Songs of the day: New music from Niniola, Femi Kuti, Nxwrth, Oxlade, LSMK and more

Your latest dose of great music from across Africa

The fast and furious pace of new music releases makes it hard to keep track of all different new sounds coming out of Africa as the music scene grows more and more expansive. We’ve decided to help out by sorting through all the new songs from across all the platforms and subgenres around the continent to curate a column with all the best  “Songs of the Day”, to highlight all the new releases you absolutely NEED to hear.

We started the week with new music from AYLØ, MOJO, Rema, Falz, Ms Banks, Darkovibes, King Promise, French Montana and Davido. Ninola, Femi Kuti, 808vic, Oxlade, Nxwrth, London Afrobeat band, Kokoroko and LSMK have given us the latest additions to our playlists with new songs celebrating the diverse sound of African originated music.

Niniola – “Fantasy” Feat. Femi Kuti

Niniola’s music always stands out because of her knack for channelling her raunchy lyrics through her indigenous African influences. Her latest release, “Fantasy”, explores the Afrobeat sound of Femi Kuti as she performs a sultry set over the mix of Afro-house instrumentals Jazz arrangements from the Femi. The resulting mix of EDM elements and horn riffs provides a groovy backdrop designed to serve dancefloors while she brags about the seductive allure of women’s body; “Oh Gina/ You’re my fantasy”

Nxwrth – “Ascend” Feat. Tsoobi

The space travel theme for Nxwrth’s coming ‘NASA (Thanks For Flying)’ album is apparent from the title. The album won’t be out till the 3rd of April but we got a taste of what’s to come with the atmospheric beats heard on his newly released “Ascend”, featuring Tsoobi. The Ghanaian singer’s autotuned vocals add to the otherwordly ambience of the Nxwrth produced beat as she performs a confident set in the patios dialect.

Oxlade – “Breathe”

One of the many benefits of the social media era is how much access we have to all our favourite musicians, and we can typically tell when they’re gearing up to a new release. Oxlade has been building anticipation for his debut tape with the features, pictures, covers and comments he shares on social media. Though there’s still no official release date for the project, he just released a new song, “Breath”, on Audiomack and IGTV. The song sounds like an interlude that could potentially feature on the EP as Oxlade harmonizes for most of the 1-minute duration of the song. His impressive vocal range is on full display here with Yung Ace’s minimalist production, laying a backdrop of atmospheric backing vocals for Oxlade’s impassioned performance in appreciation of a love interest. Oxlade hasn’t announced an official name for his EP yet, but his social media name, OXYGENE is a strong contender for the title.

Kokoroko – “Carry Me Home”

London based Afrobeat band, Kokoroko are proof of Fela’s sustained relevance in contemporary pop culture. The 8-musician band broke out with their Afrobeat sound on “Abusey junction”, and for their latest single, “Carry Me Home”, they sort inspiration from Dele Sosimi, a renowned member of Fela’s Egypt 80 band. The keyboard player inspired the groovy mix of psychedelic funk and Afrobeat while their lyrics invite listeners to the motherland; “Carry Me Home”.

LSMK – “Bad”

LSMK’s first release of 2020, “Bad”, is a warm and endearingly single about staying positive and self-confident through difficult times. With its melancholic piano bassline, frantic drum riffs and LSMK’s self-assured rap bars, “Bad” captures the feeling of being inspired to take on any challenge. Rapping “I’m so impatient with time/ Like if I had money, man shit will just move fast”, LSMK spoke about relatable challenges to make his personalized lyrics inclusive and motivational for everyone.

808Vic – “Video Games”

808vic is one of the artists expanding Nigeria’s indie music scene with the niche lo-fi sound of his rap songs. His cool voice has an immediate gravitational pull, and his latest single, “Video Games” makes one wonder where he’ll take it next as he raps a romantic set over the guitar-led lo-fi beat. He raps with nonchalant ease as though to match the laidback sound of the beat. And while his lyrics are convincing—“I’ve never been so free/ I swear you’re paradise”—it’s the way he leans forward into the production that makes “Video Games” infectious and worth playing over and over.

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You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu

ICYMI: Stream “Omo Rapala” by Niniola and Sarz