What a year 2021 has been for the world. 2020 had us all locked up inside due to COVID-19 but thanks to the brilliance of the scientists, vaccines were developed in record time to help protect against the virus. As a result, we are all outside more often and have had opportunities to enjoy music at concerts, restaurants or just about any public space with a speaker. This year hasn’t seen the same volume of new projects from artists when compared to last year, but there certainly have been quite a few exciting projects that have kept our speakers bumping. In this article we’re highlighting some of the favorite afrobeats projects that we’ve been listening to this year.
In no particular order here they are:
BlaqBonez – Sex Over Love
When we wrote about Blaqbonez a few months ago, we called him a Phenomenal artist. The self proclaimed best rapper in Africa released a very experimental project where he shows the world that he shouldn’t be boxed in as just a rapper but is a talented artist who sings as well. The lead single Bling made our top songs of the summer list and the rest of the album helps share the key messaging for the project, Blaqbonez is not a fan of love or relationships.
Bella Shmurda – High Tension 2.0
Bella Shmurda is one of the most exciting young acts out of Lagos, Nigeria, with songs like Cash App and Danbana Orisa going viral and helping him develop his brand as one of the coolest street kids. His full length project is due early 2022 but he put together a few songs to keep the fans happy until then. Bella describes this EP as “new light in a new form”, “high voltage lightening that strikes against all odds”, “a star that cannot be stopped from shining” and “a power that always penetrates”.
Lojay & Sarz – L V N ATTN
If there’s one thing that we’ve observed in our many years of listening to afrobeats, it is that Sarz has got the Midas touch! Anything he works on just seems to bang. This project is no different as Sarz teamed up with upcoming artist Lojay, and helped the young man make the bangers of his life. The lead single Tongono was released earlier in the year and got people wandering whats next. The feature from Wizkid was expected to do the most numbers but the hidden gem is the final track on the project, Monalisa. The song is everyones favorite in the clubs and is getting a great deal of radio play.
Ruger – Pandemic
One Shirt helped announce Ruger on the scene, and with this project he wants to try and establish himself as an artist that is here to stay. He certainly has major support behind him with the Jonzing/Sony deal. One of the most exciting things about Ruger is his delivery. The music is good but the energy he has and the way he carries himself on the beat is certainly special. The lead single Bounce has comfortably sat in Apple Music’s top 100 Nigeria since its release earlier in the year. That is a big deal for a newcomer.
Joeboy – Somewhere between Beauty and Magic
The breakout star from Mr. Eazi’s Empawa Africa 100 talent incubator. Joeboy is undoubtedly one of afrobeats favorite new kids on the block. “Working on this project was life changing — I met a version of myself I never knew before,” Joeboy says. “It has always been my M.O. to spread good vibes through my music, put a smile on people’s face… make ‘em happy and all of that. And the epitome of happiness I’ve come to realize is love.” This is such a beautiful project and one that will put a smile on almost everyones face.
Arya Star ( 19 & Dangerous), Ajebo Hustlers (Kpos Lifestyle, Vol.1) & Showdemcamp (Clone Wars Vol. 5)