Fireboy DML

‘’I be king / I’m the best my generation has ever seen” are the opening words of ‘Champion’, the grand entrance to Fireboy’s sophomore offering, Apollo. This immense confidence and self-belief coupled with his tip-top penmanship, infectious rhythms, and silvery voice is what birthed his electrifying debut album, Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps,just over a year ago. However, the Abeokuta-native brings all these and more to his stunning follow-up as he somewhat experiments with his sound, smoothly weaving through styles and genres while also expanding the scope of his music. - BA




The Angel You Don't Know


Amaarae loves the girls. “My album is nonstop affirmations and incantations 4 bad bitches,” she gleefully tweeted, days before the project’s release. And she told no lies. Her debut album, The Angel You Don’t Know, is a 40-minute sonic bible for the female hedonist, highlighted by her unique spin on party girl anthems. On TAYDK, Amaarae plays a devilish (read as angelic) seducer, weaving a lust-filled world shrouded in a hazy air of mystery, and brimming with hallucinogenic highs, shit-faced inebriation, and naked lust. “I really like to party,” she casually sings on “SAD GURLZ LUV MONEY”, further confirming that she’s living in her own world where the rules are entirely by her design: wherever the party goes, so does she. Sonically, she pushes her boundaries, experimenting with Southern rap styles, rhythmic Afropop drums, punk rock, and slinky, sultry R&B — a testament to the genre-blending genius status she’s acquired since her 2017 debut. As a whole TAYDK is a multi-layered body of work showing the inner workings of an artist with a deep understanding of her psyche. Hedonistic pleasures are what’s on the menu for now, and that’s okay. She’s in complete control; it’s her world and her rules, but you’re welcome to watch. - MA






Since breaking out with a scene-stealing showing on Blaqbonez’s “Mamiwota,” Oxlade has been on a steady rise, hailed as one of the pillars of Nigerian pop’s next generation of would-be music superstars. His honeyed voice and infinite range have added credence to that school of thought, even in the lack of stand-alone material. On Oxygene, that paucity is corrected with six eclectic songs that give a glimpse into Ox’s potential, purportedly inspired by a real-life romance gone sour. Without succumbing to the strictures of a conceptual album, the singer creates a flush record about the highs and lows of love. “AWAY” captures the wanderlust that love can inspire, “WEAKNESS” presents the echo chamber that love can become before the tape goes off-script for the Moelogo-assisted “TABLES TURN.” Across Oxygene’s expanse , Oxlade examines the dynamics of his relationships intently without losing himself to cynicism or hopelessness. - WO




Boo of the Booless


Chike’s debut album, Boo of The Booless, is daring and unafraid as he attempts to explore the different facets and complexities of love. The 27-year old singer-songwriter's music isn’t filled with the typical hedonism that plagues most contemporary Nigerian love songs, he chooses to explore love through different lenses and spectrums. On “Out Of Love”, a crestfallen record, he softly sings, “Did you even notice that I don’t call you anymore / Did you even notice that I don’t pick up your calls’” over soothing percussion as he explores a loveless love affair. On ‘Faithful’, Chike is caught between a rock and a hard place. He belts out, “I’m faithful, I can’t be the one for you / I have someone who loves me / Even though I think that I that I that I love you” with the confusion of a man that can’t decide what to pick on a food menu. While to a casual listener, BOTB might seem austere, generic. If you listen closely, you can hear the sincerity in Chike’s every word, as he bares his heart out in the most relatable fashion. - BA





Major League DJs

There’s never been a better year for Amapiano than 2020. The South African-born genre amassed immeasurable popularity this year, rapidly spreading across the continent like wildfire. Among the plethora of projects released in respect of the Kwaito-inspired genre, Pianochella!, the collaboration album between DJ duo Major League Djz and Abidoza, certainly stands out. The trio teamed up to deliver a sprawling 31-tracker, with each song showcasing distinct amapiano waxings. The synth-heavy, upbeat “Le Plane E’landile” is ample for sweaty, 2 am club dancefloors, while the melodic “Dinaledi” is the perfect background sound to a candlelit 2-hour bath, wine glass in hand. Infusing jazz and deep house inflections, the trio creates a project that spans the breadth of the Amapiano soundscape. - MA