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Press Play: New Music From Buju, Ogranya, A-Q & 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 best new songs on the continent. Dig in and enjoy.

“Outside” - Buju

Continuing what has been his hottest streak yet (and possibly the hottest for an independent Afrobeat artist in recent history), Buju delivers yet another offering to keep audiences stoked. “Outside” is a self-reflective, slowed down, instrument-led ballad that finds Buju taking an early victory lap for his recent achievements and personal situation, owning up to his errors while tooting his own horn. An ode to the pandemic times we live in, Buju remains social-distance compliant, preferring to stay inside and create art rather than be embroiled in drama.

“Holy Ghost Fire” - KDDO & The Cavemen

Taking their Urban Highlife sound and their commercial viability to new heights in one fell swoop, The Cavemen’s appearance on KDDO’s “Holy Ghost Fire” off his most recent project, Too Lit Too Late, marks a moment in their engaging career. Their quirky vocals and the alternative elements of KDDO’s production create the perfect dovetail, as Kingsley glides over the beat effortlessly. Expanding their reach with features such as this seems to be a key element of the band’s commercial approach, making their most recent foray that much more significant as Kiddomant attempts to find his own feet as a full-fledged artist.

“Africa, One of a Kind” - Angelique Kidjo, Mr. Eazi & Salif Keita

Taking a page out of her Pan-African playbook, Angelique Kidjo returns with the upbeat “Africa, One of a Kind” alongside Mr. Eazi and the legendary Salif Keita. Waxing in Yoruba and English, she provides backing and leading vocals all over the record, displaying her vocal prowess for its length and breadth. The song is the lead single to her aptly titled upcoming album, Mother Nature, and features chops from Salif Keita’s “Africa” in the intro. Buoyed by traditional African strings and percussion, this feels like a FIFA 22 song waiting to happen.

“In My Dreams Last Night” - Ogranya

The budding R&B crooner delivers a powerful toned-down performance on his most recent effort, “In My Dreams Last Night”. Backed by sparse drums and synths, his voice is put under scrutiny by the production and holds up exceptionally well. Younger artists do not widely pursue bedroom R&B, but when they do, Caribbean and pop influences are apparent, creating a fusion that is both interesting and progressive – something Ogranya manages to achieve on this number.

“Let Me Go” - Zu. & Stakev

The South-African songstress, Zu., returns to active duty with a new single, “Let Me Go”. Clearly attempting something other than her preferred Afrosoul offerings, her new album, Ndim Netshomi Zam, is loaded with spacey Amapiano songs, a fun new approach for the Soul singer. Providing a suitable backdrop for her breathy vocals to land, the Stakev-produced, “Let Me Go” is a great example of what Amapiano could be if properly retooled.

“Breathe” - A-Q & Chike

Elder statesman A-Q touches base with R&B singer Chike for a sober cut from his latest album, Golden. The single titled “Breathe”, is high quality if predictable; solid bars will keep your attention once Chike’s bulletproof hook catches it, and while the beat does not do the record any favours, it provides adequate room for both artists to find their feet. A-Q raps about the responsibilities and expectations he is burdened with, as well as the philosophical debates he is stuck in with himself, while Chike points out how much he needs to breathe.

“Who Them Be” - Zee Zee & Vector

This heavy-hitting drill single packs a punch courtesy of the duo credited with its creation, Vector and Zee Zee and in what is possibly my first encounter with Vector on a drill beat, I have to wonder why he does not dabble more often. Led by Zee Zee’s hot-blooded hook, the first verse goes to Vector, who slows down proceedings by a breath before handing the baton back, following with a furious verse by Zee Zee to close out the high octane affair.

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