Songs Of The Day: New music from Ice Prince, Ruger, Skillz 8Figure & more
new music from around the continent to kickstart your weekend
new music from around the continent to kickstart your weekend
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 ‘Songs Of The Day’ as an avenue to curate some of the best releases 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.
This month is Women’s History Month, therefore our curation naturally focuses on celebrating women, as well as music that has made these uncertain times more bearable. Our midweek selection included new releases from Gabonese singer, Pamela Badjogo, Philkeyz and Blaqbonez, Oladips and Zlatan, Kwamz and emPawa artist, Bosom P Yung. To kickstart the weekend, we’re putting you on new releases from Ice Prince, Oxlade, Ruger, Skillz8Figure, Lyta, Naira Marley, Zinoleesky, Legendary Styles & Falz, Blaq Jerzee, Mr Eazi, Marv OTM, Psycho YP and more.
After inking a record deal to 300 Entertainment earlier last year, Ice Prince has been serving up hits in preparation for his forthcoming album. For his latest offering, he’s teamed up with Oxlade for an intoxicating new sensual single titled “Kolo”. The Egar Boi-produced track sees both artists professing their devotion for their love interests.
Singing “I want to use my last card to spoil your life/E get e thing you do me I no fit explain o” on the hook, Oxlade expresses the lengths he’s willing to go for his love, before he’s joined by Ice Prince who raps about losing his senses to love. The accompanying video, directed by U.A.X brings the song’s seductive feel to life with sensual lighting and hypnotic dance from beautiful women.
Since his appearance in February’s Fresh Meat class, we’ve had our eyes on Jonzing World’s latest signee, Ruger, the fresh-faced newcomer with the voice of gold. Today, the 21-year-old releases his debut EP, aptly titled ‘PANDEMIC’ after his rapid-fire declaration on the recently released single “Ruger”: “Ruger is the lockdown/Ruger is the pandemic”.
The 6-track afro-dancehall offering finds him laying out his after dark thoughts. Standout romantic number “Monalisa” is the project’s sweet spot as we hear Ruger declare his romantic interest for a beautiful woman who he can’t seem to get off his mind. Over the uptempo jazzy production, he sings “Shey you know you don make me kolo/Finally you go follow me” eager to prove his affection. You can hear it in the percussive beat and vibrant keys, this is a street poet intent on getting the girl by any means necessary.
Vector and M.I Abaga seem to have put their longstanding beef aside fully, as they have linked up for memorable new single “Crown of Clay”. Rather than throwing shots at each other in the manner we saw previously, the track finds both rappers trading bars about the realities of being a young Black African. Over the uptempo beat produced by Pheelz, Vector raps “We can’t speak, we can’t speak/but you can’t hold the voices, some of dem go burst out/But odeshi dey for my black skin” painting a realistic picture of the ways African governments continue to stifle the voices of young Africans from Nigeria with the #EndSARS protests to Uganda with the presidential run between Bobi Wine and Museveni.
M.I joins him on the second verse, rapping: “Welcome to the bloodline of black queens who birthed the black dream/Women with the heart of a king like drag queens” his words aimed at reassuring listeners of their strength. It’s clear that this number was made to uplift many young people around the continent who may be feeling helpless thanks to the government, who continuously kills their dreams.
Ghana-based Skillz8figure is as consistent as they come. Since arriving on the scene back in 2019, he’s been serving killer singles which have only served to earmark him as one to watch in these parts. After releasing his debut EP ‘Gangsta Luv’ last year which we featured on our Best 2020 Projects list, he’s been teasing the release of his debut album ‘After Dark’ with promotional singles featuring Psycho YP and Twitch 4Eva.
Finally, the wait is over. Arriving yesterday, the 8-track offering sees the singer working his romantic charm throughout the project, which boasts of features appearances from Oxlade, Enam, Mellisa, and more. The groovy percussive beat on “Sempe” is an instant standout, as Skillz8figure delivers an open confessional to a love interest. “Only you dey my mind/Girl your kiss na fire/I no go fit to tire” he sings melodiously on the song’s first verse, before delivering a killer verse about his intentions to commit. His touch is light and the production so well-matched to hone in his affectionate message.
These days, being hesitant about new romantic situations after getting burnt by old flames in the past is nothing new and for his latest single, Lyta turns up the dial on his romantic intentions with “Are You Sure”, an amorous offering featuring labelmates Naira Marley, Zinoleesky and EMO Grae.
“This your love drive me crazy, I don’t trust myself/Baby are you sure that you want me/ Are you sure it’s not the Hennessy” Lyta sings on the hook, inquiring about whether his lover is just as committed to their union. Even Naira is wearing his heart on his sleeve singing “Baby if you leave me I will kill myself” before he’s joined by EMO Grae and Zinoleesky who’s intentions are similarly flirtatious. Wahala for who love Marlian.
Zlatan updates his hit single “Lagos Anthem” with a befitting remix, this time including features from Oberz, Oladips, Kabex, and Trod. Keeping the delectable charm of the original version, Zlatan begins the song with the instantly familiar hook “dem dey talk say money no dey Lagos” over a percussive drum-led beat that sets the pace for what’s to come. In the accompanying video directed by Dammy Twitch, we see female models dressed in traditional attire to represent the three main tribes in Nigeria which roots the song in authenticity. We also see Zlatan and his collaborators deliver their verses while living it up and toasting to the good life, they’re also spraying dollar bills showing money is indeed in Lagos when you’re with Zlatan.
At the start of the year, the Igbo drill song “I See, I Saw” by rapper Legendary Styles was slowly making its way across social media timelines and taking over our TikTok feeds. However, just as the song was about to hit 1M streams across DSPs, it got pulled down rather quickly. At the time, Styles explained that the owners of the original beat had pulled down the song because of an uncleared sample.
The song was later re-released after Styles’ producer created a new beat for the rapid-fire number. Today the rapper unveils the official remix “I See, I Saw” with a feature from Falz. The remix has a more relaxed tempo, complete with new verses from Styles and memorable inclusions from Falz. While Styles begins the song with the memorable hook that took over social media, Falz joins the rapper on the second verse rapping “I dey dodge all the shenanigans/want to run up on my Cadillac/I dey see am for all the grass” as he calls out the opps posing as friends.
On his new romantic single “Falling For You”, Blaq Jerzee taps into beautiful vocals from Banku Music head honcho Mr Eazi, alongside Tanzanian singer, Harmonize. The self-produced romantic number sees all the artists declare their love interest for women in their lives. “You dey burst my mind/If you be ogbanje I go cast and bind,” sings Mr. Eazi reminiscently adopting cadence similar to those employed on hits such as “Skin Tight”. The song’s title is perfectly indicative of what’s inside, a gooey love song that celebrates romantic affection in all its glory.
Apex Village, the Abuja-based musical collective comprising of several skilled artists and producers have been holding it down for several years. With the new year in focus, they’re showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon with near-weekly rap releases. Last month, rapper and producer Marv OTM delivered ‘Cruise Control’, a 2-pack release including features from SGaWD and has quickly followed this with new heat titled ‘Holy Grail’. This time, he’s joined by Psycho YP and they both enlist $paceley on the braggadocious number “Suit & Tie”.
The uptempo single sees all three rappers trade bars about their prolific runs trapping and making money despite not taking the traditional routes to success with a 9-5 job. “Can’t catch me in a suit and tie/but I’m working like a 9-5” Marv OTM raps memorably on the hook, essentially toasting to his unconventional success. He’s joined by $paceley who chims memorable liners such as “No be bands? Make you go” and Psycho YP who reaffirms his position as a “young nigga tryna get all that guap”. It’s straight flexing on the beat for over 3mins, what’s not to love.
Featured image credits/Bolaji Odukoya/Instagram