Songs of the Day: New music from Davolee, Runtown, Mr Eazi, Zu. & more
Songs you must hear from the continent this weekend
Songs you must hear from the continent this weekend
From timeline conversations to new music Fridays, it seems like everything we consume is characterised by high volume and fast pace, and it can become overwhelming at times. As much as one can try to keep up with new releases from rising stars or stay in tune with the latest incoming hits, or discover sounds from countries all around the continent it’s often difficult to cut through the noise to find the songs that speak directly to us. This is where The NATIVE comes in.
In harmony with the tastes of our community, our ‘Songs of the Day’ compiles the recent releases we know our audience both needs and wants to hear. We are keeping you updated on our Fresh Meat alumni, raging over effortless collaborations and diversifying your palette with our genre inclusive picks. To that effect, we brought you new drops from Olamide, Elaine, Yemi Alade, Kida Kudz and more earlier in the week, and today heat from móst, DarkoVibes and Runtown, The Compozers and Mr Eazi, Davolee, Zu. and many more will guide you through the busy terrain that is new music Friday.
Touring together in past years, when that was even possible, The Compozers and Mr Eazi have delivered some striking performances together, so, as the black British instrumentalist group look to bolser their discography, it was only a matter of time until they tapped the mogul for a vocal delivery.
“Problem” is a the lively, percussion-led beat, over which Mr Eazi explains that a girl’s body is a problem that only he can solve. Though he knows this and is confident of it, his muse might need a little more convincing, as is depicted in the Rex-directed music video starring The Compozers who enact the chase Mr Eazi narrates through his verses. On the track too, The Compozers are the stars of the show. Mr Eazi’s verses are short and lyrically simple, leaving the emphasis on the detailed percussive elements and arresting horns, which enjoy particular attention at the chorus’ instrumental break.
At the end of the video, the girl who rejects each of them through the course of the three-minutes comes running back once she sees them perform. Though an unrealistic trope, The Compozers want us to know: once you’ve seen what they can do, you’re going to be begging for more.
In January this year, US-based Nigerian rapper móst released his sophomore EP ‘Mixed Emotions‘, subsequently featuring in our Fresh Meat column the month after. In advance of the project móst released two promotional singles, “Can’t Stop” and “On Repeat”, the latter of which has now been fitted with a music video.
“On Repeat” is a narrative record upon which móst describes himself and his life through a series of brags and quips. The music video reflects the simplicity of the song, and effectively portrays the simplicity of the man. Both intimate and intimidating, to go with the dark minor keys of the beat, directed by Reginald Isume the video for “On Repeat” is all about móst and his family – “you can’t mess with [his] Gs.“
Opening with no preamble whatsoever, for his first offering of the year, Davolee addresses the jungle that is the Nigerian music industry, telling us how he chooses to manoeuvres the difficulties that arise in his professional dealings. Davolee chooses “Love”.
Produced by Crespin Beatz, “Love” is a down to Earth bop, on which Davolee remains grounded, facing his own hustle but still ensuring he reciprocates all the love shown to him. “Omo if you show me say you sweet, I go show you bubble gum,” he sings of his positive energy on the song’s catchy hook. Davolee can’t forget where he is coming from, and knowing the struggle he has overcome, he doesn’t wish to pay it forward by acting brand new. “Even if na emoji,” Davolee is committed to showing people love and spreading positive vibes. In clouded days such as these, this is the song and approach we all need as we interact with each other.
There’s something about the mid-twenties that seems to attract mistakes. Probably because we are still finding our footing as responsible adults in the unpredictable world whilst still learning who we are, the 20-somethings are full of disappointing turns, in work, with friends, and of course, in love.
Based in Johannesburg, alternative Soul and R&B singer, Moonga K., aged 24, enlists Cape Town native, similarly in her twenties, Mikhaela Faye for a melancholy track upon which the pair long to right their wrongs in failed relationship. “Here we are despite all the heartache/ here we are despite all the pain,” Moonga K. sings on the song’s introduction, speaking to their resilience as individuals and hoping this can translate into their relationship.
On her second verse, Mikhaela Faye is also reluctant to give up on the relationship. Though she can see the red flags of her partner’s violent streaks, her ultimate wish is to save them. Longing for a pure love to be returned to them, Moonga and Mikhaela deliver a wistful duet in aid of the song’s climax, an electric guitar solo that reflects the desperation of the singers for a love they can treasure.
One of the benefits of our increased connectedness and to creators is the easy access we have to musicians outside of the mainstream, who are creating their own unique sounds, diversifying the industry, at least to those paying attention. Guitarist and producer, Leeis Jr. is doing just that, carving out a space for himself and his own brand of Indie Rock within the Nigerian music scene.
Leehis’ latest effort is “pressure.” A dark Rock production, highlighted by its gritty vocal engineering, “pressure.” sees its vocal performer battling with feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness; immediately as his verse opens he laments, “Tell me/What are you even fighting for/What you even living for.” As xinsomniac continues, he reveals depressive thoughts, addressing how these feelings creep inside our heads and drain the colour from our lives. “Oh hear it comes again,” he sings in a melody that follows the cadence of the lead guitar, bringing the record to a climax at the exact point that his lows reach rock bottom.
A mellow mid-tempo song of affection, genre defying singer, Gabzy throws his hat into the ring for who can produce the best Nigerian song titled “Pull Up”. Meaning wise, leaning more into Burna Boy’s ‘African Giant‘ single than Prettyboy D-O’s Cruel Santino-featured number, Gabzy’s “Pull Up” is a love letter to an “independent” woman, with whom he is infatuated.
Ready to give his all to her, Gabzy isn’t looking for just a fling for the night, but offers his potential paramour company and good vibes, if she agrees to pull up. By the song’s second verse however, over a seductive Lekaa beat Gabzy is already imagining the carnal relations he hopes they’ll engage in when she does pull up.
A few weeks ago, Runtown shared the album ‘Sound God Fest Reloaded’ with listeners, on it featuring Ghanaian collaborator, DarkoVibes on a total of four tracks. Singing about wanting the love they receive to be understanding, the project’s sixth track, “Understanding Love” has now been re-shared with extended verses and and added production, that play up the reggae intentions of the original track.
On “Understanding Love (Extended)” the song opens with the same hook as before, only more bright sounding, given the chirpy disco-like keys and added instrumentation that follows it. The “Extended” aspect of the record comes in the song’s first verse – which offers more details about the fracturing relationship – and at the track’s outro, which features a guitar solo and a voice-over where their wishes to be understood in love become are made explicit.
Releasing three EP installations in 2019 alone, taking a break during the unprecedented year that was 2020, South African singer, Zu. is back with another project, ‘Ndim Netshomi Zam‘, but this time she’s doing things a little differently. Stepping into the popular electronic sound that has currently captivating the continent, it is the combination of Zu.’s soulful vocals and her feminist lyricism that make “Super Women” one of the standout tracks on the EP.
Like all House opens, “Super Women” starts off with a long electronic intro, before classical keys creep in at the 50-second mark, introducing the songs’s main backing instrumentals and building up the introduction until Zu’s vocal entry. “What a wonderful time to be women / What a magical time to be mothers / See we fake it till we make it” Zu. sings, challenging society misogynistic practises that marginalise women, subjugating us through violent means. We’ve said it before, women are all women have, Zu. knows it too, and she wonders, “Can you deal with that?” Though her tone is soft, Zu. still manages to move listeners with her quality vocals and powerful lyrics, especially as she harmonises over the electronic production at the production.
As the song’s title would suggest, “Africa, One of a Kind” is high-spirited songs that promotes pan-African pride, unifying the expansive continent under one Africa. The uptempo record opens chants of “Africa” led by Mali singer-songwriter Salif Keita, before the spritely percussion enters alongside Angelique Kidjo bellowing “my Africa!“
What follows is something of a love letter to Africa, where Mr Eazi, over the song’s jubilant chorus, professes how special the continent is, celebrating her unique contours. Over her verse, Angelique Kidjo is similarly as effusive about her continent, and the people that inhabit it, with the two later singing together with the same African unity they hope to inspire with the song. A somewhat cheesy number, “Africa, One of a Kind” is fittingly accompanied by a colourful music video, directed by Drahmas Omö.Fresh, which picture African cities and our various cultures.