Press Play: New Music From Rema, Bnxn, SPINALL and More
The best new sounds from around the continent.
●17th February 2023
“Holiday” – Rema
The rave lord, Rema, today dropped a two-pack single: “Holiday” and “Reason”, his first drop since the release of his stunning debut album Raves & Roses. The former is a celebratory anthem, one that plays like a short autobiography. The talented rapper and singer chronicles his storied come up, reminisces about the doubters and naysayers before toasting to his current status. “Straight out of Benin, I drop Rema EP / 2019 they think say the gbedu go finish / My music is traveling / From India to Asia to Berlin” he sings with a sacharrine melody, putting into perspective just how far he’s come in such little time.
“Gwagwalada” – Bnxn, Kizz Daniel & Seyi Vibez
First his first single of the year, Bnxn has assembled the avengers, looking to kick things off in strong fashion. The Sarz-produced record — which features two of the country’s most in from acts — is pretty run-of-the-mill in its arrangements and progression, the three’s stellar verses, however, most notably Buju’s, who’s the anchor here and Seyi Vibez, whose staggered flows gives the song a slightly different and much-needed dynamic, elevates it enough to make it enjoyable. “Gwagwalada” might not be the most interesting record you’ll hear out there but It’s pleasant enough to feature and linger on the hottest music playlists and rotations.
“Abracadra Remix” – Rexxie, Naira Marley & Skibii ft. Wizkid
Imagine putting arguably the biggest artist in the country on arguably the hottest record in the country. You expect a madness, right? Well the Abracadabra Remix ends up a madness but not for the reasons might have have expected. The Wizkid verse — which sits awkwardly in the beginning of the record — is one of his weakest in recent times. Its sounds phoned in and largely uninspired. Asides for the Wizkid verse, however, the record undogoes a little surgery, with Rexxie retaining the best parts of the song and stringing them together closely, smartly loosing the extra weight. The remix would most likely receive huge attention because of Wizkid’s humongous pull, but Naira Marley, Rexxie and Skiibii remain the star here.
“My Baby” – Bien & Ayra Starr
On “My Baby”, Bien’s first solo record of the year, the Sauti Sol member teams up with the sabi girl Ayra for a scintillating slow burner. The record posses an addictive rhythm, with both artist sounding at home next to each other over Hendrix’s syncopated drums. “You, you’ve got the keys to my heart / My baby never lets me down, my baby never let’s me down, my baby never / You, you deserve a crown / My baby never lets me down” both singers — proficient vocalists in their respective rights — sing beautifully, before going on to profess their burning, undiluted love for “their babies”.
“Abobi” – Patoranking
“Abobi”, Patoranking’s latest single, stands out instantly as one of the better records in his passable catalogue which is filled with memorable hit songs and numerous albums cuts which packs ambitions but fails to hit the nail on the head. Over the last few years, the 32-year-old’s brand has undergone a bit of a facelift, morphing into a pacifist of some sort and an advocate for unity and excellence especially amongst the black race. Whether he’s been precise in communicating this message is a separate conversation but on “Abobi”, he makes some of his sharpest social commentary till date. He’s preaching against violence here but he’s not taking his usual large paint brush stroke approach, instead, he’s sings like a keen observer, centering the average man and how they can get caught up in an unending cycle of violence which, more often than not, is spurred by the higher ups.
“Everyday” – SPINALL ft. Minz
SPINALL, who recently dropped his DJ prefix — in an attempt to be probably be embraced more as a artist as opposed to just a DJ – is adept at music curation. The seasoned disc jokey and producer has been around enough to tell what works. While his earlier works were weighed down but a slight wonkiness, there’s a laser focus that imbues his more recent works — which obviously makes them a lot better — and his latest album Top Boy is no exception. The album is a relatively short, breezy ride, one that has a couple of turbulent moments, but ultimately leaves you satisfied. The Minz record is a standout, with the talented singer, who is no stranger to SPINALL, laying sweet and soft melodies over buoyant percussons.
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