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5 albums to discover this week

This week, Burna Boy drops his long awaited Love, Damini, DÉERR packs a Senegalese punch, James BKS honors his heritage, A-Q keeps Nigerian hip-hop in full form and Abyusif's metalhead past is Egyptian rap future. 

Love, Damini

Burna Boy

Burna Boy unveils a highly anticipated album, a project which he called on twitter a “personal body of work” about “the ups and downs, the growth, the L’s and W’s” released a few days after his 31st birthday, in which he managed to secure the contributions of many big heads and up-and-comers including Ed Sheeran, J Balvin, J Hus, Victony, Popcaan, Blxst, Kehlani and Khalid along with a featuring of South African choir Ladysmith Mambazo in the opening and closing tracks. In Love, Damini, the Nigerian singer doesn’t stray too far from his usual afrobeats, keeping in with the spirit of his previousTwice as Tall. To promote this latest release, a music video for “For my Hands” featuring the British singer Ed Sheeran has just dropped. A sentimental piece in which both artists put on their best performance for a couple stuck in a lift together. A new peak for elevator music.

Listen here.

Punkal

DÉERR

DÉERR, which in Wolof means “skin”, is a duo born from the reunion between Baby Sy, a Senegalese DJ, singer and member of the Barcelonian collective Jokkoo, and German producer AIIOM, already accustomed to the underground African scene and who worked with the likes of MC Yallah and Menzi. For their debut album Punkal, they decided to fuse together “contemporary sounds with traditional and unusual structures to accompany the quirky Tassu vocal”. Tassu is part of Senegalese musical tradition often compared to rap. Their music also acts as a vehicle for their message, a reflection on “different aspects of the lives of the young Senegalese generation that can also be reflected in all of us – corruption, hedonism, closeness to nature and family and much more”. Their single “Senegal Bondeléne” exemplifies this perfectly. It draws on gqom, singeli and other experimental African musical trends to tackle issues related to the reality of street-life and to encourage Senegalese youth to take action and to express themselves freely. Check out the unsettling music video for the full experience.

Listen here.

Wolves of Africa

James BKS

The French-Cameroonian artist, and son of the late Manu Dibango, James BKS (short for Best Kept Secret) has finally released his debut album, which stopped being a secret awhile ago. It was announced last year with the release of “Kusema”, the album’s fifth track, which means “to express” in Swahili, an anthem for freedom with traditional Bikutsi rhythms about “willpower and taking control”.  In this album, we also rediscover “Kwele”, the 2nd track featuring Allan Kingdom and sampling “Senga Abele” which was recorded by his late father in 1990. The song, described on the artist’s website as, “the first stone of the musical edifice that is Wolves of Africa”, is about the search for self and reconnecting with one’s legacy. Through a unique blend of hip-hop, pop and Afro-influenced polyrhythm, James BKS draws a parallel with his own story, being raised in France, moving in the US and later finding about his African heritage. If it took a long-time to be refined, the term “edifice” seems to be an apt descriptor.

Listen here.

Behold the Lamb

A-Q

Keeping in with the wolf team, Nigerian hip-hop rapper A-Q releases Behold the Lamb, heavily featuring his old time collaborator M.I. Abaga, Blaqbonez, Losse kaynon, all member of the LAMB collective, along with Oxlade, PsychoYP, chike, Khaligraph Jones and Kojo Cue. This latest collaborative project showcases the suaveness and dynamism of the Nigerian hip-hop scene that is still very much alive despite the grand shadow casts by afrobeats success stories.

Listen here.

Ras Shitan

Abyusif

Abyusif, leader of the Egyptian trap scene, unveils a 9-track album entitled Ras Shitan, following 7abel Bors released a year ago. In it, the Egyptian rapper shines when he is given ample room to display his impressive rapping skills over minimalistic tracks such as in “Akhouya”. Yet, the uneasy feel conveyed in the instrumental parts of titles like “Mamotesh Lessa Edrab Kaman” perfectly compliments Abyusif’s harsh style, reminiscent of his metalhead past.

Listen here.

We also listened to:

  • Sinini by Don Sonini & So Vital
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