Songs Of The Day: New Music From CKay, Shaybo, Olakira & More

new jams to get into

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. Earlier this week we highlighted songs from Gabzy, Yung L, DJ Tunez and more. This week we have new drops from Lil Kesh, Ronehi, Black Sherif and more.


Love occupies much of CKay’s discography and it’s a subject he delves again into on his new song. After the successes recorded by “Emiliana”, the Warner frontman releases the electric “Maria”, declaring love in the softest terms for a woman named so. The bright guitars are lovely arms for carrying his vocals, delivered with a slight wink which indicates the affairs of a scene it will typically soundtrack. 


Afrobeats sensation Olakira has released groovy and colourful visuals for his latest single, “Fall”. On “Fall,” he sings in adoration of his muse with lyrics such as ”..I don fall for you..” that express his deepest feelings for her. The vibrant video was produced by Olakira and directed by Dammy Twitch, features scenes that are parallel to the song’s lyrics. In the video, occasional shots have Olakira in the background as he admires his muse in all her glory. As the video progresses he approaches her while singing “..pretty lady when you move your body you’re so gorgeous.”


Lil Kesh surely rides on a cloud of confidence after his smashing collaboration with Zinoleesky (“Don’t Call Me”) went on to become one of 2021’s most resonant hits. It reintroduced his spritzy take on aspirational themes to the mainstream consciousness. He calls again on the new school with this groovy party record, “Vanilla Bottega.” His energetic yodelling about catching his cruise is complemented by Joeboy’s trademark cool, contributing to this record’s bewitching groove. 


Amapiano has been inspiring great performances from Nigerian musicians of late, and L.A.X is the latest. On his latest single,  “Waist Drop,” L.A.X shows off his luscious singing, laying slightly husky vocals over the thumping production. The result is an unmissable bop which should soundtrack the crazier motions of a night in Lagos.


Nigerian-British rapper ShayBo’s latest song is one of the most exciting songs you’ll hear. All her better qualities as an MC are on display, with a slick delivery and a wizened perspective that still sounds sexy. “Crocs” basically upholds her as the standard, taking shots at everyone from haters to broke boys who can’t make her wet. Set to a thumping bassline and synths straight from a Kanye song, the record’s two minute runtime will have you streaming again. 


In a time of heightened relationship palaver, Dunnie is a preacher of love. Her new record is a warm ballad cushioned on balmy percussions. Creating a duet with Chike on “Already Won”, their glorious vocals build around the production with assured confidence. When the verses pull into the chorus, you’re almost tempted to join in with them to sing “I’m done with the streets, oh babe I already won”


Street poet Bella Shmurda adopts an aloof stance on “Fvck Off”. Having soundtracked the motions of the spirited youth in preceding years, some have called his dedication into question in recent years. Truth is, Bella never lost it and “Fvck You” is a fine sample of the effervescence we all fell in love with. He directly addresses naysayers while upholding the carefree tenets of his lifestyle, singing “if you don’t like me, f*ck off/ if you feeling down, burn up” with brazy confidence. Niphkeys’ is tapped for the production, imprinting his typical brilliance on this jam.


Having dominated music conversations this year, Black Sherif is visualising his legacy. The Ghanaian superstar does that through the release of visuals for “Kwaku The Traveller”, one of the biggest songs of the year. In a short film directed by David Nicol-Sey, the cinematic appeal of the record is translated into gripping scenes. Sherif’s figure as a fashion enthusiast is also captured, fitting finely in outfits which include a coat and pink balaclavas. It’s an admirably positive visual which manages to reflect the grimy severity of hustling to feed oneself.


Scintillating best describes this song by Ronehi and SGaWD. They lace electric verses and soulful singing over double time synths, colouring the record with a brazy, infectious vibe. Paced with the intimate heat of Disco records, “Telfar” successfully combines genres in favour of an utterly accomplished song. You should definitely pay more attention to these women if you weren’t. 


In the run-up to ‘West African Goat’, rapper Paybac iBoro has been employing the sonic eccentricities he’s known for. He’s consistently grown into his singing and his recent releases have flaunted that skill set. “Sacrifice” is no different, helmed by an ethereal beat which moves with the currents of an entire universe. The sound sets Paybac for brilliance, dissecting the affairs of his heart and mind with lucid precision. His verses entertain and enlighten, again confirming PayBac as a rapper with influences far beyond the genre’s scope.


Kuami’s vocals rank high among African musicians. He can wield its svelte nature into any form, and his latest song just shows that. “Take Away” begins with dreamy guitar strings and Kuami’s singing is tender as well, but his flows are as zesty as he’s ever been. The vision to prove the superiority of having money produces a song that’s as humorous as it is evocative. He’s particularly blunt on the chorus, screaming the lines “if you no get money, anything you say be funny/ they are taking your babes away” with the conviction of an experienced person.


Simi SZN is upon us. With her fourth album ‘To Be Honest’ expected on June 2nd, the singer has shared a single to ease listeners into that world. “Naked Wire” is the most vulnerable we’ve heard Simi in a minute, melting at the feet of love with trademark wittiness and poetry. Brooding keys linger in the background, as lush percussion sets the sonic centre. Simi’s tinny vocals are sure in the embrace of love as she sings lyrics like “moving in harmony, baby oh, no release me/ the language of my body, you speak it so fluently”

Featured image credits/NATIVE