Songs Of The Day: New Music From Smada, Nasty C, Flavour & More
some great new records to get into
some great new records to get into
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 Flavour, DJ Tunez, Zoro, Tim Lyre and more. Lock in!
Some days ago, Lagos-based artist Smada was announced as the second artist to sign under the NATIVE Records roster. He’d done so on the back of a social media campaign that was fun as it was revelatory, sketching the versatile act as an intentional creative. He releases his debut record with the Def Jam Recordings partners, and he’s done so in fine style. Bursting with colourful synth loops and pensive chord progressions, “Ye Anthem” tells the story of a young man trying to please their love interest. Affectionate, urgent lyrics prove to be Smada’s forte here, and his guests are similarly affecting. The Prince Akpa visuals poignantly captures its effervescent vibe, featuring Smada in a party setting and more intimate scenes, getting acquainted with beautiful models.
Over the years Nasty C has cut a reputation for being a rapper unafraid to bare his demons in full view of the public. When he’s not crafting boisterous rap bangers he’s usually charting a poet’s course, evoking stories from personal life with a fine grasp of language. “No Big Deal” is perhaps the most blunt of his introspective records yet; there’s no no glossy metaphor or hidden agenda as he coasts over a soulful beat with tribal drums, speaking to his relationships with the rappers Sarkodie and A-Reece. Knowing the weight of such conversations, Nasty’s gaze is frank and almost sleepy-eyed, giving the impression he’s ready to make peace before he even raps the words.
FLAVOUR – “GAME CHANGER (DIKE)”
Onwa December is here and Flavour is again soundtracking this colourful period across Nigerian societies. Known for his bold, triumphant, culture-soaked takes on the genre of Igbo Highlife, the continental renown of Flavour cuts across generations and changes in style. “Game Changer” bares the musician’s signature flourishes, featuring vivid Ogene drums and the authoritative vocals of Flavour. Backed by a medley of background vocals, the song oozes pure strength and domination, two qualities a lot of people would want to possess as we run the last lap of 2022.
A glossy finish instantly stands out on the production of “Lambo”. It’s that groovy-yet-glossy feel which pulls you in, the intricate designs of its percussion. Even before Amexin begins to sing there’s that immersive quality and it’s a cheat code to have a musician as talented as the youngster spaz over such accomplished beatmaking. Possessing vibrant, lithe vocals which sounds like a cross between Rema and Wande Coal, Amexin executes in good stride, while Tunez stays in the background to keep everything moving.
St. Seii has continued to cut a unique path for himself in the music scene. Asides the breezy quality of his music, part of his acclaim comes from his youthful swag and how he’s able to blend that into his sonic efforts. Earlier today he debut the 2-pack ‘La Saint’, and a standout is this Ragga-inflected opener which swirls with sensual intent. Reminiscent of the Caribbean classics, Seii curated a fun record with great potential.
“Tabom Riddim” is a lush collaboration between two master producers. Juls is no doubt more familiar to African audiences, but VHOOR holds his own distinction in the folk sounds of his native Brazil. The connecting facet is the Latin qualities of Juls’ palmwine tapestry, and this joint sees them exploring that path further. Backended with a wealth of percussions, there’s an essential slice through its heart, creating leanness which works to amplify the surrounding elements. From horns to Spanish guitars and birdsong, the atmosphere created is relaxed and pensive in the same breath, an accumulation of tonal extremes only savants can achieve.
Frequent collaborators Tena Tempo and Tim Lyre have created a number of distinctive records together, and “On My Way” belongs to the top-class of those. An electrifying beat sets the psychedelic direction of the musicians, speeding up with the intensity of a car driving. Then you remember after all the love interest’s on their way, a familiar feeling of intense longing the duo translate well. From Tena’s affectionate singing to the breezy rap verses of Lyre’s, the chemistry on wax is undeniable.
Since the seminal ‘2Kings’ from Phyno and Olamide, we haven’t had many pop-facing rappers join forces on a project. Weeks ago Zoro and Falz ignited that distinct fire in rap lovers, teasing a forthcoming release. Shared today, “Naira To Pounds” is the first single off that effort and it’s quite an impressive one. Going back and forth over a Drill-inflected beat, the rappers showcase their distinct strengths and seamless chemistry. They employ different perspectives to offer implicit commentary on trending sociopolitical issues while painting a gripping image of their celebrity lifestyles.
It’s been a minute since we got new Ice Prince music and how fitting he’s doing it with family. Primarily released as an effort of the Supercoolcats collective, “Cartel” takes the impressionist pop-rap direction the iconic rapper has mastered. He preaches the strength of communion with references to his life and career, but it’s the lesser-known Skaa who leaves a stronger impression here. His winding verse pulls all the stops, from its technical strength to his deep bag of imagery. Ice Princes comes on after to polish the record with a useful bit of name-calling, coating the song with riveting superstar quality.