New Music Friday: New Projects from Not3s, DJ Maphorisa, Gigi Lamayne & more

Seven must hear EPs/albums for this weekend and beyond

It’s another Friday and time for a roundup of music projects from African acts to check out. Throughout the week, music has poured in from all over the continent and sometimes unmissable projects can slip through the cracks, unheard. This column serves to bring those projects to your ears as you wind down to the weekend. We’ve compiled a typically spellbinding list today, a vast terrain in the African music soundscape covered. In addition to new projects from Not3s, DJ Maphorisa and Gigi Lamayne, here are some more projects that deserve your ears.

Not3s – ‘Son of the Soil’

Over the past 5-plus years, Not3s has strengthened his standing as a distinct and forward-facing persona in Afroswing. On his new EP, ‘Son of the Soil’, the UK-raised rap artist embraces his Nigerian heritage on explicit terms. Conceptualised during a trip to Lagos, where he visited the grave site of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and spent some time with local industry bigwigs like Bankulli, the EP is steeped in the Nigerian culture that defined his upbringing, even as he grew up in Hackney. On the 7-song EP, he’s joined by ODUMODUBLVCK, Mayorkun and Hamzaa.


Abigail Chams – ‘5’

For a recent breakout talent, Abigail Chams has already lived more than one life as an artist. The Tanzanian singer was previously a gospel songbird, before transitioning into a nascent pop star, even signing a major label deal with Sony Music Africa to make things more proper. Newly released, ‘5’ is her debut EP, and it’s colourful offering that fuses Bongo Flava, Amapiano and Abigail Chams’ chiming  voice. It features the pre-released hit with Marioo, “Nani?”, along with five newer tracks.


DJ Maphorisa & Tman Xpress – ‘Chukela’

DJ Maphorisa is arguably the biggest co-signer in South Africa’s Amapiano scene. Part of that is his openness to working with a slew of talented producers and artists across generations. His latest drop is a joint project with vocalist Tman Xpress, who’s been growing into ubiquity over the last year-plus. ‘Chukela’, released  under Phori’s New Money Gang label, comprises eight breezy slappers that spotlight Tman’s sweetly scented, grizzled voice, with big name assists from Kabza De Small, Daliwonga, Mellow & Sleazy, and more.


Paybac Ibroro – ‘West African Goat (Deluxe)’

As one of the most prolific indie rap artists in Africa, it’s evident that Paybac Iboro approaches his music within the framework of full-length releases. It’s fitting for an artist who renders portraiture in gripping, intimate detail. Earlier this year, ‘West African Goat’ continued that streak of purposeful project drops, and he’s now added six new songs to the set, along with a rearranged tracklist that injects a sense of thoughtfulness to the deluxe endeavour.


Gigi Lamayne – ‘Vision’

Gigi Lamayne is so deep into the game that it’s more than apt to refer to her as a veteran. Over the course of four albums, she’s proved her mettle as a rapper, both from a technical standpoint and as a musically dynamic artist. For her fifth LP, ‘Vision’, she expands her range into varying styles of dance and pop forms across African music, while recruiting a cast of collaborators from across the continent. Nigerian producer Masterkraft, Zimbabwean rapper Holy Ten, Zambian rapper Natasha Chansa, and more grace an album where scalding raps meets booming beats.


Muthaka – ‘Love Bite’

Muthaka is one of the brightest shining women in East African pop/R&B, evidenced by her AFRIMA Award win for Best Female Artist in East Africa. Earlier this year, she joined Sol Generation, the powerhouse music label and collective founded by Sauti Sol, and the Kenyan singer has gone about consolidating her star power with new, stronger structural support. ‘Love Bite’ is the follow-up to 2021’s ‘Sunshine’, and the new 5-song set includes the Bien-assisted “Secret Lover” and the upbeat jam, “Touching on my Baby” with Emma Cheruto.


Kiing Lu – ‘Militant Mindset’

From older cats like Larry Gaaga and Basketmouth to younger guys like Savage and Sheye Banks, more executives and music industry affiliates are curating full-length projects, recruiting an army of rappers, singers, songwriters, and producers to serve a unified vision. Well-known in Nigerian music as an A&R and general industry guy, Kiing Lu has  just dropped his debut album, ‘MILITANT MINDSET’. Rooted in the booming rap subgenres of trap and drill, the project is loaded with energetic performances from ODUMODUBLVCK, Alpha P, Dremo, Odunsi (the Engine), Vector, and more.