uNder: Best New Artists (April 2024)

from Kenya to South Africa

There has never been a more exciting time to be attuned to the pulse of African music. Across the continent, young, talented musicians are displaying incredible ingenuity while subverting genre norms and putting fresh spins on popular sounds across hip-hop, R&B, and Afropop. Archiving and cataloging the work of these inspired acts has never been more important than it is now, and it continues to be central to what we do at The NATIVE. In March, we hosted the inaugural edition of our uNder live showcase, completing a journey that started as ‘Fresh Meat’ in one iteration before evolving to its current form. The task has always been to shine a spotlight on rising acts across the continent who are doing innovative things with their music. 

With uNder alums like Tyla, Ayra Starr, and Omah Lay seeing huge success, we’re always obsessively on the lookout for who’s up next and, this month, we have a roll call of talent who we believe deserve all the attention and support possible. 


For fans of: Ictooicy and Amaarae. 

Tg.blk’s music blurs the boundaries between moods, feelings, and genres. The Mombasa native sounds like she spends hours scouring the underground circuit for the coolest subterranean influences that she can meld with her stream-of-consciousness raps that oscillate between leering braggadociousness and withering self-introspection. It has all the perfect ingredients for a sound that pays stylistic homage to the lyrical rigour of golden-age Hip-Hop but is not afraid to subvert that genre’s sonic trappings in favour of forward-thinking production styles. 

Always interested in music and Hip-Hop from her teenage years, tg.blk’s artistic awakening was inspired by watching Straight Outta Compton in 2015. After seeing the biopic, tg.blk formed a group with a friend in high school called Butterscotch. They released a six-song mixtape of  popular song covers before disintegrating. Things took a more serious form for tg.blk when she moved to the United States for university and started making beats using a cracked copy of Logic. She gravitated towards lo-fi instrumentals that complemented her DIY approach to making music and released “Cap Chronicles” in January 2021. 

Later that year, she released her break-out song, Love Being Used.” Built around a psychedelic instrumental that explores putting herself  through toxicity and pain just to experience love, it’s a concise and emotionally-weighty examination of the landmines that we can sometimes walk into when navigating relationships. For an artist whose music depends so heavily on genuine experiences, it’s not a surprise that it took another two years to hear from tg.blk again. Her 2023 release, “Nydfrystl,” was a status update on the evolutions in her life as she settled into life post-university and acclimatised to life in Mombasa again. 

2024 has been tg.blk’s most prolific year yet. In February, she released “Gin and Wine (Ginuwine)” and followed it up with “Motorola Money”–which she  described as her first “bad bitch anthem”–on the last day of April. Speaking about the song, tg.nlk says: “It’s about having fun with your friends, getting money and feeling confident. It’s the first “bad bitch” anthem I’ve ever made and it was so fun to write.” “Motorola Money on my cell phone bitch chat gpt ai shit” was basically me referencing bad bitches making money online. There’s so much free money online and these days you don’t even have to work to get it. I’ve literally seen people making money using AI. Also it just sounds cool.” – W.O. 


For Fans of: Odeal, Tay Iwar & Gabzy

At the core of Boistory’s musical expression is freedom, manifested through a free-spirited approach to the soundscapes he traverses as well as the holistic approach to creation he adopts. While he majorly operates within contemporary R&B, he intricately incorporates elements of Funk, Jazz and other genres to create a melting pot of sounds that convey complex emotions we can all relate to. Alongside genre-bending, Boistory’s versatility shines brightly through his masterful production and sleek bars, made clear by his clever penmanship. Speaking about taking on the roles of singer-writer-producer, Boistory shares, “The autonomy is the big piece of this for me. [I like] not having to rely on people. That isn’t to say not say that there’s anything wrong with the collaboration but if I have an idea and I want to pursue it, no one else can get into your head to put it down.” From his low-fi 2019 debut, “Bruised,” to the enchanting hums on his sophomore?? project  “Leaning,” Boistory presents a sensual energy dripped with honeyed vocals and soft croons, a clear inclination towards the emotion-laden delivery we receive across future releases. 

Tracking a steady path to success, Boistory has held on to his piercing vulnerability, only refining his tone and messaging. He arrives armed with jazzy bass lines and sleek keys, anchored by silky vocals he uses to contrast the darker emotions and anxieties he expresses. Because his charm almost overpowers his occasionally dark observations, Boistory’s messaging only comes through clearly to the vigilant listener who catches the suggestive undertones. His recently released two-pack, ‘BEBE/CINNAMON’ is a clear indicator of his style, as he tracks a drawn out interaction between lovers, where their non-committal intentions are tucked under a bed of groovy, psychedelic chords and a vocal assist from Odunsi(The Engine). Other than his ability to deliver the harshest realities of romance in the sweetest tones, Boistory’s appeal lies in his explorative approach which positions him as a refreshing face bound to leave audiences captivated in the long run. – N.I.


For fans of: Obongjayar & VntageParadise

Initially starting as a duo that rapped over silvery trap beats, childhood friends TK and Nesse started Internet Girl as an outlet for their artistic expressions. While adding the finishing touches to their debut project, the duo met lead guitarist/producer, Griggs, through Instagram and the three soon became an indie-pop trio with a fast-growing following from a vast international audience. 

Internet Girl is propelled by a boyish aesthetic and an upbeat funk that stylizes and soundtracks the lives of curious and edgy teenagers. Through projects such as ‘The World I love’ and ‘Parasocial Interaction, characterised by Nesse’s vocals and enveloped by production from Griggs and TK, Internet Girl has amassed an international audience swooned by their brazen funk and mesmerised by their sonic fusion, which is reminiscent of 80’s punk bands and Radiohead music. 

Although the band does not get as much love locally as they do internationally; at the heart of their far-reaching music is an authenticity that is largely inspired by internet culture and a thirst to reimagine and create a distinct global sound through a local lens. – J.F 


For fans of: Odunsi(The Engine) & Cruel Santino

Sinachi oozes confidence in how he wants to be perceived and even more so in how he wants his music to be defined. Raised in Gwagwalada, Abuja, and heavily inspired by early alte forerunners, Sinachi’s music is both a consolidation of all his progenitors and an unending desire to be decidedly different, creating music that feels novel yet equally familiar. 

Since kicking off his music career in early 2021, Sinachi has roared up the industry at full throttle, handing off two EPs and two albums that earmark the quintessence of his varied artistry while demonstrating his relentless work ethic and countless artistic mutations.

Sinachi earned his cornerstone moment with the 2022 release of “Chigal,” but he has remained undeterred in rising to the apex of the alternative scene, refining his music to its most distinct form yet. He still pays homage to his early inspirations, but now he is taking the torch from their hands to light his path. – J.F

[Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE]

Words by Wale Oloworekende, Nwanneamaka Igwe & Jim Falola