What started as an accidental playlist has now evolved into a full-blown series and I’m really digging it! I’m back at it again with a selection of tracks highlighting my favorite African women of the continent and diaspora across all genres and styles. I hope you find a new artist to follow in here and please check out the full playlist that more broadly features women of color from all over here. You can also check out prior editions of this playlist here and here.
1.“Son of California” ASTU
Eritrean-American ASTU is a singer-songwriter based out of Oakland, California. This cut from her debut project Patterns, is a funk-inflected vibe perfect for sunset drives alongside the beach – at least that’s what I imagine living on the west coast feels like. Her light, airy vocals perfectly compliment the beat and when she hits the bridge, I hit my screw-face. That’s how you know it’s good shit.
2. “Think To Lose You” Ezi Emela
Self-proclaimed “Princess of Afro Indie,” Ezi Emela is a British-Nigerian vocalist on the rise. While I can’t speak to the moniker (what really is afro-indie?), she definitely delivers in this track. The slow-burning Afrobeat-y production coupled with effortless vocals is a big win.
3. “Sprite” Dddd x Diane feat. 2050Millions
Dddd x Diane is a young rapper and vocalist hailing from Côte d’Ivoire. She’s part of a burgeoning collective of Ivorian rappers and producers building up the scene in Abidjan. With clear influences from American emo rappers (all the lil’s and then some), where Dddd x Diane stands out is her great ear for melody and emotive vocals allowing her to seamlessly switch between quick flows and soulful riffs. This track featuring producer 2050Millions is a great example of that while also having a message: basically, keep your Sprite clean kids.
4. “Niks Mapha!” Batuk
South African house duo Batuk is comprised of one of my favorite producers Spoek Mathambo and vocalist Manteiga. Known to fuse together a bunch of styles from electronic music to kwaito to hip-hop – this track is no exception. The melody in the beat kindaaa reminds me of that Iggy Azalea song (I’ll let you guess), BUT the way the chorus and the drums come in make up for it. Also Manteiga’s cheeky, confident lyrics and delivery make this a fun bop.
5. “Rewind” DJ Yin feat. Showdemcamp & Bankyondbeatz
One of few women in the Nigerian Afrobeats scene, DJ Yin is making serious moves as a singer-songwriter. I like this track because it strays away from the bright melodies more prevalent in Afrobeats and goes into a more slick, dimly-lit speakeasy vibe. With features from rap duo Showdemcamp, DJ Yin’s vocals are simple and short but perfectly echo throughout the whole track elevating Bankyondbeatz’s production.