Press Play: New Music from Omah Lay, Cruel Santino, Pheelz and more.
Your weekly dose of the best new sounds around the continent!
“Finesse” - Pheelz & Buju
Since its inception in late 2016, TikTok has massively changed the game. The video-focused social networking platform has taken virality to the next level, encouraging more and more acts to create short dance-ready tracks or build a song around a fascinating soundbite or an incredibly catchy hook. The latter is what producer extraordinaire Pheelz has done, earning him his first major hit since his recording career took off. “Finesse”, prior to its official release already had the country in a strong chokehold. Everyone from Wizkid to your next-door neighbour was either singing it or making all kinds of hilarious videos to it. While the full song is a slight letdown, it might not really matter. The hook, which has practically taken a life of its own, is inescapable at the moment. It’s burrowed deep into the heads of many, like several other viral hits that have come and gone and all that matters right now is “If i broke na my business / Ama shayo e go bright o / Folake for the night o”.
“FINAL CHAMPION” - Cruel Santino
Subaru Boys: FINAL HEAVEN, Santi’s sophomore album was one of the most anticipated projects in the country, or more specifically, amongst people remotely connected or interested in the famous alte scene. The follow-up to 2019’s Mandy and The Jungle, Subaru Boys finally arrived on the 4th of March after a couple of pushbacks and mounting pressure from fans. The album is a collage of dystopian, sheeny sounds, colourful melodies and a blend of multiple genres. One of the instant standouts is “FINAL CHAMPION”, a boisterous cut designed for riotous mosh-pits. It builds up slowly and nicely with crowd noise, rhythmic drums and floating synths before its crescendo’s almost midway into the record when Santino aggressively yells “I had to run / I had to run”.
“Attention” - Omah Lay ft Justin Bieber
Gearing up for the release of his long-awaited debut studio album Boy Alone, Omah Lay has joined forces with Candian Pop polymath Justin Beiber to release “ Attention”, a slow-burning number that tries to sit somewhere between Afrobeats and a regular American pop record. To be honest, “Attention” might not necessarily be Omah Lay’s finest workー both artists sound a little too lethargic and the production is also pretty lukewarm ー and initial reactions from fans suggest that they might not be too pleased with the sonic direction he seems to be taking, but then again, while you might not agree with the method he’s choosing to employ, you cannot necessarily knock him off for trying to capture a much wider audience.
“No Wahala Remix” - 1da Banton ft Kizz Daniel & Tiwa Savage
Port Harcourt-native 1da Banton was one of the more low-key breakout stars of last year. His breezy single “No Wahala” which first gained prominence on TikTok slowly grew to be a chart-topping banger. In a bid to make it even more ubiquitous, the Blaise Beatz-produced record has gotten a remix with two hit-making stalwarts: Tiwa Savage and Kizz Daniel. Both artists cut equally impressive verses, not changing the tempo or vibe of the entire song, instead nicely complementing 1da Banton and upgrading the record in the process.
“Chocolate” - Magixx
Mavin's new boy Magixx has released a surprise new single, his first after his eponymous debut last year. Here, the dreadhead singer loses some of that jejune, loverboy guise he exuded on his debut, adopting a bad boy persona here who’s “Niggas are rolling loud” and threatens you not to “Fuck with his pay”. He floats over Rage’s bouncy kwaito-inspired drums, delivering soft melodies and catchy lines like “Make I light up, Michael Faraday”.
“Baddest Boy Remix” - Skiibii ft Tory Lanez
Skiibii’s latest hit single has gotten another remix, this time with Canadian-rapper and singer Tory Lanez which he tags “US Remix”. The 29-year-old opens up the song with quickfire bars and a dancehall-inspired flow, going in on Runcheck’s mid-tempo beat. Skibii also adds a new short verse, giving the record a slight facelift. While Tory does his best, also delivering some backup vocals across the record, he genuinely doesn’t seem like a good fit for this song. But again, like Omah Lay, Skiibii cannot be faulted for trying to run those numbers up.