The summer may be winding down, but the Afrobeats release schedule has barely let up — and August has proven to be another big month, with major albums from superstars like Burna Boy and Olamide, plus EPs from Uncle Waffles and Kelvyn Boy, among others.
And that hectic schedule of great new music is unlikely to end soon, with forthcoming albums from the likes of Teni and Muzi — both of whom also have new tracks out this month — on the way, among many others. Before the Headie Awards this weekend — airing Sept. 3, with Burna Boy, Asake and Rema leading the nominations — there’s plenty of new music to check out.
We’ve highlighted 10 of our favorite new Afrobeats (and related) songs that have come out roughly within the last month. Check out our latest Fresh Picks, and find your new end-of-summer soundtrack with our Spotify playlist below.
Uncle Waffles feat. Tony Duardo, Manana & Lusanda, “Echoes”
The “princess of amapiano” returns with her second EP Solace, a tranquil, ethereal experience compared to her “very upbeat and explosive” debut EP Asylum, she described in a press release. Its lead single and first track, “Echoes,” envelops listeners in an array of mesmerizing harmonies from eSwatini-born singer Manana and South African singer Lusanda about wishing to patch up an old relationship (“Echoes/ ‘Cause this heart is hollow/ Empty from the hole you left,” Manana croons), and scintillating production from Waffles and frequent collaborator Tony Duardo.
South African artist and producer Muzi plans on traveling down memory lane (in his family’s Toyota Cressida) for his upcoming album uMuzi, due Oct. 13 via Fool’s Gold Records. But for his first stop, the sun-soaked lead single “eMtunzini,” Muzi retells his parents’ love story, and his own origin story, while weaving in between his native Zulu and English. The impassioned, exhilarating house production and deep vocals repeating “Feel like we’re a vibe/ Feel like we should spend more time” make “eMtunzini” a prime addition to anyone’s roadtrip playlist.
Lord Afrixana feat. Firefly, “Pillow”
After writing for Beyoncé, Davido and more, rising Ghanaian singer-songwriter Lord Afrixana is making a name for himself on his Protect the Culture/Warner Records debut Ghana Must Go. On highlight track “Pillow,” he comforts his love interest by promising to be the kind of man her ex never was while Firefly challenges whether he’s ready to provide the kind of loving she requires in her arousing retort.
Black Sherif, “YAYA”
From the Ghanaian rapper’s introspective two-pack Take Care of Yourself Blacko, the single “YAYA” tells the story of strife, staying true to oneself despite the fame and success and searching for peace through the lens of Black Sherif’s alter ego, “a rebel who gave fate a chance and is in search of healing,” according to a press release.
Burna Boy, “City Boys”
Move over City Girls, because Burna has something for the “City Boys” on his latest album I Told Them…. He starts the Jeremih-sampling track with audio from British rapper J Hus’ Instagram story, where he dismantles his “ugly” perception of himself and rather praises himself as “sexy.” The monologue sets the tone for the braggadocious anthem, where Burna blends his signature Afro-fusion with U.S. hip-hop (that’s amplified throughout the album as well as in his “City Boys” TikTok challenge). He even acknowledges fans’ misinterpretation (“I need a boat and shy hoes”) of his chant-worthy chorus from last summer’s smash “Last Last” (“I need Igbo and shyo”), proving that the Nigerian hitmaker’s fingers remain on the pulse of what’s hot in the culture.
Burna Boy feat. Seyi Vibez, “Giza”
On an album in which he reaches across the Atlantic more than ever, it’s the song where he links up with Nigerian street king Seyi Vibez that stands out the most. There’s something about the distinct style that Seyi has been delivering over the past 18 months that is both raw and engaging, and Burna taps into his soundscape to deliver one of the best tracks on I Told Them… It may not have the U.S.-leaning pop appeal of other records on the project, but it’s arguably the most captivating.
If Unruly, as he’s threatened, is Olamide’s last album, it’s both a triumphant finale and a shame that he won’t continue to deliver tracks like the single “Problem” — one of the best distillations of his strengths that he’s put out across his illustrious career. Produced by Magicsticks, the beat itself is infectious, and Olamide’s delivery, particularly on the hook, is carefree and effortless. It’s easily the best track off the album.
Olamide, “Life Goes On”
Unruly can be broken down into three parts — two five-song solo sections from the YBNL boss that bookend a slew of top-shelf collaborations. And the back end of the album has a number of tracks that stand out and tie the whole project together — “Supplier” and “Street Jam” could easily be included here, too — but “Life Goes On” is another of the best tracks of his career, combining his melodic flows and rapped verses, and serving as a farewell of sorts if this is, indeed, his final project. Let’s hope that’s not actually the case.
Kelvyn Boy feat. Babyboy AV, “Roma”
Ghanaian singer Kelvyn Boy has a history of slipping effortlessly through various genres, and “Roma” sees him dipping into highlife styles for a breezy track that could be the perfect send off to the summertime. The major key instrumentation gives it an irresistible quality, and it’s an easy highlight off his great new EP For the Kulture.
Sometimes it feels like Teni can do everything; all three singles she’s released this year are wildly different from each other, and each are great in their own way. The latest, “Lanke,” is the most carefree and outwardly joyous, as expressed in its hook and its gleeful new music video, out today. “Feel good, regardless of what life throws at you,” she said about the track. “Omo Lanke is someone that owns a wheelbarrow. You never see a person that owns a wheel barrow drive straight. Good or bad, we stay pushing, we don’t stop, we keep going. We appreciate the good, we learn from the bad.”
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