Ayra Starr, Joeboy, Rowlene & More

The year is starting to heat up, and with an extra day in February, this month’s Afrobeats Fresh Picks makes it to you just under the wire. This month, there is new heat from bright young hitmakers like Ayra Starr, Black Sherif and Boy Spyce and Khaid, plus new bangers from more established stars like Young Jonn, Joeboy and Adekunle Gold, and some fresh tracks from artists like Rowlene, YKB, Logos Olori and Crayon. And there’s already more great music on the horizon, meaning that this year is still just getting started.

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 catch a vibe with our latest Spotify playlist below.

Black Sherif feat. Mabel, “Zero”  

While discerning all of the good (fame) and bad (gossip) that comes with being in the public eye, Ghanaian rapper Black Sherif calls for “Zero” drama in his new single with English R&B/pop singer-songwriter Mabel. The tender melodies evoke the peace Black Sherif is seeking, while Mabel preoccupies herself with “the piano in the hotel lobby” and lights up a “zoot” (British slang for a joint) and Palo Santo to create a carefree environment that cuts through all the other noise. The only voices that matter are theirs.  

Logos Olori feat. Davido, “Easy On Me”  

After collaborating with Davido Music Worldwide label boss Davido on “Picasso” from the Grammy-nominated album Timeless, Logos Olori taps him for the easygoing “Easy On Me,” from his new OLORI EP. Olori’s sensual melodies and tropical-inspired production makes it the perfect baecation song, as both artists marvel at women who have them wrapped around their fingers. 

Young Jonn feat. Kizz Daniel & Seyi Vibez, “Big Big Things” 

This trio of Nigerian singer-songwriters is only meant for “Big Big Things,” as evidenced by Young Jonn’s latest single that will be featured on his upcoming debut album Jiggy Forever. Powered by an amapiano-infused bassline, rap air horns and a tropical melody, this banger is all about being unstoppable. “When I walk through the valley of the shadow / All eyes on me cause I came in a Lambo,” Young Jonn flexes. In a press release, he describes “Big Big Things” as “a rallying cry for dreamers, go-getters and anyone with an unrelenting desire to achieve greatness.”   

Ayra Starr, “Commas”  

The Beninese-Nigerian star simultaneously addresses those who’ve presented roadblocks in her path, and inspires others to never stop chasing their dreams, on her new Afropop single “Commas.” Over a swelling string arrangement and bubbling percussion, she delivers a personal message of resilience for those who need it most – including herself. During her recent Billboard News interview, she revealed that “Commas” will be included in her upcoming album. “The Ayra Starr I want to introduce is excellent, sonically amazing. This album is unique, because I’ve been evolving sonically,” she said.  

Adekunle Gold, “The Life I Chose”  

The Nigerian star reflects on “The Life I Chose” in his new single. Produced by Kel-P, the track employs a spellbinding, psychedelic flavor of Afropop that draws listeners in just the way the rockstar lifestyle drew in Gold. He revels in its opulence – “Pool side, sippin’ Don Peri/ All the fine girls won fed gum-body” – while being wary of undercover opps when he realizes, “All of a sudden, everybody act like they love me (Fake love).”

Joeboy, “Osadebe”

The first single under his new imprint for Warner Music Africa, Young Legend, finds Joeboy paying tribute to highlife icon Chief Osita Osadebe and his 1984 classic “Osondi Owendi,” and dealing with the emotions of balancing such a successful career with remaining humble. “Sometimes I feel like I’m supernatural / But I’m only human / I’m only human,” he sings. A good start to a new chapter for Joeboy.

YKB, “High & Sober”

A gorgeous ballad, “High & Sober” finds YKB crooning a love letter to his girl over lush production from Pheelz, who supports the vocals with a full backing orchestral section underneath the hook, fleshing out the song and giving YKB the platform to showcase his vocals. After great singles “komplete riddim” and “This Must Be Love” with King Promise last year, YKB is on an upward trajectory.

Crayon, “FADE AWAY”

An understated beat underscores this unconventional single from Crayon, whose syncopated rhythms and flexible melodies bring an unorthodox style to the track. With occasionally double-tracked vocals and production that relies mostly on its drum pattern but incorporates piano, organ, guitar and saxophone in different sections, the song stands out from a lot of the other songs coming out right now.

Rowlene, “don’t let go”

For fans of the South African singer, it’s been a long wait after 2020’s excellent 11:11 album, but finally Rowlene has returned with a beautiful three-pack of songs called Moment In Between, with “don’t let go” a particular standout among them. A poignant plea, the song features her ever-engaging vocals, reminding that there’s a lot more to come from one of the leading lights of South African R&B.

Boy Spyce & Khaid, “I Don’t Care”

Boy Spyce and Khaid made a big impact last year with the carefree, upbeat “Carry Me Go,” which combined an irresistible melody with an earworm of a hook to deliver a song that truly felt like the summertime. “I Don’t Care,” their most recent collaboration, is a different beast entirely, opening with a menacing beat that then gets its edge taken off, instead providing a propulsive platform for their intertwining vocals, a stylistic switch up that nonetheless still works well, with a fun video to accompany it.

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