Music Review: Slowly- Meddy

If you haven’t discovered Slowly by Rwanda‘s Meddy, then sit on tight….I’m about to change your life. (Well, technically not me but you will be thanking me after this).

 

Meddy is a top Rwandan RNB Artist. His latest track “Slowly”, (produced by MoMusic) is a  ride through a story of an overwhelming love that possibly leads to being overpowered. (Listening to the audio alone, you would assume that Uganda‘s Maurice Kirya is behind the song’s vocals, due to the resemblance of the two artists’ voice).

With Meddy’s mellow toned voice, you are guaranteed of a pleasurable listening experience that would have you wanting to listen to him even more. His previous songs are done mostly in Kinyarwanda. Much as music is a universal language, it’s great to not only enjoy a song, but to also be able to understand what exactly you’re enjoying, which you do with Slowly (if you do not speak Kinyarwanda).

I would have loved the video concept better with a more compelling story line,  just to get a feel of this kind of overwhelming love. That aside, the lighting is just right, with good use of color, a cast that is well put together in terms of their wardrobe and make up. Meddy’s love interest  on the video (assuming she is Rwandese), truly is  a living testimony of the “Rwandan girls are among the most beautiful women in Africa” notion. (Can I get an Amen?)

If you are a hopeless romantic like myself, then you will definitely love this song. And even if “hopeless romantic” may not fit your description, if you love some good RNB music, you will love this one. Soulful, sensual and a must listen to.

What do you think about it?

Also, let me know if there’s another Urban African Song you would like me to review.

 

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Gael Will; African Music Covers’ King

Hey loves!

Been a while since I posted but then again, you know how fate always gets a way to bring back people to their first love?….so here I am. I missed blogging, sharing my love for Urban African Music with the world but most importantly, I missed the feeling that comes with doing what I love.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at home, minding my own business while having my YouTube on auto-play and then…..I heard Sheebah’s Nkwatako (which is still currently one of my absolute favorite jams), only that this time it was slower and by a dude.

So I stop what I am doing and move closer to my speakers and boy oh boy…..if all covers sounded as good as this one did, no one would ever bother to listen to original songs. I honestly cannot remember just how many times I played this cover over and over again.

 

And just when I was about to break my repeat button (literally), I knew I had to find other covers done by this particular guy, Gael Will. Lo and behold, that was when I found Davido’s “If” cover. I’m not trying to shade anyone but I honestly think that Gael’s version sounds waaaay better than Davido‘s. The original is OK but listening to the cover made me realize that it’s what I ought to have been listening to all along. You just cannot go back and listen to any other version of the song once you hear Gael’s.

 

 

Gael’s exceptionally powerful vocals, passion for the music and the fresh vibe that he adds onto a song is honestly a complete package that most artists only dream to have. And while he is still an upcoming artist that I think could do even better with a management team that believes in him and invests in his talent even more, maybe just focusing on doing covers could take him further (musically speaking), my thoughts though.

Here are some of the other covers that he has done, do check them out and tell me which ones are your favorites and also which other songs you would like to see him cover and hopefully he will…see what I did there? ;-0

 

 

 

Check him out on Instagram- @gaelwill 

 

 

Top 15 African Songs of 2016

Hey guys,

Hope you are enjoying your holidays as much as I am. Just 2 more days before we say good bye to 2016 and I would like to share my list of what I thought were the  15 most amazing African tunes of 2016.

15. Pana-Tekno

Let’s just agree on the fact that 2016 has been a great year for Tekno and that he would be among the list of African artists to watch out for in 2017. Something about multi- talented artists that can play an instrument, produce music, sing and dance. Their understanding of different aspects of music makes them such a tough lot to beat, which is probably why Tekno made it to my list.

 

14. Jux- Wivu

 

Ok, so it might be the beautiful Tanzanian Swahili, Jux‘s voice or simply the mere fact that I love love. Either way, this was a smash hit and one that surely took Jux’s career to a whole new level.

13. Dance for me- Eugy Ft. Mr. Eazi

I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to fuse the Shoki, Alkayida and Dab dance routines- pure genius I tell you, pure genius. (Which reminds me, I’ve been planning to do a dance video of this song since the first time I heard it. Not sure why I haven’t done it yet but I will most definitely do it then post it on IG, so watch out for that) @FelistaEsolio is my handle 😉

12. Kucheza-Mafikizolo

Written by Vannesa Mdee, Kly and The duo, I haven’t heard or seen a better and more creative piece of work than this. Now let’s do this right, grab your dancing shoes and move along to the beat.

11. Gudi Gudi- Everlast Ft. Naiboi and Kristoff

It was recognized as the Break through video of the year during this year’s Pulse Music Video Awards and I couldn’t agree more. This is one of those songs that will have you smiling at the corny lyrics while at the same time dancing along to the feel good beats….two words- CLUB BANGER!

10. Bank Alert- PSquare

They might have had some misunderstanding that had us convinced that we were done hearing from them but the PSquare brothers surely do know how to pull themselves together and get back to their grind like they never left. It’s a beautiful African beat that tells such a beautiful story- you have to love it.

9. Afrika- Yemi Alade ft. Sauti Sol

Best believe that when Mama Africa and Sauti Sol come together, it is nothing short of AMAZING. I mean, we already established that on Coke Studio Africa Season 3 but dang! this was on another level. The fact that it celebrates the African Continent and all that makes it so beautiful, I had to have it on my list.

8. Bad- Tiwa Savage Ft. Wizkid

 

I said it before, I will say it again, this song got me feeling so “BAD” Plus, its a perfect collaboration between music geniuses, yooh! I have no idea how Tiwa Savage will be able to top this one up.

7. Nkwatako- Sheebah Karungi

I have always loved Sheebah Karungi, but this right here sealed my love and commitment to her music. And with the song’s sick beats, even I who can’t dance to save my own life would be forced to hit the dance floor at the risk of embarrassing myself among thousands of onlookers.

6. Biko- Lola Rae Ft. Davido

If you belong to the group of people that have accused Lola Rae of using auto- tune on her songs, you should listen to one of her interviews– I promise, this girl has a natural sweet soft spoken voice. That said, with or without auto- tune, I love this song to bits.

5. No kissing- Patoranking Ft. Sarkodie

Just when you thought you heard all that was to be offered by Patoranking, he hits again. And name an artist that makes Hip Hop sound as good as Sarkodie……Still thinking? Well……..that’s because there is NONE. This rare DancehallHip Hop fuse is one that will go down in history’s books.

4. Mungu Pekee- Nyashinski

You know you are pure talent when you only have a lyric video and yet attract over 900, 000 views. (Some artists have to release an official video and wait for weeks or even months before it gets half a million views). I am so glad that Nyash is back and with the undeniable growth in his craft, I can’t wait to hear more of what he has to offer. (If you haven’t watched Yemi Alade’s cover of this song, do yourself a favor and thank me later)

3. Nishike- Christian Bella

Christian Bella is truly God’s gift to African music..His is a such a distinct sound that carefully combines Lingala and Bongo Music- truth is, you haven’t listened to beautiful music if you haven’t listened to Bella.

2. Muziki- Darassa Ft. Ben Pol

I can’t help but hear Darassa’s voice in my head telling me to “Wacha maneno weka muziki” (Quit talking and turn on the music) as I think about a description for this song. For that reason, I will send you to my IG- go check out my lip syncing of this song and let’s just let the music speak for itself.

1. Salome- Diamond Platnumz ft. Rayvanny

My number one tune for 2016 had to be Salome…who else would have “brought back to life” the legendary Saida Karoli in such an honorable manner? I will say this once and you can quote me five years from now, Diamond is a  music legend in the making.

Did any of your top songs for 2016 make it to my list? Do you think that there are other songs that should have been on my list?

Do let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Remix V/S the Original #Salome

I really tried to refrain myself from doing another Diamond Platinumz post but have you heard the remix to Saida Karoli‘s Maria Salome?……I would be damned if I did not do this post.

While most urban songs from the West are sampled from back in the day (and turn out just fine), we are yet to fully embrace the concept in Africa.

Here is the thing though: You cannot do a remix to a chart- topping song unless you are making it bigger and better than it already was.Diamond might be among the very few artists from Africa that have remixed an old school jam, without stripping off important elements that made the original version lovable. This way, he has been able  to retain an older audience that knew and loved Saida’s Salome, while at the same time attracting a younger audience that may not have necessarily heard the original song’s version….Excellence I tell you….Excellence

And just when I thought Veteran Tanzanian singer Saida Karoli was “dead” (musically speaking), Diamond brings the musical legend back to life, in a manner that I doubt any other artist would have managed to do so.Now here is the icing of the cake- Rayvanny. I have listened to a couple of this Wasafi Records Singer but truth be told, his input on this particular jam has got to be one of his best of his works ever.

Now you tell me….Did Diamond do justice to Salome?

 

 

 

Top 5 Most Underrated African Songs

There are two types songs; those that you listen to and wonder why the hell people like them and the type that you listen to over and over again thinking your mind is going to blow up at some point, considering the number of times you have had to hit the replay button. Nothing as sad as enjoying great music alone, so bare with me as I shove my top five most underrated African songs down your throat. (I’m kidding- you will be thanking me after sampling my list)….Now plug in your head phones, turn up the music and enjoy the ride.

  1. Durotimi- Yemmi Alade

Yemi‘s strong vocals and energy would make me listen to her, whether or not I like the song (this is not to say that I don’t like this song). This girl can sing her way out of any situation, which makes me wonder if music lovers deliberately chose to ignore this one, or if this could just be one of those very few good songs that people just never get to hear about.

2. Malome- Cassper Nyovest Ft. Mahotela Queens

Cassper Nyovest is anything but predictable. And while I still haven’t figured out how he decided to work with the veteran Mahotela Queens for this collaboration, I love the rare afrosound blend with Hip Hop.

3. Christian Bella- Nishike

You haven’t listened to beautiful African music if you haven’t sampled Christian Bella‘s songs. This is the only African artist in this day and age who takes me back to the days of good old Rumba that I got to know of thanks to my dad’s  Vinyl Record collection, (child! That was GOOD music).

4. Zani Challe FT. Patoranking- Single For Tonight

If a mellow voice, beautiful face and a body to die for is a package you would enjoy, then South African born Malawian recording artist Zani Challe is the girl for you. And with Patoranking on this song, I surely don’t understand how this song has less than a million views, four months after its release.

5. Fena Gitu Ft. Kagwe Mungai & Toshi

 

I am yet to discover an artist that makes afrosound sound better than Fena. This song might have been dropped  about 3 years ago, but remains to be a timeless musical piece and a conversation that I love listening to over and over again. (But seriously though…when is the right time to go dutch on a date?)

Drop a comment, let me know if there is any other African tune that you think I should add onto my list.

 

 

AFRICA’S PERFECT COMBO

 

Imagine a musical journey through Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya (or is it Burundi), in just 4 minutes and 4 seconds. As unbelievable as it may sound, that’s exactly what you get in Joh Makini’s latest song Perfect Combo, alongside Chidimna . (And no, this is not one of those heavily crowded tracks with more than 5 artists, each one of them scrambling for a single line in the song, for the sake of mere appearance).

Representing Tanzania is Hip Hop heavy weight Joh Makini, with his effortless Swahili lyrics. And just when I thought he would rap about anything but matters of the heart, it turns out that “huu mchezo wa mapenzi  Makini ana talanta”…. (Makini’s got talent in this love game- Literally)

With Nigeria’s afropop star Chidimna’s convincing style of telling love stories as depicted in her previous songs, she plays a major role in making this particular song believable, while bringing in just the right amount of energy and equally strong vocals.

While Joh Makini has been working with Tanzania’s Nahreel a lot in the recent past, and rightfully so, bringing it to Kenya by having RKay produce the song was one of the best musical choices he has made. The perfect mellow tune complements the message of love, while striking a balance between the Hip- Hop and RNB blend, with neither being watered down.

Justin Campos finally has us land in South Africa, introducing us to their vibrant and yet very authentic culture, through color and excellent visual quality that speaks nothing short of perfection.

So there you have it, the perfect combination of creativity making a wholesome song that truly represents the rich and diverse African Culture.

 

 

 

3 Reasons why the Yemmi Alade/ Sauti Sol collabo is amongst the best of this decade.

You’ve probably already watched Africa by Yemi Alade and Sauti Sol and thought that this has got to be amongst the best things to have happened to the continent. I do agree with you, so let’s get down to exploring the 3 major factors that have contributed to making this the outstanding collaboration that it is.

  1. Credibility

It’s one thing to say that you are proudly African, but another to have a lifestyle that constantly confirms the statement to be true.

Long before Africans had discovered the potential of afro- pop, Sauti Sol was bold enough to explore this unique genre with authenticity that was previously rare. Simple music with an acoustic feel and meaningful lyrics have characterized their music and slowly but steadily been embraced as a unique African export, that sells within and beyond the continent.

On the other hand, Yemi is one who has rightfully earned the “Mama Africa” title, through her expressive persona and exemplary dressing that constantly represents the continental values. Need I say more?…The song is a perfect piece of art consistent with who Yemi and Sauti Sol are and what they have constantly proven to believe in, making them equally believable on this one.

  1. The East and West representation

Nigeria has for a long time been thought of as the “capital of African Music.” Having an East (Kenya) and West (Nigeria) representation of Africa in the song is a brilliant idea with an undeniable inclusive approach that speaks oneness and a common vision of general continental thrive.

 

  1. Great chemistry

 

If you watched Yemmi Alade performing with Sauti Sol on Coke Studio Africa Season 3, then you would know that the boy band blends perfectly with the Nigerian star, you would think it was a group of 5. Great energy, exceptional talent that isn’t afraid to push boundaries, this is definitely a match made in heaven.

 

Boy am I glad that this wasn’t a charity kind of collaboration…(the kind that has such a big star being paid to feature on a mediocre song by an upcoming artist, after which we as the audience have to deal with the nightmare of a song but act like we like it simply because our favorite artist is on it).

Share what you think about the Yemi/ Sauti Sol collaboration too.

Music Review: Nkwatako- Sheebah Karungi

 

If there’s a song I have been listening to every single day for the past one month or so, it has to be Nkwatako by Sheebah Karungi. The beats, Sheebah’s strong personality brought out and of course the Luganda flow in it is simply amazing.

Just in case you don’t know, Sheebah was previously an Obsessions member, having joined the musical girl group in 2007 but left in 2009, with the need to change the direction of her career, as she felt she would achieve more as a solo artist. She then started her own label, alongside Chameleon’s brother Pallaso, Team No Sleep (TNS), one that till date she is a part of.

Back to Nkwatako,( Luganda for “Touch Me”), a story of two lovers who are having differences but in efforts to restore their previously good relationship. The song’s beats have an up- beat characteristic to them with a Dancehall feel, one that you could dance along to and have fun while at. Primarily done in Luganda, with a mix of English and Jamaica’s Patois language, the vocal quality is excellent, with consistency and notable confidence.

The intro is well done, slowly getting you into the song and perfectly setting it up, with a light trumpet vibe and lyrics that you would be forced to play over and over again just to get them right, in order to enjoy the song more.

The video was shot in Uganda’s Entebbe, by the country’s leading videographer Sasha Vybz, who also did Sheebah and Pallaso’s Go Down Low, Leila and Chameleon’s Relaxing as well as Iryn Ntale’s Ono Mwana. With Sheebah being the good dancer that she is, her well-choreographed moves with her dancers would have you glued to your screen while attempting to learn the moves, even with two left feet.

Behind the scenes- Nkwatako video shoot
Behind the scenes Nkwatako Video Shoot (Image courtesy of i.imgur.com)

 

The video concept of a street bash at a basement parking is certainly a breath of fresh air but unfortunately, one that was poorly executed. The non- complimentary relation between the audio and the video fails to tell the story of what exactly Sheebah is talking about on the song, which is what any good video ought to do. Besides the dancing, there is really not much worth watching.

That aside, compared to her previous songs among them Twesana, Sili Zari and  Ndiwanjawulo, this has got to be one of my personal favorite songs from Sheebah. Not to restrict her creative space, but I feel like the TNS singer delivers more when she goes for the up- beat danceable kind of songs.

Watch it and let me know what you think…

 

Music Review: Pascal Tokodi- Sitaki

 

My friend Pepper requested that I review Pascal‘s Sitaki and all I did through the rest of that day was think about the song and draft short notes about it. So here we are, I definitely had to do a review.

First things first, I am so glad that we could get more of Pascal even after Techno Own the Stage. Rarely do we get artists and especially those from Africa advance their music careers after participating in musical contests, (which makes me question how relevant such contests are).

Sitaki (Swahili for “I don’t want”) is a simple title  and yet one that easily got me curious, to listen to the song just to find out what exactly Pascal does not want.  The 4 minutes and 13 seconds video to the song will also get you hooked in the first 5 seconds as a girl is running away from a man, but with another waiting for her by the gate on a motorbike, a story that you would certainly want to follow up on.

Directed by Natasha Likimani, the screen writer for Veve, the video is black and white, with a simple setting in a modern home, making it very easy on the eye. This is however not your traditional Kenyan music video, with a sensual touch  (but rightfully so, based on what Pascal is singing about). Both Pascal and his video vixen Niki Behr are actors with excellent acting skills and great chemistry, making their story believable.

For the longest time, Anto NeoSoul has remained unchallenged as one of Kenya’s top male vocalists but now, we  have Pascal who will be giving him a run for his money. Pascal has an amazing voice with equally strong vocals. (His is not just the ordinary “I Can sing” type of voice.)The tone of his voice  on Sitaki is also appropriately mellow, passing across the message of love in the best way possible. It is also hard to miss out on the passion in his voice that would make anyone listening long for the kind of love that he sings about on this particular jam.

The audio was produced by Malcom Kashan, a 19 year old producer. The sound is amazing with notable beat similarity to Sauti Sol’s Still The One, just faster. So good is the song  that Acey Gracey of Usoni Band has already done a cover (Pascal was giving away Ksh. 50, 000 to the person who does the best cover).

Pascal’s first song Usiniache is no longer available online  and so we can treat this as his debut song, considering we have nothing to compare it with.All in all, Sitaki is a great  song and I cannot wait to see what’s next from Pascal.

Is there a song that you would like me to review? Let me know

 

 

 

 

 

BEST AFRICAN SONGS 2015

2015 has been a great year for Africa’s music industry. Evidently, there has been noted improvement on the quality of the content being put out there and it would only be fair to commend all industry players for their effort. However, there have been those who stood out for me and therefore had their songs qualify to my list of top 10 songs of the year;

10.Shake Yo Bam Bam- Sauti Sol

Branding has contributed a lot to making Sauti Sol the big name it is. The boy band that comprises of four has remained authentic and yet still allowing room for evolution and growth. They are not afraid to experiment, which makes it hard to predict them, as seen on this one. While you may not agree with me, sampling different lost trucks that were popular back in the day, compressing them all into one and having people dancing along while reminiscing makes this song a HIT.

9.Nana- Diamond Ft. Flavour

The dance moves aimed at wooing his girl and the great picture quality with a touch of simplicity makes this such an enjoyable song to watch. As if that’s not enough, Diamond’s great talent and passion brought out through his music is one that would keep you listening all through, with Flavour adding the extra spice needed to make this song the success it is.

8.Woju (Remix)- Kiss Daniel Ft. Davido and Tiwa Savage.

The creativity on Woju’s lyrics made it very sweet and very nice (see what I did there?….no?…OK ). Even with big stars Davido and Tiwa Savage on the same song, Kiss Daniel still maintains his spotlight, proving to be a great artist to look out for, despite not having been in the industry for long.

7. German Juice- Cynthia Morgan

There was a time I thought dance-hall music was dead and buried. Cythnia Morgan (and a few other African artists) changed my mind and this song was one of the reasons why. It doesn’t matter whether you are inclined to a particular genre of music, this one is hard not to love.

6. Eish- Kenyan All Stars.

It brought together Kenya’s music heavyweights Ulopa, Kristoff, Abass, Yvonee Darcq, Petra and Gabu all on one truck. But then again, let’s just be honest…the girls on this one killed it.

5. Temperature- Yemi Alade Ft. Dil.

The strong vocal delivery by both Yemi and Dil indeed made my temperature rise. The video shot in London is one that will keep you glued watching, with a beautiful story line complementing the song’s message.

4.Nusu Nusu- Joh Makini

I have never considered myself to be a Hip- Hop head (in fact, rarely am I bumping my head to killer rhymes..mostly it is usually just about the beats for me)  but this ….this was sick. And it got me listening to Makini more than I was to the beats (not that they were anything shot of incredible though).

3. Obe Baba (remix)- Raj Ft. STL

This is one of those songs that makes you realize just how cool it is to embrace one’s roots. Who knew that Kisii language could sound so damn good? And with STL jumping on it, this was and still is a massive tune.

 

2. Game- Navy Kenzo Ft. Vanessa Mdee.

Now this is what happens when a producer is also an artist.

(Greatness-just in case we still are not on the same page). This is because the producer/artist has a better understanding of the music. They do not just think about the production elements of a song but are able to fit into an artist’s mind space, to think about the creative aspect of a song and how best to deliver it, which is what Nahreel does here. His partner Aika together with Vanessa Mdee also did a great job on this one, adding a feminine touch to it and making it pleasurable to listen to.

  1. Nobody But Me- Vanessa Mdee Ft. K.O

The old school vibe on the video that is a 10 is just a plus, complementing an equally amazing audio. Needless to say, having South African rapper K.O jump on the truck was a genius idea, creating a perfect blend of the two artists, while each of them represents their individual unique personality.

By now you might have figured that Nahreel is my producer of the year while Justin Campo my Video Director of the year.Also, Tanzanian music is doing exceptionally well (as you may have noticed from my list) and we may have a lesson or two we may learn from them.

Share your thoughts. What are your best African songs for the year 2015?