“International” ft. (2baba, Buffalo Souljah & Gemini Major) – Deejay Waxxy
If for some reason you weren’t THAT into urban dancehall music in Africa around 2008/9, you would’ve likely never heard of DJ Waxxy. But for those of us who do know him, there’s no denying that DJ Waxxy was one of the biggest DJs on the continent at the time. I myself hadn’t even imagined that I could ever DJ, but I drew inspiration from watching him do his thing on Channel O’s “The 411” show. Waxxy commanded a huge following, toured all over the continent and even appeared on the popular Big Brother Africa show.
Word is, things went south when he got let go by Channel O and had a fall out with his signee Buffalo Souljah. Apparently the two had beef for five years but long story short, they finally squashed it earlier this year and now have a single together. “International” also features Gemini Major, an exciting young Family Tree artist, as well as the legendary 2 Face Idibia (now just known as 2baba). For a dancehall track it sounds pretty stripped down but they pull it off, much like Rihanna’s “Work”, which they also reference in the song. There’s not much to say at the moment with regards to the longevity of Waxxy’s return but International is a pretty great start for a DJ who’s been missing for so long!
Watch the video for the collaboration above & let me know your thoughts.
“Million” – Adiona Chidzonga & Reverb7
It had been quite a while since I’d heard a Reverb7 single but it proved well worth the wait after hearing “Million” with Adiona Chidzonga. This was my first time hearing Adiona Chidzonga, but I thought she added a mature touch to the song with her voice. Reverb7’s beat is like a mix between David Guetta and Culoe De Song’s production styles, which somehow works really well in Million. My one regret was that it was rather short for a house song, but then again this is the radio mix after all! I’m really looking forward to hearing more of Adiona’s music and will be keeping an ear out for more Reverb7 stuff.
You can stream Million via Soundcloud above.
“Zvakanaka” ft. XQ & Ba Shupi – Simba Tagz
When it comes to the Zimbabwean urban scene, there’s no denying that Simba Tagz, real name Simbarashe Tagwireyi is one of the leaders in the game. If he didn’t produce it, he likely mastered it, wrote it or sings on it! Tagz has the midas touch at the moment, and looks set to continue the winning run with his new single titled “Zvakanaka” with XQ & Ba Shupi.
A personal highlight on this track is undoubtedly the XQ feature! Dude is one of the pioneering Zim urban grooves (urban music) artists from the early 00’s, so naturally a verse from him ranks quite highly in my books. “Zvakanaka” sounds like a dance-hall/afro-pop fusion that would’ve benefited greatly from a feature from an artist like Nigeria’s Patoranking. I still predict this single to do some serious rounds on radio though! Stream above.
“Give Thanks” – Tehn Diamond ft. Simba Tagz
It had been a while since I’d heard something from Tehn Diamond but 2016 seems to officially be the roll-out year for his new music. Tehn recently dropped a new single titled “Give Thanks” featuring Simba Tagz which carrries an Alternative Afro-Pop feel and interestingly sounds stripped all the way down. Interesting because all the afro-pop songs I know take absolutely everything but the kitchen sink, often sounding overdone. The producer (likely Tagz), however took the simple route on “Give Thanks” and the result is quite good considering simple is difficult, especially with Afro-pop. It’s not the big hit single getting massive airplay but it certainly adds to a great catalogue. Overall, “Give Thanks” is a great feel good, sing-along track with a positive message to keep us all hustling out there but staying grateful. It’s definitely worth checking out!
Follow on Twitter:
Tehn Diamond | @TehnDiamond
“Only” – Fuse ODG
One thing I love and respect about Fuse ODG is how he keeps representing the motherland in his music, branding and image. Probably at this point someone out there just read that and is preparing to hurl insults at me but I stand by my statement. This guy is the most identifiable urban African artist abroad and he keeps putting the continent on the map through his music. It therefore comes as no surprise that his debut album was titled “This Is New Africa”.
The album was a huge success with lead singles like “Azonto” and “Antenna” breaking all kinds of records leading up to its release. But Fuse is back again with a new single titled “Only” and it looks like he got another hit for the summer! It’s worth mentioning that Fuse and his producer KillBeatz make up a really good team and contrary to the norm, they’ve stuck together through the success! I certainly hope they stick to the winning formula.
Checkout the official video for “Only” above.
“That Could Be Us” – Ice Prince
Mr. Ice Prince Zamani is one of those African artists that broke out, shot straight to the top and decided never to come down! I honestly can’t think of a year where Ice Prince went quiet with no singles or a feature on a hit song somewhere. One may not like him or even his music but the work ethic is evidently high and commendable! On the trophy side of things, Ice has notably won the BET award for Best International Act as well as several Channel O Video Music awards. More recently, Ice was spotted with Jay-Z in New York somewhere making moves, followed by an interview on the world-famous Breakfast Club! So I guess one could say that the man is winning.
However, this year Ice Prince has been relatively quiet by his own standards, likely due to the pursuit of other business ventures. Luckily, before going on a hiatus he dropped a late 2014 banger titled “That Could Be Us”. The track was produced by one of my favourite African production duo’s – Legendury Beatz, and is easily a quiet house party anthem! Ice Prince has definitely come a long way since ‘Oleku’ and looks like he will be here to stay.
Watch the official video for “That Could Be Us” above.
“One Life” ft. WizKid – Maleek Berry
Of late I have been obsessed with identifying the producers behind the hottest music coming out of our continent. So far I have managed to unearth quite a lot of young talented producers like Tweezy but I have also discovered some veterans of the game as well. One such producer is Nigeria’s Maleek Berry who recently released a brand new single with WizKid titled “One Life”.
According to Berry’s website, he was actually born in the heart of South London and grew up listening to the likes of Tevin Campbell, Jodeci and Michael Jackson. Berry started producing at 14 and developed over the years, learning how to play the piano in the process. In the summer of 2011 he flew to Nigeria for a family holiday where he met Wizkid, Davido and other prominent artists whom he started working with. Today he is signed with WizKid’s Starboy Entertainment and has become a household name in the Afro-Beat music industry.
Maleek Berry’s music has a maturity to it that I love, and I think a big part of that comes from the live elements that are characteristic of his productions. It’s the kind of afro-beat music you WANT to hear performed live by a full band! Do keep an eye on this super producer and expect big records to be released in the near future.
“The Sound” – Davido ft. Uhuru & DJ Buckz
For anyone who has been paying close attention to the South African house music scene, the name Uhuru would have come up at some point. Uhuru is as a four-man producer hit-squad that has been topping the local charts under the legendary record label Kalawa Jazmee. The group shot to fame after releasing their single “Y-tjukutja” in 2013 and they have dominated the scene ever since.
Fast forward to 2015 and Uhuru has now started taking their hustle out of the country. In this collaboration with Nigerian superstar Davido, they all head out to Dubai and it is as lavish as you would expect. But what stood out were some of the stunts Davido pulled off in this video! Overall, it’s a great video and a great song. Check it out above.
For the Nerds: “The Sound” was produced by Shizzi & Uhuru.
“Life” – Miss Karun & Boddhi Satva
Since leaving the popular Kenyan hip-hop group Camp Mulla, singer Miss Karun has embarked on her own solo career. This song is one of her collaborative efforts that I found since the switch, and the musical direction she is taking seems to suit her vocal abilities really well. She is accompanied by Boddhi Satva, the Central-African Republic DJ/producer, and a full band on the Coke Studio Africa stage. Check it out!