We’ve highlighted some of the most exciting tunes from the diaspora this year so we couldn’t close out without an official “best of” list. While we’re looking directly to the continent, there was plenty of music outside our borders that inspi
red. Here are our editors’ picks for 2012.
Says Phiona Okumu, editor:
Just A Band, Sorry For The Delay
On Just A Band’s 2012 album Sorry For The Delay, they had me at their lead single, Probably for Lovers, which will probably go down as the song I played the most this year. At first I was hesitant to get into the rest of the album, worried I couldn’t
best the feeling from the addictive dreamy pop song. Was I ever wrong!
E.L, Something Else
Coming up on the wave of Azonto (having produced Sarkodie’s monster hit U Go Kill Me on which he features, and his own anthem Obuu Mo) there was always the risk that E.L would be pidgen-holed as a gimmick artist with a limited creative shelf life. Something Else – his 25-track deep debut album – debunks every possible doubt. This rapper/singer/producer/sound engineer is here for the long haul
FOKN Bois, FOKN Wit Ewe
Not for the faint of heart – or brain – Wanlov and M3nsa pile on the smarts with their first official album as a duo. There is a wealth of subject matter on here to get offended by, but if that’s where your experience of FOKN Bois ends you’re doing it wrong. Together or apart, these two prove time and again why they are one of the most important voices Ghana’s rap scene has got.
Synik, Syn City
This was the big sweeper this year at the Zimbabwe Hiphop Awards with wins including Best Hip-hop Album of the Year. Not bad for newcomer Synik who has somehow managed to recruit every A-lister on the scene for an appearance. The defining moment for me on this album is the party starter Power Cut. Nothing says daily Zim life like the sound of that power generator being fired up. This is candid, fun and honest story-telling.
Says Lynsey Chutel, contributing editor:
Zaki Ibrahim’s Every Opposite took over as one of my favorite albums of the year. So much so that The Do became my soundtrack to change. The Kids are Talking was my ‘bite me’ moment and the Nick Holder remix of Heart Beat reminded me to have a little fun. Zaki’s a fierce warrior and a vulnerable soul all at the same time, always coming up with something unexpected, much like the whole album.
2012 was also rough and for the sake of balance I desperately needed to find the fun so Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream was just easy all the way. Here’s hoping I still get to have that relaxed poolside summer Do You, Kaleidoscope Dream and Where’s the Fun in Forever made me long for.
Says Yolanda Sangweni, editor:
Kanyi, Iintombi Zifikile (the girls are here)
It’s rare that we get to hear from African female emcees (and there are plenty). Kanyi is a fresh, and super eloquent, voice for the “born free” generation of South Africa.
Mokoomba, Rising Tide
Young voices from Zimbabwe? Imagine that. Those of living outside the continent rarely get a peak into what Zimbabwean youth are listening to. Enter Mokoomba with their vibrant, loud sound based on their native rhythms and a bit of reggae.
Cody ChestnuTT, Landing on a Hundred
A decade after releasing his critically-acclaimed debut The Headphone Masterpiece, most of us imagined Cody ChestnuTT had disappeared into the land of Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo, never to return. Luckily ChestnuTT returned with Landing on a Hundred, a collection of the kind of conscious soul perfected by Marvin Gaye and so lacking in our current musical landscape. ChestnuTT shines on
songs like Till I Met Thee and What Kind of Cool (Will We Think of Next). A definite must-have.
Lianne La Havas, Is Your Love Big Enough?
Part folk soul, part indie rock and jazz, Lianne la Havas debut album was the perfect genre straddler for those of us who love both categories. Thoughtful (and too often heartbreaking) ballads like Lost & Found guarantee she’s a voice, and thinker, we’ll be listening to for a good while.
And Daluxolo Moloantoa, AfriPOP! features writer’s picks:
- The Floacist, Floetry RE:Birth
- Laura Mvula, Can’t Live with The World
- Tokollo Magesh, Heist
- The Very Best, MTMTMK
- Nas, Life is Good
What were your favorite albums/ songs of 2012?