The playlist: African pop – Olamide, AKA, Youssoupha and more

Sarkodie

Rapid-fire … Ghana’s Sarkodie is nominated for best male at the MTV Africa Music awards

Sarkodie – New Guy ft Acehood

Sarkodie is in the running to pick up the best male gong at the MTV Africa Music awards ceremony in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa in July, buoyed by his standing as arguably the most prolific current Ghanaian rapper. In 2012, he won the BET (Black Entertainment Television) award for the best international act from Africa, giving an unforgettable performance among of some of hip-hop’s most renowned lyricists. Twice nominated since, the rapid-fire MC is especially remarkable when rhyming in his native Twi dialect, as on this braggadocio cut featuring US rapper Ace Hood.

Youssoupha – Entourage

Following the success of his 2013 album Black Desire, certified platinum in France, there are signs that Negritude, Youssoupha’s latest, will follow suit. Negritude, often stylised as NGRTD, is the second instalment in his “black trilogy”. On the single Entourage, the French-speaking son of Congolese music legend Tabu Ley Rochereau raps about black life in France, symbolically identifying with the anti-police brutality movement in the US.

Olamide – Bobo

Olamide, up for best hip-hop artist, was also named second in a list of the top 10 Nigerian rappers of 2014 by Nigerian music tastemaker site NotjustOK. He has managed to find the happy medium between street grit and popular dance-ready Afrobeats rhythms and melodies. His 2010 debut, and that of his contemporary Phyno, signalled the arrival of a new generation of MCs rhyming in Yoruba (in his case) and other native languages, expanding the appeal of the genre to an Afropop-dominated market.

Jovi – Big Vulture ft RCHL

For a snapshot of modern Cameroonian music, one need look no further than the trap-inspired bass, snares, makossa guitar and bikutsi-flavoured styles blended into rapper Jovi’s March 2015 album, Kankwe Vol 2. His second album, Mboko God, released in May, is just as multi-layered and makes a strong case for the French/Pidgin-rapping contender for best hip-hop.

AKA – Sim Dope

Be on the lookout for a forthcoming appearance by AKA on Tim Westwood’s YouTube series Crib Sessions. The South African artist is wrapping up a series of promo dates in the UK before he heads home, hopeful that he will collect one of two possible gongs – he’s up for best collaboration and best male.

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Music | The Guardian

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