Songs of the Day: New Music From Ragz Originale, Vector, 1da Banton & More
New music from around the continent
New music from around the continent
More than most people, the team at The NATIVE knows that the sheer scope of music available to us at this exact moment in human history is mind-numbing but our goal is still the same as always: we don’t want exciting music to be slept on. That’s where our Songs of the Day column comes in. We try to keep our fingers on the pulse of music from across the continent and beyond, bringing you exciting songs from talented musicians who are continuously trying to bounds of artistry with their music.
Last Friday, we had Fireboy DML’s first solo single post-Apollo, as well as a heartwarming collaboration between British-Nigerian Dave and Afropop icon Wizkid. Today’s editions has exciting music from Port Harcourt-bred singer and producer, 1da Banton, Ajebo Hustlers, and some genre-meshing sweetness from British producer and singer, Ragz Originale. Tap in.
North London-born singer and producer, Ragz Originale, has played a key role in the renaissance of grime music over the last half-decade, producing three songs on Skepta’s critically-acclaimed 2016 album, ‘Konnichiwa’. But on his solo material, the singer has explored a more melodic side to his music, diverging from the grit of grime with mellow singing based on solipsistic reflection as explored on 2018’s Nature. His latest song, “No Doubt,” is a sensual burner expressing his desire to be with a love interest, featuring rapper, Knuck and Nigerian singer, Lady Donli, who delightfully sings the line, “he’s never been with a Naija girl.”
For the last 18 months, the sweet melodies of Port Harcourt have established a presence in the high courts of Nigerian pop. Very few embody the city’s ethos like 1da Banton does. The singer-producer helped craft Ajebo Hustlers’ breakout single “Barawo,” and on his debut album, ‘Original Vibe Machine’, he comes into his own as an artist, flowing nimbly on songs like “Sekkle Down” and “No Wahala.” Collaborations like “No Sleeping” with Zlatan show 1da’s ability to lean into the world of the others without losing the core of his artistry.
Back in March, Nigerian rap icons, M.I. Abaga and Vector squashed their long-standing beef with the Pheelz-featuring “Crown of Clay”. Four months later, the song is receiving a cross-continental remix featuring Kenyan rapper, Khaligraph Jones as well as francophone artists Dip Doundou Guiss and Ashs The Best. The song’s guests definitely bring a fierce urgency to the remix, referencing black greatness and Zamunda while matching Vector’s verse about Nigeria’s servicemen.
Ajebo Hustlers spent much of last year being cast as conscientious voices thanks to the potent messaging of “Barawo” that touched on the dangers of jungle justice and the wider decay in society.
The duo’s debut album, ‘Kpos Lifestyle Vol. 1’, aims to offer a more panoramic view of them. Here, we see the duo in a new light as they show their proficiency in serenading love interests and soundtracking social justice movements. Album opener, “Bus Stop,” sees some of that mellow singing as Piego and Knowledge take turns declaring that they are ready to commit to long-term relationships while spicing things up with sprinklings of their Port Harcourt cadence.
Ogranya’s incredibly prolific streak continues with the release of “Carribeana” featuring his creative partner, WondaMagik. The mid-tempo jam is an ode to never being forgotten as the singers try to ensure they are long ingrained in the mind of their lovers. The first song off Wonda’s forthcoming project ‘Chronicles of Magik II’, “Carribeana” tunnels into feelings of attachment that both singers explore delicately over minimalist production.
While drill hasn’t necessarily been fully established in Nigeria, the seeds for its emergence are being laid by a determined crop of artists who, in homage to the origins of the Chicago-pioneered sub-genre, are directly layering their life experiences over the ominous beats. Powpeezy has been steady with drill-influenced drops since the last quarter of 2020 and the video for his latest single, “Lagos Party,” documents the raucous energy of a night out on the city as he tries to get lit while referencing pop culture mainstays like demon time and shutdowns without going offbeat.
Featured image credits/Instagram