KIMANI MOORE ENT.
Everything You Heard is True
Odunsi The Engine
Odunsi (The Engine) is a shape-shifter; he can be anything he wants to be. On his 2016 EP Time Of Our Lives, he is the quintessential jejune loverboy as he mostly fuses glossy r’n’b with some Afrobeats influences. On the stunning follow-up, rare. 一 his debut album 一 he’s a modern-day pop star as he blends funk, Afrobeats, disco, and synth-pop into a melting pot of richly riveting music. On his latest release, however, he’s an experimentalist.
On Everything You Heard is True, Odunsi raps and sings mostly risqué, braggadocious lyrics over dark but bubbly production. The record effortlessly weaves through hip-hop, alt-pop, funk, and alt-r&b, containing boisterous energy and moments of profound chill. - BA
DEF JAM / UNIVERSAL SA
Zulu Man With Some Power
When Nasty C dropped his debut album Bad Hair as a teenager in 2016, he was heralded in many circles as the future of African hip-hop. And now, with his third album Zulu Man With Some Power, released in the thick of the lockdown, Nasty C appears to be fast fulfilling that prophecy.
Months before its release, the South African rapper was announced to have signed to the legendary Def Jam label, a move expected to take him a few steps further in his world domination scheme. Consequently, with appearances from American superstars Ari Lennox and T.I and frequent collaborators Tellaman and Rowlene, Zulu Man With Some Power positions Nasty C as an imminent crossover success story. - VA
BLACKK ARM ENT
Despite dropping in the last quarter of 2020, Kelyvn Boy's Black Star remains one of the most remarkable projects released this year. Coming barely a year after his acclaimed introductory EP T.I.M.E, Black Star plays as a very confident debut, one which Kelvyn Boy delivers with the grace of a new guard assured of his greatness and is just waiting on the world to catch up.
Save for a few numbers; the LP is littered with nuanced love tales packed neatly within melodies bright enough to dazzle the uninitiated upon first listen. With refreshing originality, Kelyn Boy moves across the 15-track tape with such ease between genres that he doesn’t lose momentum. - VA
When Yabasi was released in November, many found it surprisingly good — mainly because it was curated by Basketmouth whom we have all known mostly as a comedian or an actor, not someone with sonically deep musical ties. A month on, and the album is still as good with each new listen. While this can be explained away by the quality of the featured acts (from Oxlade to Phyno), there is also something to be said about Basketmouth putting this remarkable work together. On Yabasi, contemporary highlife meets soul and sits closely with folk amongst a few other genres. This album’s acts are given the liberty to play around the album’s central themes while infusing their sentiments. Without a doubt, this record is inching close to gaining a timeless, ever flavourful status in the canon of Nigerian music. - NCJ
118 / WARNER MUSIC FRANCE
You might have discovered her from the titillating pop single “Djadja” or the TikTok famous “Pookie”. Aya Nakamura’s sound is easily addictive and carries all of the qualities that make a compelling musical offering in our world today. Her latest album Aya is a fierce record filled with Afrobeats sounds with a huge global reach. It is a body of work that explores, with Nakamura’s compelling voice and unassuming lyrics, universally relevant themes around love, freedom, and life. With Aya, the French-Malian singer uses Afropop, zouk, and R&B to explore feelings that are as relatable as they are specifically hers. - NCJ