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Press Play: New Music From Naira Marley, Ayra Starr, Buju & More

Your weekly dose of the best new songs around 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.

“Need Me” - Gyakie

Fast-rising Ghanian singer-songwriter Gyakie fully announced herself last year with her breakthrough single “Forever”. The love-inspired record, which became ubiquitous just months after its release, catapulted the 22-year-old to fame, ultimately earning her an Omah Lay feature for the song’s remix. The Kumasi native clearly has no intentions of pumping the breaks as she’s back with a brand new sensual single. The confessional “Need Me” finds her in a similar place like she was on “Forever”. Here, she declares her deepest affections over slow drums, constant background “ohhhhsss” and plush synths. “And when I’m with you oh no no / I misbehave, I kolo / Oh this is crazy,” she calmly sings, declaring she’s head over heels.

“Lie” - Kizz Daniel

While the themes of Kizz Daniel’s music might have caused divisive opinions about him in recent years, one thing that’s always been incontestable is his artistry. He has a unique way of riding percussive rhythms and basslines, laying catchy lingos, adlibs, hooks and verses almost effortlessly. On his latest drop, he brings the best things that characterize his music as he openly demands his love interest’s affection while also revealing his desires. “I feel like I need you in my life / Nobody can tell me otherwise / Please baby will you be mine?” he asks breathily over Philkeyz’s syncopated drums which constantly elicits a nod, a full-blown dance session or anything in between.

“Alubarika” - Zlatan ft Buju

Buju has undoubtedly had the year in a strong chokehold, releasing a banger or featuring on one almost every other week, steadily staking his claim as the artist of the year. However, before his insane feature run, providing breathtaking hooks and verses or receiving co-signs from some of the biggest names in the country, his breakthrough came back in 2019, courtesy of Zlatan. After fans constantly tagged the energetic street hop rapper on a snippet posted by Buju on Twitter, he eventually heeded their request, jumping on what would eventually become “Spiritual”, Buju’s quantum leap. Two years after “Spiritual”, they’ve reunited on the Steph-produced “Alubarika”. In usual fashion, Buju delivers a smooth hook while Zlatan uncharacteristically slows down his pace, delivering melodic verses that gloss over several topics.

“Through The Never” - Tomi Owó

While Tomi Owό has had a quiet first half of the year, she’s picked up speed exponentially over the last few weeks. After appearing on Clone Wars V: The Algorhythm just weeks ago, delivering a sonorous and well-thought-out hook, she’s back again – this time bigger and better. She appears on The Metallica’s Blacklist – a project celebrating the enduring influence of the American metal band – rendering a beautiful cover of “Through The Never” from their 1991 classic self-titled album. Over Oma Mahmud’s production, she sings softly, giving the heavy metal song a slight pop reimagination.

“Mosafejo” - Dunnie

Only a handful of artists in the country possesses Dunnie’s extensive skillset. Apart from being a talented singer and songwriter, she’s also a multi-instrumentalist and producer who boasts production credits for acts like Busiswa, Wande Coal, Focalistic and Yemi Alade. Following the release of her Oxlade-featured sleeper hit “Overdose (Remix)”, she’s back with a brand new single, the amapiano-inspired “Mosafejo”. Over cascading drums and a floating piano line, she eagerly and repeatedly belts “I’ve found love” making “Mosafejo” a simple feel-good record that would make even the stiffest of bodies move.

“Beggie Beggie” - Ayra Starr ft Ckay

For the last couple of weeks, Ayra Starr has been teasing her highly anticipated debut album. 19 & Dangerous finally arrived earlier today and while there are a handful of enjoyable records, “Beggie Beggie” is an instant standout. Securing the services of Afrobeats’ resident boyfriend, they both sing from varying perspectives over Loudaa’s gentle guitar strums and soft drums. While Ayra is lovelorn singing about a fiery love that has suddenly become unrequited – “See the way I dey beg you she Bambi Allah mo je ni” – Ckay on the other hand assumes the classic role of a fuckboy: “Say I led you led you on, you sef dey follow me / We were having fun, suddenly the love came in” which makes for a relatable back and forth.

"Drug Test" - Naira Marley

Mo shey she drug test ni, doctor so pe mo ti catch feelings” (I just did a drug test and the doctor told me I’ve caught feeling) are the opening lines of Naira Marley’s latest single. He’s as comical and carefree as ever. Over Rexxie’s famous percussions, he delivers scatterbrained lyrics, moving from delivering positive lines about self-belief straight to cockily boasting about his sexual prowess. His appeal, however, has never been in his lyricism; it’s the way he slips in and out of catchy flows and melodies, making this track and most of his others near irresistible. Never change Naira Marley.

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