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5 albums to discover this week

This week, Spice sets herself free, BNXN comes clean, Serge Ibaka goes from basketball to rap, Yanna Momina introduces us to the Afar musical tradition and Jinku concludes his autobiographical trilogy.

Emancipated

Spice

The Queen of Dancehall returns with her latest album Emancipated. A well-chosen title as the Jamaican artist decided to make this a full solo project with no collaboration, self producing most of the songs. “I’ve been a one woman army for 20 years. I’ve done everything for myself”, she told dancehallmag.com. Throughout the nine tracks, Spice show off her versatility, always with her usual humour, going from the dancefloor-ready banger such as “POP OFF” and “CLAP CLAP” to more dramatic tracks like “SAME MOUTH”. “I have energetic songs, I have something that is very calm, and mellow, something that is club banging, something that’s gonna make you get up and dance. It has all to fit your mood”

Listen here.

Bad Since 97′

BNXN fka Buju

Buju, aka BNXN, has been Bad Since 97’ as revealed on his latest album. “I never cared ’bout the devil, since ’17, I’ve been smoking hot like a kettle”, Nigerian Afro-fusion singer-songwriter unapologetically sings in the opening lines of the title song. Don’t take take these flippant bars lightly, “‘Cause [his] music is one thing that [he takes] personal”.  For this seven-track project, Buju has secured the participation of some of Nigeria’s biggest names such as Wizkid, Wande Coal and Olamide, respectively featured on “Many Ways”, “Kenkele” and “Modupe”.

Listen here.

Art

Serge Ibaka

Art is the first album of Congolese-Spanish NBA star Serge Ibaka. This project is a showcase of artists in the African diaspora. “Many people succeed like me but forget where they come from. Art is a message, for everyone, for children, to encourage others to give back”, Ibaka explains. It features many prominent artists from Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas along with French artist Ninho with whom he recorded “Champion”. Result of the partnership between a rap-obsessed baller and a basketball-obsessed rapper, the single was the focus of a music video shot in Kinshasa. Their words read like a slogan: “To live and die like a champion – the others didn’t even believe it, like an eagle I flew above the clouds to feed the familia.

Listen here.

Afar Ways

Yanna Momina

Back in 2018, Ian Brennan set on a journey to Djibouti to meet with the Afar singer Yanna Momina in a stilt-hut on the horn of Africa. Together, they recorded live Afar Ways, an eight-track album which paid tribute to Momina’s musical tradition. In it, her singing shines atop minimalistic musical backings made-up of an acoustic guitar, handclaps and a calabash. “Yanna has one of the most unique voices I’ve ever heard. She flirts with the edge of chaos without losing control of her idiosyncratic phrasing”, stated Brennan. Momina is also one of the rare Afar women who write their own songs.

Listen here.

Oasis Park III

Jinku

NuNairobi pioneer Jinku concludes his EP-trilogy with Oasis Park III. Oasis Park I released in June, was a testament to friendship and late Nairobi nights. Oasis Park II released in July, evolves into a complex love story. The trilogy ends with a tale of migration in this final opus where Jinku recounts his last weeks in Kenya and his move to Sweden. “It is a story about embracing change and a love letter to his hometown and his new adopted home.” This autobiographical project features South African artist Khan Khalii in the track “Moonlight”, co-produced with his brother, See Through Solomon. Gengetone singer Maandy can be heard on “Fade” alongside Swedish synthpop artist, Pikes. This mix of genres is symbolic of the story told.

Listen here.

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