Songs Of The Day: New Music From Tomi Agape, EMPIRE, Maleek Berry & More

new music for your playlist

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 Tomi Agape, Pheelz, Maleek Berry and more. Lock In! 


Following the announcement of their debut compilation album, ‘Where We Come From, Vol.1,’ EMPIRE has topped several charts with the release of “Cough(Odo)” with Kizz Daniel and Tiwa Savage and Asake’s “Loaded.” Featuring some of the best Afropop acts including Wande Coal, Bad Boy Timz, Olamide and more, the 15-track compilation album offers a fresh contribution to the sounds from these parts. A standout from the recently released project is “Hold On” which taps into Fireboy DML who recently celebrated 3 years since his iconic debut ‘Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps’ and Navy Kenzo. Fireboy’s captivating vocals which instantly introduce the tracks thumping beat are quickly followed by Navy’s infectious flow. Fireboy’s dulcet vocals steal the tuneful hook as he sings, “So long, baby girl its been so lonely/Hold on, baby girl you’ve got a hold on me.”


Aside some features alongside “In the Night” PsychoYP-aided “Maria” in 2021, Tomi Agape has had quite a quiet couple of months since her 2020 EP, ‘Never Gunna Be the Same’ which featured standouts like “London” and “Better.” Now, the London-based singer returns with the N2theA-produced “Deep End,” which is a melodious rendition over a mid-tempo base infused beat. Her vulnerable songwriting shines through on this colourful production with light saxophone chords. She doesn’t shy away from expressing her raw emotions as she croons on the hook, “This is us, this is all of me/loving you, loving me.”


Barely two weeks ago, Blaq Jerzee came out with his first solo track of the year “Chele,” to join his 2022 releases “Bags” and “Dangerous” assisted by Phyno and Jazzer’s Karis respectively. For his most recent release, the Nigerian producer taps into Tanzanian musician and undeniably one of Africa’s biggest artist, Diamond Platnumz for his new single “Superwoman.” The track’s high-tempo groovy beat showcases the pair’s catchy lyricism as they express their longing for their love interest despite understanding that she’s trouble.


Cementing himself as one of the most exciting acts to cross over into a global audience with the astronomical success of BNXN-assisted “Finesse,” Nigerian producer, singer and songwriter, Pheelz, offers a new mix to the smash hit now featuring French Montana. This follows after Davido-assisted “Electricity” which also garnered significant attention from global audiences. For its remix, Pheelz retains the tracks indelible production but this time introduced by French Montana’s instantly recognisable flow–a testament to the artist’s versatility.


Still riding the waves of standout single “Philo” off his recently released album ‘Hypertension,’ Bella Shmurda joins Small Doctor for his third track this year. Adding to the slew of street pop anthems emanating from these parts, “Shaka” is another catchy number capturing the zeal and relentless drive easily reconcilable with the streets and its artists. The track opens up saying “If I no make am wo kingba/ If I no do wetin no pay me oh.” The pair, over a catchy mid-tempo beat sprinkled with Amapiano influences, the pair fluently go back and forth in Yoruba and English as they chant on the hook “Plenty dollars shaka (Shakabula Shaka)/Plenty plenty pounds shaka (Shakabula Shaka).”


Maleek Berry made a comeback on the scene this month with his solo performance on “My Way” off his forthcoming project. Not long after, he reaffirmed himself with his diverting performance on Eugy’s “Medicine” which also enlisted Mavins signee, LADIPOE, leaving us itching for the long awaited comeback. Drawing us further into the world of his album, Maleek has now released new single “Ole Gan,” an instantly catchy number with the distinct log drums of the Amapiano sounds rocking our airwaves at the moment. On this track, he expresses his longing as he expresses his willingness to go the extra mile for his love interest.


Following the death of his beloved mother, Afropop singer Skales is immortalising her memory through his latest release. Titled “Konibaje,” which is Yoruba for “It won’t be bad,” Skales delivers a hopeful and resilient track about keeping the memory of our loved ones alive. Produced by longtime collaborator Jay Pizzle (Kizz Daniel, Patoranking, Olamide), Konibaje’ is an infectious dance floor filler laced with thumping drums and catchy synth arrangements, as we have come to expect from Skales.


Off her forthcoming debut album, ‘What’s Around The Corner,’ Joya is back with her raw lyricisms and signature heavenly vocals on “Tears.” The soulful R&B track which blends loose-limbed Jazz sensibilities and Hip-Hop, showcases Joya’s luscious vocals on the reflective number that discusses accepting life with all the negatives. Produced by Sim Fane and SIROJ, she sings about embracing ones journey with all the failures, dramatic fullstops and resets. “Tears” offers a refreshing sound of modern R&B with sharp lyricisms urging listeners to reflect.


Espacio enlists ‘Diaspora’ rapper, Maglera Doe Boy on his first single of the year since his triple release – “Deliverance,” “The Knowing” and “Thlali”– in the later parts of last year. “Pelo” features the South African musician expressing his hopes for love on this mid-tempo track, stating plainly to his love interest that he is vulnerable and ready to love. Maglera Doe Boy’s sweet-sounding vocals compliment the tracks dazzling production drawing influences from Setswana and SeSotho.


Making her 2021 debut into the scene with a feature on DEELA’s “FIT,” Tblu’s memorable lyrics and rhythmic flow over the striking bass-infused beat left listeners wanting more. She also featured on Brazy’s “ARI” – also assisted by DEELA- and the trio, joined by L0la collaborated on “Fuk on Me.” For her debut solo single, “Big Bad Blu,” T6lu -pronounced T blue- is back with her low cadence vocals on the bass-heavy produced. A eulogy in its own right, T6lu praises herself as she croons on the “Big bad blu, who?, who the fuck is T6lu?/ You bitches wish you knew, can’t hang with my crew.” 

Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE

Nwanneamaka couples her creative interests with her individuality, using words as a vessel for her expression.