Artists from Africa and the Diaspora to Add to Your PlaylistSep 23, 2021 11:30AM ● By Nana Ama Addo
(Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexel. )
Who doesn’t love a good music selection? Here are some artists from Africa and the Diaspora to add to your playlist, and songs to add to your playlist or to listen to as you go about your day.
If you have not heard of Drake’s bops by now, you may be living under a rock. Some may deem the Canadian-born biracial artist as overrated, but his influence and standing in the hip hop industry is undeniable. Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album, released on September 3rd, 2021, explores toxic masculinity, and features artists such as Lil Durk, Ty Dolla $ign, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross. In songs like ‘In the Bible’ and ‘Pipe Down’, he merges r&b and hip hop sounds to create a cohesive sonic experience, wound together by questionable lyrics.
Stefflon Don, a British rapper with Jamaican roots, continues to move up the ladder in the UK rap scene. Ms. Banks, a British rapper with Nigerian and Ugandan parents, shook the world with her breakout song ‘Snack’, and continues making bangers for international audiences. The two powerhouses teamed up for the booty-shaking tune ‘Dip’, which combines powerful bass lines, displays both artists' clever wordplay, and evokes African, Afro-Caribbean, and house music vibes.
South Bronx-raised rapper Maliibu Miitch, mixed with African American, Vietnamese, and Filipino, personifies the NY hood mami persona. Her self-assured and assertive lyrics and raspy delivery continue the legacy of New York artists like Foxy Brown, and create an undeniable vibe. Her latest song ‘I Like What I Like’ is a proclamation of her preference for strong, economically advanced men.
The artistic powerhouse known as Kanye West dropped his second gospel album Donda on August 29th, 2021. This glorious album, featuring a star-studded cast including Jay-Z, Shenseea, Roddy Rich, Lil Durk, Jadakiss, and more, combines a strong reverence for the Black church with ideals of redemption, holiness, forgiveness, turmoil, and peace to immortalize the memory of his late mother, Donda West. In the beginning of ‘Praise God’, for example, a song featuring Travis Scott and breakout artist Baby Keem, Kanye’s mother, Donda, opens the song quoting the ‘Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward’ by Gwendolyn Brooks, saying “Say to them, say to the down-keepers, the sun-slappers, the self-soilers, the harmony-hushers, Even if you are not ready for the day, it cannot always be night.”
Nigerian crooner Kizz Daniel is known for his silky singing voice, smooth afrobeat instrumentals, and catchy hooks. His new song, ‘Lie’, is a chill afrobeat love song in which he proclaims devotion to his love interest. This is a song you can work to or listen to while you sip coconut water on the beach.
Ghanaian-American artist Amaarae’s swag is crazy. In 2017, she stepped on the alternative music scene in Ghana in full force. Her alternative hip hop/r&b music, growing in notoriety in international and African diasporic circles, takes the listener to a world that does not yet exist. Her catchy tunes and bold exclamations in songs like ‘SAD GURLZ LUV MONEY’ and ‘LEAVE ME ALONE’ encourage alternative Black girls to own who they are, what they want, and how they feel.
New Yorker Capella Grey, a first-generation American with Jamaican parents, penned the toxic anthem of the summer ‘Gyalis’ in April 2021. The 1:45 second r&b tune gives an inside peek inside the psychology of a ‘gyalis’, a Jamaican term for a womanizer. The cocky lines weave the catchy instrumentals into an interestingly irresistible hurricane.
What songs are on your playlist? Comment below!
Nana Ama Addo is a writer, multimedia strategist, film director, and storytelling artist. She graduated with a BA in Africana Studies from the College of Wooster, and has studied at the University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Nana Ama tells stories of entrepreneurship and Ghana repatriation at her brand, Asiedua’s Imprint ( www.asieduasimprint.com ).
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