Press Play: New Music From Ayra Starr, Sarkodie, Falz & More
Your weekly dose of the best new songs on the continent!
We're still living in a pandemic and its endless resulting effects, but at least we've had an ample serving of tunes to keep us company. Each week, the B.Side staff will round up a guide to the hottest songs on the continent. Dig in and enjoy.
“Pray” - Victony
Three months ago, Victony was involved in a ghastly accident that left him fighting for his life. He was rendered hors de combat for weeks, relegating him to the four walls of the ICU and later a wheelchair. Thankfully, he’s back with his first release after the unfortunate incident, a two-track pack with “Pray” instantly standing out. As expected, he addresses the accident and his naysayers, conjuring warm melodies over Hoodini and Blaizebeat’s plucked strings and syncopated beat. “I don dey wait for all of dem / Dey don dey wait for me too / Dey don dey pray make I fall again / But my mama dey pray for me too,” he sings repeatedly, claiming his mother’s prayers would always keep him going regardless of whatever happens.
“Bloody Samaritan” - Ayra Starr
The lead single from Ayra Starr’s debut album 19 & Dangerous arrives a week before its official release and it whets the appetite perfectly for what’s to come. Over London’s kwaito-influenced basslines, she exudes utmost confidence singing: “Cause you can never kill my vibe / Got here with no sacrifices / Everything once taken, still had to make it”. With every drop, Ayra Starr’s versatility is more apparent, and “Bloody Samaritan” is no different. On her self-titled EP, she delivered over R&B/soul instrumentation and Afropop percussions. On “Bloody Samaritan”, she smoothly glides over deep house production, once again revealing the depth of her ability and raising expectations for her debut album.
“A. Iverson” - Zamir & dndsection
For the second single of his forthcoming album, Zamir has teamed up with Atlanta-based Nigerian rapper dnd Section to flex their lyrical chops over a bouncy trap beat. Zamir employs a smooth, buttery flow, delivering clever and witty one-liners like “Run the whole game, we got blisters,” before passing the baton to dndsection who switches up the flow, drops a few gems of his own and ultimately delivers a home run.
"Non-living thing" - ft Oxlade
Sarkodie’s highly anticipated sixth studio album arrived early today after months of teasing. The love-inspired “Non Living thing” immediately stands out, Sarkodie delivering heartfelt and reminiscent bars about a fractured romantic relationship over Dj Coublon’s mid-tempo production. He also secures the services of Nigeria’s premier hook master, Oxlade, who delivers a catchy hook and verse, laying earworm melodies over one another to create a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
“Party Starter” - Gabzy
Gabzy over the last few years has slowly built a reputation as one of the finest artists delivering dulcet Afrobeat numbers. He has a way with words, smoothly singing witty, love-inspired lyrics over slow percussions. His debut EP, Summers with producer Melvitto is tightly packed with tracks with the aforementioned M.O. His latest offering, “Party Starter” builds on this same formula. “She a party starter / Drink Hennessy like water / Waist move slow then faster / She a party starter / when she wine party scatter”, he sings slowly, eliciting a slow whine or dance (whichever you can pull off) from his listeners.
“Peace of Mind” - Skepta ft Teezee & Kid Cudi
Following his joint tape with Young Adz and Tottenham’s finest Chip last year, Skepta is back with another project, All In, his third project in three years. From the release of the tracklist earlier in the week, the Teeze and Kid Cudi- assisted “Peace Of Mind” caught the eye and thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. The record opens with a sonorous jazz sample before the beat kicks. Skeppy wastes no time delivering a melodic rap sung verse before tapping Teezee in, who keeps the momentum going, delivering memorable lines: “Baby girl talk to me proper / Don’t you know I’m somebody’s father.” Kid Cudi comes in with his usual baritone singing and heavenly hums before Skepta tags himself in again, closing the song with a killer verse.
“Enta” - Zahzah & Ceeza Milli
Rising Nigerian Afropop musician Zahzah today dropped his eponymous debut EP. The 5-tracker features solid and enjoyable records like “Miss You” and “Ground Zero”, the highlight, however, comes at the end with the Runcheck-produced “Enta” stealing the show.
Over rhythmic percussions and bright synths, ZahZah and Ceeza Milli deliver melodious and hedonistic verses about their various amorous desires and larger-than-life lifestyles.
“Mercy” - Falz
Falz is never too far away from the thick of things. If he’s not delivering a brilliant award-winning socio-political album, he’s dropping a viral Tiktok anthem soundtracking the entire pandemic year. After the Amapiano-inspired “Squander” release earlier in the year, he’s back with “Mercy”, an Afropop banger produced by longtime collaborator Sess. In usual fashion, he sings and raps hilarious lines like “I need girls that are scantily dressed” over bright, persistent horns and a beat that’ll surely have you bopping your head.