Press Play: New Music From Asake, Adekunle Gold, Mannywellz and More
The best new sounds from around the continent.
●28th May 2023
“Amapiano” – Asake & Olamide
Asake season is almost upon us again. The reclusive popstar, a couple days ago, dropped a surprise single with label boss Olamide, along with his sophomore album, Work of Art, appearing on DSPs with a release scheduled for sometime in June. The song’s title, which is pretty much on the nose, gives it away instantly; it’s cooked up with the same recipe that brought the YBNL signee fame: Magicsticks is still here on production, the log drums are prevalent as ever while Asake’s snappy flows aren’t less catchy than they’ve ever been. It’s nothing novel at this point, but it’s still captivating enough to get almost any party started.
“Do You Mind?” – Adekunle Gold
Adekunle Gold seems to have found a new lease of life. After joining Def Jam Recordings earlier in the year, the 36-year-old put out “Party No Dey Stop”, undoubtedly one of the records of the year so far, putting him in good standing in the fast-paced Afropop sphere once again. His follow up, Tio Tequila, a three pack single — which features the already released “PNDS” and two new singles — shows that Gold means serious business. The opening track “Do You Mind?” is as lustrous as they come, the singer serenading a love interest over Kel P’s slow drums and plucky strings. With an album rumoured to be just around the corner, Adekunle Gold is looking to stamp his presence once again, reminding everyone just how refreshing his music can be.
“Everything” – Mannywellz
Mannywellz’s musical career up until this point has been powered by seering vulnerability and a balmy soulfulness that runs through his rich vocals down to his choice of production, much of which he handles himself. His latest project Don’t Tell Anyone houses much of what makes his music great, his sweet melodies and incisive lyrics gently coasting over his own warm beats. The standout here is “Everything”, a mellow, romantic bop that sees Mannywellz unequivocal about his feelings: “I like the way you look at me, the way you talk to me, the way you feel to me / Oh I like the way handle me and put your hands on me”. It’s forthright and a little slinky, but it’s completely Mannywellz.
“Kilimanjaro” – Nonso Amadi & Beam
Atimes, it looked like Nonso Amadi’s debut album was never going to arrive. After he received considerable attention back in 2016 for “Tonight”, his sultry sleeper hit, everyone was hoping Amadi’s debut album would come sooner rather than later. Two, three, four years later and there were no signs of an album, the reclusive singer only releasing a handful of singles sporadically while also delivering impressive guest verses from time to time. Finally, When It Blooms, Amadi’s debut album arrived last week and it’s packed full with glistering, R&B-influenced records that reinforces just how talented the Canadian-based singer is. “Kilimanjaro”, a summery earworm which features American-Jamaican rapper Beam, is one of the album’s many highlights. It’s sickly sweet and euphonious, the 27-year-old reminding us all why we fell in love with him many years ago.
“Grown Ass Girl.” – AYLØ
AYLØ’s penchant for crafting mostly slow, ruminative, sometimes wistful, love-inspired records is well established at this point. It’s how he won many over years ago, and it’s the same formula that has kept him relevant amongst his peers for so long. His latest single “Grown Ass Girl” is another one of his smooth ballads and his infatuation here is peak: “Everyday, you could tell me shit, I’d listen every day / Make the time for you, I’m talking every day”. With his characteristic melodic-rap style,he gently coasts over the atmospheric production, giving the record a certain bedroom intimacy.
“SEX APPEAL” – MOJO AF & Ronehi
A couple of days ago, proficient upcoming rapper MOJO AF and producer Ronehi released a collaborative project titled I KNOW YOU MISS ME. The 7-tracker finds MOJO tearing through Ronehi’s diverse and sturdy beats, switching in and out of tight flows while also delivering clever punchlines. The project’s standout comes in form of “SEX APPEAL”, a dance-inducing record that sees MOJO gliding — characteristically in Yoruba and English — with multiple hypnotic flows. His lines here are sometimes funny and also as clever as them come, proving once again he’s one of the most competent, versatile and exciting rappers around.
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