Mid-Year Assessment: Best Music Projects of the year so Far
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It’s already the middle of the year, and while some may say that it’s too early to call out any best music projects, we think otherwise. So far, we’ve seen some incredible work from both established and upcoming artists alike. Whether it’s through innovative new sounds or reinvigorating classic ones, these artists have shown us what truly great music can be. Without further ado, here are our picks for the best music projects so far this year. Enjoy!
Rema – Raves and Roses
Rema sounds as confident and youthful on his debut album, Rave & Roses. Shepherded by plush production that spans romantic Afropop to booming hedonistic synthpop hints of amapiano, Rema’s vocals play double dutch with the beats showing off a spirited playfulness alongside incredible skill.
The debut album from Rema, Rave & Roses has broad commercial appeal and is full of creativity that transcends his age. He’s one in the ranks with some big names within Afrobeats music scene now!
Victony – Outlaw
It’s a cliche that artists produce better work when they’ve been through emotions, especially during the dark days. For 21-year-old Nigerian singer Victony, it’s not just been one of those things you say but, experience yourself because this young man has seen hellish amounts and still managed to create some artistry out of what he went through which is incredible.
Outlaw EP is an eclectic mix of bedroom pop and experimental sounds, all headed up by the Nigerian singer-songwriter’s seductive falsetto. He backs himself with clever production from producers who understand his craft as an artist whose inspiration knocks at the door to interplanetary frequencies.
BOJ – Gbagada Express’
Lagos is a city of opportunity, where the possibilities are endless and so too are its sounds. On his new album ‘Gbagada Express’, Boj explores these different stories told through music about his various experiences as a Lagosian and youthful bliss connoting a hedonic lifestyle.
Gbagada Express is an excellent effort that has been met with rave reviews from fans. The fact many are asking for a deluxe edition speaks volumes about how much love it has got.
ObongJayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors
From the dusky boombap tales creeping up from London’s cityscape onto his SoundCloud back in 2016, Obongjayar’s sound has slowly but surely grown more sophisticated with each new release. His latest album Afro-influenced art pop is no exception as it showcases not only how far he has come, but a testament to how much he has grown and become comfortable in his music genre.
Obongjayar has finally found his sound with ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’, an album that is cohesive without being bound to any one style or movement.
Falz – BAHD
Falz’s “Bahd” album is an unexpected blend of rap and pop that experiments with just two song themes on the entire record, yet still manages to create something original. The result? An entirely new classic Falz The Bahd Guy released in its entirety.
Falz successfully created a work of art with each song painstakingly crafted to sound unique and true to the project’s fundamental theme.
Adekunle Gold – Catch Me If You Can
AG’s new album, ‘Catch Me If You Can’ is a creative transformation and evolution from his past self. He has managed to move on from the indigenous music style that made him famous while still maintaining some sense in which fans can relate it back to what they love about him as an artist. The album was preceded by smashing hits such as ‘High’ and ‘Born Sinner’ which set good precedence to what fans were to expect from this body of art.
Ruger – The Second Wave EP (Deluxe)
With his latest release, the rising Jonzing World music star has once again proven to be a force to be reckoned with. He added three new singles – ‘WeWe’, ‘Girlfriend’ and ‘Warning’. All three tracks are already having a direct influence on TikTok trends and pop culture in general.
Ruger’s unique style of music is what sets him apart, from his sensual lyrics to his distinctive vocal renditions. Fans of Afrobeats are greatly anticipating his first full album as we watch this young talent go from being a star to mega-star.
Santi – Subaru Boys: Final Heaven
After a monstrous response to his debut album, Santi came back with a truly dystopian follow-up and It’s nothing like we’ve ever heard. Differing from ‘Mandy and the Jungle’ in more ways than none, ‘Subaru Boys’ is a fantastical adventure into a sci-fi, anime-like world.
Many people were critical of this new genre at first, but after a while, we realized that musicians just like painters have a creative process and the world doesn’t need to understand them. The beauty is in how they pour out their imagination onto an empty canvas – there’s no wrong art form for someone else who appreciates art or creativity.
Fave – Riddim 5
Since she dropped that freestyle video during the pandemic, Fave has continued to prove herself as a bag of talent doing cartwheels in a land full of musical brilliance. Her biggest asset is her contralto/mezzo-soprano voice type which sometimes veers towards subtle bass.
Fave’s “Riddim 5” reflects the emotional experiences she has had throughout her life. Her lyrics are often introspective and reflect upon both sensual and romantic moments, positive moments as well as negative ones, but they always leave you feeling something.
Asake – Asake EP
2022 surely has been the year of Afrobeats rising star and YBNL latest signing, Asake. From left to right, his singles are invading every corner and center stage with their catchy tunes that will be stuck on your mind for months after hearing them; at some point, you can almost hear “Ololade mi Asake” intro intruding in all our deepest dreams.
If there was a surefire stimulus for burgeoning street-pop artists, it’s an Olamide feature, which Asake secured on his first single of the year, “Omo Ope.” Just 6 months later and we have a hit-making monster that has seized the attention of all and sundry both locally and internationally, with songs like “Sunga”, “Trabaye” and his latest single “PBUY”.
Dice Ailles – Ladies First
After an extended hiatus, Dice Ailes is finally back on the front stage with his much-anticipated debut project. The 6-track collection is titled “Ladies First” and it serves as a reminder of how groundbreaking his pioneering contributions to Afro-pop has been.
Dice Ailes has always been fascinated by women, and this EP is an expression of that. With its title track “Ladies First,” the album explores his love for them as well as various experiences he’s had with them over time- from friends to lovers. A great all-round listen, we hope to get more music appearances from this star in the nearest future.
Wurld- My WorlD With U
WurlD’s biggest aspiration has been for Afrobeats to take over the, well, “WorlD”. Interpolating his love of the African genre with electronic, R&B, and soul, his latest record has the capacity to make this dream into reality.
His third solo album, “My WorlD With U” is not just an accumulation of musicianship but also a declaration that he’s stepping into his own. He wants to make the genre-defying style accessible with this latest release and it pays off in spades as there are sweet melodies for days on end throughout each track.
Future – I Never Liked You
With the most highly acclaimed track on the album being “Wait for U”, featuring Drake and our very own Tems, soaring up to the summit of the US Billboard Hot 100, “I Never Liked” has been a successful album for Future and maintains his status quo in the American’s music industry and most especially in the trap music genre.
Drake – Honestly, Nevermind
Heading into uncharted territory, Drake delivers a collection of blissful dance tunes on “Honestly, Nevermind”. The album feels and sounds like an extended version of “Passionfruit” but in a good way, a dance album collection of blissful dance tunes constructed for embrace and abandon.
People love change, but too much change all at once gets everyone feeling nostalgic and wanting to regress, the criticism from the internet within the first week of the album’s release was a testament to this, but as time went on, we could see more people starting to see the potential of this house music rendition, with songs like “ Keeper”, “Jimmy Cooks”, and “Sticky” disrupting the streaming charts.
Kendrick – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
The long-overdue comeback from Kendrick with his fifth studio album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” is an exploration into the dark parts of himself and it’s impressive how he manages to make all these vulnerable songs sound so cohesive while still being true-to-heart writing about his innermost thoughts with no false pretenses or ambitions attached.
Kendrick Lamar has always been an imaginative explosive. He packs his music with perspectives, personifying the many characters and muses by giving them distinct voices that make them come alive through cadences or beat switches throughout each track on this album.
Harry Styles – Harry’s House
“Harry’s House” is Harry Styles like you’ve never heard him before, like the comfort and vulnerability we find in our own homes, it’s clear that this really is Harry’s house. And it’s his best album yet.
Gunna – DS4EVER
On DS4EVER, Gunna brings a surfeit of personal style. His raps, a blend of melodic gestures and whispered boasts, glide like an Aston Martin dashing along Biscayne Bay. It’s breezy and full of allusions to hot sex, macho boasts, and luxury accouterments.
While “Harry’s House” is more sonically adventurous and eclectically influenced than most of the music Styles made with One Direction, While “Harry’s House” is more sonically adventurous and eclectically influenced than most of the music Styles made with One Direction.