Songs of the Day: New Music From Sute Iwar, Yaw Tog, Backroad Gee & More
Some jams to kickstart the weekend
Some jams to kickstart the 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 Sute Iwar, Kuami Eugene, Somadina, Terry Apala and more. Lock in!
R&B forms the sonic touchstone for many Nigerian artists, and “Judah Lion” is another timely example of its influence. Usually known for his sensually-driven rapping, Sute Iwar combines with the effervescent WurlD for a song that knocks you out with its emotion. Both musicians are audibly engaged with the beat’s slow tease, delivering their affirmative lyrics with a mastery which flows through the song’s entirety.
Ghanaian rap revelation Yaw Tog has maintained some distance from the hectic world of new releases, but now he’s back. Burning his way through a similarly scorching beat, “Aso)den” offers a characteristic response for whoever doubted his abilities. The high-wire energy of Drill is adapted into the production, but Yaw Tog’s Twi-laced verse imbibes the record with its gritty feel. Reminiscing about the lifestyle of his brothers and him, Tog embodies the communal vision which Ghanaian artists (most recently Black Sherif) have often entered the scene with.
What do you get when three hit makers with shared qualities create a record? A smash hit, no doubt. “Live My Life” collects the distinctly gruffy vocals of Backroadgee and Terry Apala, merged under the explosive Amapiano-laced production from Rexxie. It’s a song that sounds ready made for an electric weekend, and there will surely be a number of people who will employ its energy in soundtracking theirs.
All through 2022, Kuami Eugene has been going strong with his singles. This time, he takes the idea quite literally, creating a heartfelt record which pronounces his single status, in terms of relationship. Over a chill beat with child-esque vocal chops, the musician banks on his emotive vocals and refreshing songwriting to carry the heaviness in his chest. By the time choir vocals are infused near the record’s end, the set mood lingers between heartbreak and exhilaration – more of the latter, though.
“First place right in the middle/ Coming in hot; this is big, no be little” are the opening lyrics you hear on “1st Place,” the new single from Brazy. The record continues on that affirmative vision, as the musician’s lithe vocals are purposefully employed to excite over the eccentric production. With splashes of big band drums paired with the edgy sensuality in Brazy’s vocals, the result is a song which captures starkly the world-dominating energy of Brazy.
Warm, visceral percussions provides a lush sonic field for The Creative Rae’s “Nkechi” to thrive. Quite reminiscent of Mr. Eazi’s urban Highlife groove in the mid 2010s, an assortment of live instrumentation enlivens the record with the feeling of an intimate live performance. With his thematic material of love inspiring his cultural references and affectionate singing, no doubt this is a song which leaves an impression.