Fall is here, and so is a fresh crop of African music releases that’ll help you get into the swing of the new season.
Juls, one of the most sought-after modern Afrobeats producers, tries his hand at palmwine music — which incorporates Portuguese guitars brought from sailors, local West African melodies and Trinidadian calypso rhythms and is named after the traditional homebrew made from the sap of special palm trees — with his latest EP Palmwine Diaries Vol. 1. Rising Nigerian rapper ODUMODUBLVCK also introduces more listeners around the globe to his “okporoko rhythms,” his self-defined genre that blends hip-hop, grime, Afrobeat and progressive R&B.
Meanwhile, young singer Khaid drops another melodic banger, budding superstar Ayra Starr gets more personal than ever (without dropping the energy), BNXN releases another slow-burning single and the fusion of Afrobeats and Latin music continues with another potential hit from Feid and Rema.
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 kick off the new fall season with our latest Spotify playlist below.
The Afro-dancehall star reassures his mother that he’s doing well for himself and he’s only concerned about his money on “Tour,” the trap-tinged opener to his latest album RU the World. Ruger recorded “Tour” while shortly after wrapping up his tours in the U.S., Europe and Canada, and he revealed that his righthand producer Kukbeatz “made this beat in the toilet.” But regardless of where the song was made, Ruger’s here to remind everyone that he’s made it.
Patoranking feat. Zion Foster, “Woman of the Year”
Following his and Wande Coal’s 2014 Afropop hit “My Woman, My Everything,” Patoranking delivers yet another sweet ode to women who deserve to be celebrated for their everyday contributions to others’ lives. With a sultry verse from British-Nigerian singer Zion Foster, and Dhannyjazz’s sumptuous saxophone leading the production, the Nigerian star serenades the only lady in his life as a way of thanking her for everything she does for him.
ODUMODUBLVCK, “MC OLUOMO”
The Nigerian rapper gives us a taste of his upcoming EZIOKWU mixtape, due Oct. 6 via NATIVE Records/Def Jam, with his invigorating new single. “MC OLUOMO” first samples a video of a fan jokingly taunting the MC by yelling “Odumodu, on your feet, run!” after the fleeing MC during an event at Lagos State University (LASU). But his hustle, even in the literal sense, comes from his hard work, and he wouldn’t be able to get to the bag without it. ODUMODUBLVCK delivers this message over a flamenco-esque drill beat, a taste of his unique “okporoko rhythms.”
Juls, “Palmwine Riddim”
British-Ghanaian producer Juls set out on a mission to bring his Ghanaian motherland back into the conversation about African popular music with his six-song set, Palmwine Diaries Vol. 1. The first single, “Palmwine Riddim,” is a lilting, laid-back instrumental that pays homage to highlife’s jazzy horns, and even though it incorporates Juls’ harmonies, he lets the music do most of the talking and solidifies its timelessness.
June Freedom, “Say Salud”
The Cape Verdean American artist’s newest single deserves a toast. “Say Salud” is as refreshing as the Dom Pérignon, DeLeón or whatever drink you should be sipping on while getting lost in its irresistible rhythm. “Go-golo, go-golo, go-golo, ah/ You cool my temperature/ Making me sweat like you drippin’ agua/ Hamduli-hamdulilah,” Freedom sings, mesmerized by the way a woman moves (because who could stay still to this song?).
Khaid, “No Time”
Khaid is not reinventing the wheel, but the teenager’s output this year is full of earworm melodies that are irresistible, and his voice has an emotional maturity beyond his years. “No Time” continues his hot streak, which dates back to 2022, and it’s a worthy addition to a catalog that is growing with one formidable banger after another. It should be exciting to see where he goes from here.
BNXN, “Sweet Tea”
BNXN’s work this year has included a series of slow burners, and this one fits the bill as well, with an understated, almost wistful vocal propelled by contemplative production. But his songs often have the ability to fly under the radar until you wonder what, exactly, you’ve spent all day humming, only to revisit them and realize you’ve connected with them on an almost subconscious level. His songs demand repeat listens, and the rewards more than not reveal themselves.
Feid & Rema, “Bubalu”
The fusion of Afrobeats and Latin music, in the broader senses of each, has been steadily gaining in popularity for months now, and this collaboration between two young yet established hitmakers from each sector was always likely to spark interest. But the result is something special, a danceable backbeat with vibes that are through the roof, which should find a home on plenty of dance floors even as the weather gets colder. This heralds a strong future for collaborations like these.
NSG, “NELLA ROSE”
The latest single from the London-based six-piece group has plenty of energy and a fusion vibe, bringing in some amapiano drums to a distinctly British flair, and combining a wordless singalong hook with rapped verses in this cut named for the famous Belgian YouTuber. With a debut album out next month, the group has plenty more where that came from.
Ayra Starr, “Rhythm & Blues”
After a breakout year-plus, the young singer decided to show off a more vulnerable side on her latest single. But don’t look at it as a simple R&B love song — there’s plenty of spark and even an urgent vibe to this one, as she sings about the type of relationship that provides energy and creativity rather than stress or anxiety. Perhaps the best thing about Starr’s growing catalog is that there are no limits to her sound — she’s succeeding on her own terms. This one reinforces that notion.
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