Songs of the Day: New Music From Jaywillz, Flash, Tena Tenpo & More

start the week with these jams

We’re halfway through 2022, and it’s been an eventful year for Afropop. There’s been a torrent of great new music, spawning a massive stack of inventive smash hit songs. From Highlife-infused Ghanaian pop, to the unrelenting force that is Nigerian street-pop, to South Africa’s indomitable Dance scene, to tantalising Drill explorations in East and Central Africa, and much, much more, we’re living through abundant and musically expansive times.

Every week, tonnes of songs from African artists make their way to digital streaming platforms, and wading through them can be intense. That’s where The NATIVE’s Songs of the Day column comes in to help. We go through as many new releases as possible, spotlighting them here, two to three times every week. Today, enjoy new releases from Flash, Larry Gaaga, Jesse Jagz and more. Dig in. 


For those who know, Flash is one of great talents in the game. Across his sparse catalogue, he has turned in all-time classic performances on Sarz’s “Get Up” and Show Dem Camp’s “Tropicana” but he has somehow been less prolific as a lead artist. On the groove-lined “Fididi,” he coasts a fast-paced beat amidst adlibs from Spinall. Still impressively tender in his vocal delivery, he packs a lot of good vibes into the three minutes of this new catchy track.


Larry Gaaga has another steady bop for listeners. This time, on “Blessings,” he joins the unlikely pair of rap savant Jesse Jagz and Tega Starr, a rising Afropop act. He’s actually the catalyst of this record, weaning his bright vocals onto the live-inspired tapestry of the production. With the vibe to match, Jagz delivers a short but poignant verse in his usual gruff style, colouring this record with the breezy allure of a laid-back summer number.


On “Bumpy,” Tena Tenpo’s latest release, a voice sample forms the basis of this song’s arresting production, somewhere between Kanye West and Prettyboy D-O, off the strength of its bounce. MOJO kicks off things with a zesty verse, lining technical quirks into the trademark bass of his voice. By the time Tena Tenpo comes along, you’re surely swept up in the record’s eccentricity, full of its energy and positivity.


Amidst the current crop of Afropop artists, love is a subject that leads to a larger resolution. For Nigerian singer, Jaywillz on “Till Dawn,” a standout record off his latest EP, it’s a delirious high, and you’d hear the excitement of his vocals on this one. Backed by tender percussions and colourful guitar strings, he turns in a performance that reaffirms his name among the many great acts to watch out for.


On his projects, Enugu-bred rapper Elveektor is intensely political in his exploration of identity. It’s the bedrock of his strong underground fanbase, but Valentine Ogbu has also been known to do impressionist, vibe-influenced rap singles. “50k” is another impressive moment in the run-up to his ‘Ife Nwoke’ album, calling up Bugzy to create a Trap-inflected bop. The stuff of dreams and grind forms their thematic source, and the thrust of this record.


The introspective leanings of South African rappers have constructed what is perhaps the most intriguing Hip-Hop scene on the continent. From Tyson Sybateli to Thato Saul and Priddy Ugly, they all share a burning desire to document the twisting angst of their lives.

Priddy’s “30minutes to Soweto” is a sprawling track of six minutes, packing the tear-inducing observations of Priddy into two utterly stirring verses. In the first, he creates a wonderful progression with the bars, “Most of our fathers were the type to beat our mothers, so our mothers wore a face-beat just to keep it undercover/ And deep benеath the covers therе were heaps of secret lovers/Love we need to rediscover, just to teach it to each other.” The Armsdeal-directed visual is also a poignant reflection of the streets, featuring the rapper in a drive through the city that made him, looking back on what it’s taken to get this high-up in life.