Songs Of The Day: New Music From Oxlade, BNXN, Goodgirl LA & More
stellar new records to start off the weekend
stellar new records to start off the weekend
2022 is winding down, 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, many 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 music from Ejoya, Victony, Sauti Sol, J. Derobie and more. Lock In!
2022 has been very good to Oxlade, and no one knows this more than the honey-toned youngster. Yet coasting on the global successes of “KU LO SA,” the artist has followed up with a more than fitting jam. “Bad Boy” takes the positively affirmative direction many musicians have taken throughout the year, upholding the philosophy of self-love as truth. Over heavy logs of Amapiano drums from the in-form Magicsticks, the sweet falsetto of Oxlade admirably unites with the deft wordplay of Mayorkun, creating a jam whose only flaw is that it ends.
While he’s often caught in the excesses of digital indulgence, the artist formerly known as Buju does know how to create a good record. He’s been in sharp form throughout the year, releasing the ‘Bad Since 97’ project some months ago which has contributed in keeping his name in popular conversations. The penultimate month of the year however sees many artists drop the weight for groove, crafting party starters that will carry their lore into the festive month of December. “Traboski” is such a record, filled with colourful drums and loops, with the instantly catchy vocals of Buju doing great justice to its subject of being high.
Independent music company Ejoya has been doing great things over the years. Musicians like BNXN (fka Buju) and YKB have passed through their ranks, exciting on yearly compilation albums which usually reveals the establishment’s intricate plans. With their 2022 set expected to release an album soon, this triumphant single goes ahead to clear the path. “E No Fit Be Me” is a complete record, right from Aire’s vibrant production to Oladapo’s passionate singing, while the crisp flows of Ladipoe polishes the inspirational tone. Cue in the violins and crowd vocals and Ejoya has a solid contender for late-year hit songs.
After exiting Marlian Records in the aftermath of alleged physical abuse by his ex-label boss Naira Marley, Mohbad has set off the path of an independent artist. The music still has its groovy, assured feel though, and his latest release “Weekend” is a fine reminder of his prowess. Bouncing with the faaji-esque percussions whose progressions he’s mastered, the artist soundtracks the eternal promise of weekends with vivacious swag. Niphkeys on the production is a cheat code per usual, offering a colourful even if overplayed effort from Mohbad.
Skales has had it hard in recent times. A number of familial issues have affected output from the Afropop mainstay but like everyone knows, he’s never far away from a hit song. “Konibaje” thus sounds like a return to form, revealing Skales in his writing bag. Unfurling sleek rhymes in his signature cadence, he interpretes the thumping drums very energetically.
With roots from South Sudan, Australia-based producer DJ Madengo embodies a thrilling versatility in his work. At his events he plays just about any sound from Africa, connecting them with his first-hand experience of Western genres. “Ikebe” however brings Madengo home, as he finds the perfect sparring partner in Nigerian artist Terri. Over sunny Amapiano-flecked production the musician delivers cheeky lyrics laced in innuendos and local speak, while elements like crowd vocals colour the delivery with more brazen intent.
Possessing one of the most striking voices in the industry, fans of Goodgirl LA have often bemoaned her sparse periods of sharing music. She does make it worthwhile whenever she has new stuff however, and “IDT” continues in that reign of good form. As opposed to her more boisterous cuts, LA cuts a reflective figure here, perusing the dangers of times forthcoming and praying for divine assistance. The lessons of her journey also comes into perspective, especially on the revealing lyric, “I no dey move without my conscience”.
It seems Victony can’t get over his obsession with a part of the feminine physiology. “Booze & Bumbum” is actually AV’s song, but who’s a better feature than the “Soweto” musician? Over pristine percussions which are slightly evoking of palmwine music, the talented musicians put their best foot into the milky space of Ktizo’s production. Complete with an instantly catchy hook and references to pop culture figures like Chimamanda Adichie and Aliko Dangote, it’s a stunning record which catches the listener off guard with its simplicity.
When the legendary Kenyan boy band Sauti Sol shared a picture of themselves in futuristic, power rangers-esque suits, many listeners expected an evolution in their music. In recent times, the four musicians have explored solo paths, with this record being their first this year. “Lil Mama” cues in the sci-fi direction their rebranding suggested, but that’s more audible in the production, the sudden sharpness of its progressions. Their vocals remain as folk-indebted as richly layered as ever, resulting in an exhilarating record which shines with all the great qualities of the band.
“Ijo Laba Laba” has been one of the shining lights in Crayon’s career. Its successes seems to have galvanised the youngster into a cherry disposition (especially online), and that’s the vibe one gets from its remix. Calling up a trio of similarly talented artists, the remix is a strong showcase of Crayon’s curatorial skills. Camidoh’s verse is an obvious standout, but the background vocalisations of Focalistic is as important, just as Costa Titch’s closing verse beautifully executed its role. Not every hit song needs a remix, but this one is just perfect.
Love remains one of the most enduring themes in music, and it’s one IceBeatChillz taps for his new record “Superwoman”. Filled with sensual lyrics coated in blue-eyed romance, the Amapiano-laced production provides great energy for the artist to float over. The record also adequately sets the musician up for his forthcoming project, ‘Love Is King’.
The music of Naira Marley has long acted as a melting pot of genres, and his latest record is no different. Fusing the bold drums of Amapiano with recognisable elements from his Rexxie-created signature sound, the eccentric CEO of Marlian Records dubs his latest sound Gangpiano. “Vawulence” furthers that assertion with its gritty depiction of street life which makes the fun-streaked vocals of Naira Marley even more fearful. Backroad Gee’s scattershot technique enriches the listening experience, while the Arthur Keasy production poignantly carries the expansive material being related on wax.
Primed to release their ‘Bad Boy Etiquette 101’ EP soon, the duo of Ajebo Hustlers have released a new song. Relating anecdotes spiced with their colourful language, the activities of a sexually active woman attract the focus of their authorial instincts. Piego’s hook is as evocative as ever, while Mayorkun makes the perfect host with his witty delivery. On the other end, Knowledge sharply cuts an image-driven verse, with the Amapiano groove bringing all these strands of accomplished artistry to form a certified banger.
Few musicians have their pulse on popular culture as strongly as Zlatan and Young Jonn. While the former uses hysterical images to paint a fitting resume of his rap skills, the latter is the quintessential soulful singer, adapting contemporary references and romantic details. “Astalavista” is a product of all these qualities, carried on the energetic House-indebted production of Yung Willis. It’s a very groovy record, one that’s sure to get the body moving as we enter another weekend.
For those who’ve been watching, Ugoccie has been doing great things to push her music. Crafting ingenious promotional tactics, she’s been able to get the cosign of Don Jazzy and other respected industry players, building anticipation towards the release of her debut project. That body of work is finally here, titled ‘A Piece of Me’ and constructs intimate portraits of the budding Anambra-born musician. “Whenever” is a stirring standout, featuring the enigmatic King Perryy who joins Ugoccie to create a resounding account of affirmation.
Nigerian-born South London-based artist John Alone creates songs with emotional weight. Possessed of a distinct voice which seamlessly translates the ideas of his forward-thinking songwriting, he’s widely admired in the London R&B scene. “Indira” is a song about saving oneself because everybody else is drowning, but the self-produced track doesn’t declare nihilism so blatantly. Rather the artist creates intimate portraits from several angles, lining the seams with an electronic edge which renders it a sense of the epic. The record also features on his forthcoming album, ‘no one is coming to save you’.
Fresh Meat alum T3agray has made a name for himself in the bedroom pop scene, although he switches in between genres with the ease of a virtuoso. On his latest record he flaunts that versatility, going between the extremes of rock music to present the haggard state of his mind. His distorted vocals paint a familiar picture of desolation, even though the drums around him build with intensity as the beat progresses. By the end he has you where he wants you: confessional but slightly triumphant, looking around in awe of the beautiful mess you’ve made of yourself.
Brazy is a relatively new name on the scene but already, she’s causing quite the stir. After a year spent earning her university degree and featuring on Cruel Santino’s ‘Subaru Boys: FINAL HEAVEN,’ the London-based rapper has released the highly anticipated single, “Attends” which she teased on TikTok a few months back. The catchy new single finds Brazy rapping a string of feel-good flexes as she states exactly how she’d like to be treated: “cheat on me and I’ll cheat on you/two in a room and I choose you,” she boldly proclaims.