project’s lead single, “Rhythm Nd Bass”, “More” finds Philkeyz showing off his charming vocals as he sings of the self-produced beat. Singing “You show me love and give me peace/ As I love you now, no remedy”, Philkeyz has no issues wearing his heart on his sleeves while his featured artist, Blaqbonez delivers a melodic performance, taking a more cocky approach to the romantic theme. Singing “Cause you’re too fine, I wanna put you in a Fendi top”, the Chocolate City artist sustains his flashy rapper persona on the romantic bop.
Ghana has just celebrated the anniversary of her independence and Kwamz, one half of the dancehall duo, Kwamz & Flava has shared a new single with politically changed message, “Wake Up”. The song was produced by Narchos who set the song to a upbeat rhythm that borrows sonic elements from the Azonto era of Afropop. Although the beat’s groovy attribute sets it up to feature on DJ set lists at dance clubs, Kwamz’s lyrics are charged with the intentions to inspire listeners at a political rally; “Ghana wake up/ Cause your people dey struggle/ The government is killing us.”
The appeal for politically conscious songs has seemed at an all-time-high following recent protests like the BlackLiveMatter in America and EndSARS movement in Nigeria. We’ve seen how music can play a big role in political activism and Kwamz’s latest release, “Wake Up” is a new addition, confirming the growing popularity of protest songs as he encourages listeners to stand up for what they believe in.
The harsh realities on the streets of Nigeria have inspired some of the best street-hop anthems. “Mainland 2 Island” is the latest tune serving up motivation for those going through rough times as two of our favourite streets-hop acts, Oladips and Zlatan link up to narrate how they’ve grown from grass to grace. The ambient production from P Prime sets the languid pace for the song while we hear Oladips and Zlatan rapping in a mix of English and Yoruba as they offer listeners a picturesque narration of their humble beginnings and credit God for their growth to become the celebrated music stars they are today.
The accompanying video for “Mainland 2 Island” emphasizes the spiritual message of the song, through the church setting and ritualistic direction. We see Zlatan performing his verse in a church building, while surrounded by white garment worshipers and Oladips performs at a shrine where he seems to carry out a fetish ritual. The video paints a wholesome picture of the different things people do so they can escape from poverty in Nigeria.
Ghana’s rising singer, Bosom P Yung has just shared the music video for his previously released single, “Nyinya”. The fusion of Afro-Caribbean melodies with hip-life sentiments earmarked the singer as a talent to look out for, as he showed his versatility and confidence to explore genres outside the trap sound he’s famous for.
Babs directed the new video for “Nyinya”, capturing the gratifying sentiments Bosom P Yung’s romantic lyrics attributes to love; “I will bow down to you/ She give me kind of love way am dien to get oh”. The video shows Bosom P Yung travelling on his power bike to meet his lover at a beach before they continue riding together and go for a dinner date. The dance-driven beat produced by Ipappi put to task by dancers featured in the video and their performance adds to the upbeat nature of the song before the mood turns sour at the ending as Bosom P Yung’s lover is killed by some women.
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