Songs of the Day: New Music from Chike, Ceeza Milli, Portable & more

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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. Last Friday, we highlighted new drops from Reminisce, Liya, Adekunle Gold, AV and more. Today’s curations includes releases from Masterkraft and Chike, Ceeza Milli, Portable, Nia Ramzy and more.


At the inaugural edition of The Voice Nigeria, sensational vocalist Chike left the entire nation taken aback by his mercurial vocal prowess and his electrifying stage performances. Week after week, he thrilled, leaving his name on the lips of an entire nation—and eventually finished as the second runner up. Following a smattering of singles and a stellar debut album, Chike is back with another glistening offering. 

On this record, he’s tapped by ace producer Masterkraft for a Gospel-inflected Amapiano number. Chike’s effusive voice holds its own against the rich melodic Amapiano grooves and thumping percussion of the Masterkraft produced beat. Over the anthemic Gospel-patterned song, Chike is effusively grateful and reflective as he sings about the curdling joy lodged inside him and offers poignant praises to God. 


Following a brief hiatus, veteran Nigerian pop singer B-Red swaggers back onto the scene with a lush new offering. On “Call Me”, he cleverly melds R&B melodies with the quintessential bouncy percussion of Afrobeats into a refreshing whole. His sultry voice contrasts the tranquil production, upholstered by clipped guitar riffs and zingy bounce, creating a delectably riveting effect. He sings about his undying love for his muse, elaborately describes the lengths he’d go to win her love, and tells her to call him with the poetic deftness of a veteran bard. “Call me anytime you need me, I’d be running back to your arms/For you I’ll run a thousand miles, you’re the perfect picture, the star,” he sings. 


On “Baby”, newcomer Nia Ramzy layers interesting lyrics on a lush R&B-tinged Afropop record, crafting a brilliantly refreshing record by effect. On the production, H-Born rallies an extensive assortment of sonic elements—clipped percussion, poignant keys, groovy bass riffs, lancing synths—and strings them end-on-end to create a placid ethereal sound. The singer holds up her end, offering soulful crooning, as she expresses her deep longing and affection for her muse. 


On his new single, “CHOP LIFE”, Ceeza Milli is sombre and introspective, which is especially astonishing considering the title of the track. While he does sing about exuberance and luxury, the themes of the song lean full-tilt towards the topics of negativity doled on to him by his detractors, his prowess as an artiste and the uncertainty of life, which are all harbingers to his central message of living life to the fullest. The amber-hued environment provided by the pensive production, walks in lockstep with his singing, and functions to transpose the message of the song into an even more lofty echelon. 


For his latest offering—a re-up of a standout track from his 2021 album The Prince I Became’—Ric Hassani taps burgeoning Guatemalan singer Said Palacious. On the reggae-tinged Afropop record, laced with groovy guitar riffs, Ric offers adulation to his muse with his glib sonorous vocals. Said Palacious sultry vocals holds its own against the stripped-down groovy production, as he offers poignant crooning in his native Guatemalan. 


Following his 2021 smash hit “ZaZoo Zehh”, Portable isn’t losing any steam as he follows through with yet another single. On “Clear”, an uptempo ballad upholstered by a poignant melody, he weaves in and out of meaningful singing and playful babbling. Scooting between Nigerian Pidgin and Yoruba, he sings about how crucial money is in today’s society and fills in the rest of the song with playful histrionics. 


“You” is a clever fusion of R&B and Afropop that inspires the thrill of hearing a lush work-in-progress. Over the sombre, guitar-upholstered production, Ihcego expresses the full gamut of emotions of a person stricken with love. Using poetic lyrics, she paints an elaborate tableau of the breadth of her love for her muse. 


On this record, sister nations—Ghana and Nigeria—fuse into a sturdy whole. The song sees ace Ghanaian singer and 1/2 of R2bess, Mugeez join forces with Nigerian singer Ceeza Milli. Upholstered by a groovy guitar riff and sparse percussion, the tranquil production of the song inspires a flurry of serene emotions. On the romantic ballad, the duo take turns offering adulation to their muse with cheeky lyrics and soulful crooning, the result is an electrifying performance.