Songs of the Day: New Music from Victony, BOJ, Diamond Platinumz & more

Some of the best songs you need to hear this weekend

2022 is no longer a new year, and Afropop knows that very well. As much as the previous year was packed with scene-defining achievements, especially within the context of global growth, the only way to keep the momentum from falling off is for artists to keep reaching into their bag for great music that holds the ears and captures the hearts of millions of listeners across the continent and well beyond. That’s exactly what’s been happening, so much so that there’s hundreds of new singles, at-least one new must-hear album and a new smash hit every week.

Amidst this torrent of new music, The NATIVE is committed to highlighting the best releases you need to hear, and possibly add to your playlists. That’s the essence of our ‘Songs of the Day’ column. During the mid-week, we spotlighted new releases from Lady Donli, Blxckie, Barry Jhay and more. For our weekend instalment, we have new drops from Victony, BOJ and ENNY, Diamond Platinumz, Jaido P and more. Tap in.

Victony – “Apollo”

In an interview with content creator and popular Nigerian YouTuber Korty EO, 2021 breakout star Victony revealed that he’s an ass guy. It’s important information, especially within the context of his new single, “Apollo,” an unabashed ode to his favourite feature on the women he often finds himself attracted to. While his performances have scraped different types of highs, from catharsis to sensual expression, this new single reaches for euphoria, with the unique tone of his voice taking on a robust shape over P.Priime’s phenomenal house-pop production, which combines percussive elements from Amapiano and Fuji with lustrous synths. “Abeg slow down/know na bulldozer for your back,” Victony sings, in full surrender to his carnal obsession.

Diamond Platinumz – “Fresh” (feat. Focalistic, Pabi Cooper & Costa Titch)”

In the last decade-plus, Tanzanian pop artist and entertainment magnate Diamond Platnumz has emerged and maintained his status as one of the biggest artists out of East Africa. Today, he’s just released his first project in four years, a 10-track set titled ‘First of All’. In his usual fashion, the singer adopts a broad canvas that pulls in a diverse range of sounds within the sphere of African music, and its final track, “Fresh,” leans into the sonic rave of the moment, Amapiano. Over a dusty ‘piano beat, he’s joined by South African artists Focalistic, Pabi Cooper and Costa, as they all boast of their fly appearances, stuffed closets and deep pockets.

Coco Em – “Land (Black) First” [feat. Sisian & Kasiva]

In recent years, Kenyan DJ/producer has emerged as one of the most pronounced players in East Africa’s burgeoning dance music scene. While she’s made her name off playing enveloping mixes, she’s been teasing her full-fledged debut as a producer for a minute, and it’s happening with the April-release of her debut project, Kilumi. Ahead of the full tape, she’s shared the lead single, “Land (Black) First,” a song that pairs ominous and experimental production with socially conscious lyricism. “Who needs a hand, when the hand that feeds you bleeds you dry?” Sisian wonders out loud, with her confrontational cadence leaning close to spoken word poetry, and Kasiva’s mournful chants punctuating the song’s anti-colonial message.

BOJ & ENNY – “Culture”

In his episode of NATIVE’s ‘PreGame’ series, Nigerian singer BOJ revealed that his next album would be titled Gbagada Express’. Now scheduled for an April release, the project will include previously released singles, “Abracadabra” and “Money & Laughter.” Adding to the pre-release pile to stoke hype, BOJ has now shared a new single, “Culture,” which features British-Nigerian rapper ENNY. Helmed by Juls, the new single is built on the ace British-Ghanaian producer’s inimitable ability at laying down sumptuous neo-highlife grooves for his collaborators to luxuriate in, which is exactly what BOJ and ENNY do. BOJ opens the song with a self-reverent verse, setting the tone for ENNY’s proud quips on her first generation immigrant heritage.

Jaido P – “Queen and More”

Between his breakout single, the Olamide-assisted “Tesina Pot” and last year’s hit song “Cram,” Jaido P is proving to be adept at crafting bangers at will. The Fresh Meat alum’s new single, “Queen and More” is the latest entry into the line of street and club-ready slappers for the dynamic rap artist. Driven by a beat that pairs the droning synths of house music and the guttural bounce of current street-pop, the song is an impressive showcase of Jaido P’s ear for beats and his ability to pick an intriguing pocket to slot his sturdy yet groovy rap flow into. Similar to his breakout song, “Queen and More” is decidedly raunchy, but this time, it’s his storytelling chops and consistently improved powers as a songwriter that gets underlined, proof that the artist keeps refining his skills even though he’s found a sweet spot.

Yaw Tog & Bad Boy Timz – “Azul”

From “Ameno Amapiano” to Adekunle Gold & Davido’s “High,” slangs that have worked their way into pop culture fixtures have proven to be solid foundations for the emergence of smash hit songs. It seems like that’s what Ghanaian rapper Yaw Tog and Nigerian singer Bad Boy Timz are going for with their new collaborative single, “Azul.” The term “who order Azul?” has been fixed into Nigerian common speak for a while now, via its nightlife scene, and it forms the basis for both artists to combine for a song primed for dancefloors and clubs. Over 1da Banton’s fast-paced beat, Timz and Tog deliver lyrics that speak to their hustle and quest to live life to the fullest, with Tog adapting a heavily melodic flow that expands the perception of his drill and trap skill-set.

Ish Kevin – “My Year (2022)”

Last year, Rwandan rap superstar Ish Kevin vaulted into higher levels of popularity with a handful of singles that optimised his inventive and infectious take on drill music. Keeping the momentum going, he’s opened his account for this year with “My Year (2022),” a new single that sees the rapper veering into a new lane of experimentation. Displaying his wide musical interest and the malleability of his gruff voice, Ish Kevin tinkers with dancehall on “My Year,” making declarative remarks on the type of year he plans on having. As the lead single from Ish Kevin’s upcoming EP, Trappish II’, set for release later this month, it expands the possibilities for the project beyond his drill and trap allegiances. The accompanying music video is a staged rave in Jamaica Town, Kigali, making this musical foray feel even more authentic.

Oumou Sangaré – “Wassulu Don”

Iconic Malian singer Oumou Sangaré has consistently found a means to balance heritage with progressive ideals, rooting her music to the folksy sound she picked while growing up and championing women’s liberal rights in a patriarchal society. To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, she shared a new single, “Wassulu Don,” and its accompanying visuals, which features women in varying elements all radiating joy. Her spry voice is loaded with poise on the track, which mixes her Malian folk sound with the guitar elements of blues and rock. The new song is the second single from her coming album, Timbuktu, her first project of new material since 2017’s well-received Mogoya and “MOOD 4 EVA,” on Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift, introduced to younger, wider audience.