2020: A Tale of Survival, Africanness, Music and More Music

Our favourite songs of 2020

“2020 has been a tough year” is now a cliche in the mouths of many. But hasn’t it really been a tough year? Many tragedies occurred, but we got through them with our fierce finesse, being the able-bodied, joyful Africans that we are.

Through COVID-19 and all others, we vibed, undeterred by the roadblocks that were in our way. We tapped our feet to the beautiful sounds of Afro R&B. We bent our backs and shook our waists to the free-flowing sounds of Highlife.

With attentiveness like never before, we shook our heads to the intuitive sounds of Afro-Soul. Around imaginary camp-fires, we sang along to beautiful Folk Music. With lots of fun on our faces, we tried to lip-sync the harmonies of Afro-Classicals. And with all the strength that we could muster, we leg-worked to the energetic rhythms of Afrobeats and Afro-Fusion.

And now, from the letch-list of THE MUSE AFRICA, we bring you our 20 favourite songs of 2020. These are songs with enough vibezzz to keep your heart afloat. These songs have helped us through our organisational constructions. And with them, we were motivated to serve you with our usual MUSE-ical ginger! So get a glass of chilled zobo and enjoy our list from bottom to top!

20. Nobody- Zuchu ft Joeboy

In this song by Tanzania’s Pop Culture sensation, Zuchu, there’s just enough love to keep you riding through. The Afrobeats sound is crafted around the beautiful language of Swahili, with bits of English, to not keep you in the dark.

It features Nigeria’s fast-rising Pop-star, Joeboy. And just like the magic from this single keeps Zuchu on many charts, It also keeps us high on life, each time.

19. Abụ Ya- Brymo ft. Lindsey Abudei

Lindsey Abudei takes the spotlight in this single, which is a spawn of Brymo‘s magic on the “Yellow” Album. She belts out the lead and even the background vocals with traditional serenity. The melodies are woven beautifully around the Igbo language. And the lyrics tell of the natural affection that a mother has for her child(ren), and her desire that they continue in that love.

Now, what else will be enough to get us through hard times, if not this beautiful dose of motherly love?

18. Nivute- Mercy Masika

This song witnesses Kenyan Gospel Artiste, Mercy Masika asking God to draw her close. Off the “Zaidi” album, this gospel sound is crafted also around the Swahili Language. (By now, we are quite sure that no member of our audience doubts the beauty of the language).

And yes, a joyful piece of gospel music like this one is just cool enough to strengthen the mind in hard times.

17. Sena Ala- Sho Madjozi

With this piece of South African House Music, Sho Madjozi had us hitting the dance floor with hardcore steppings. It’s the kind of music that you’d like to bang on your loud speakers. You should definitely steal this one from us.

And while you listen, let your mind adore the beautiful Tsonga culture that Sho incorporates.

16. Mystery Girl- Johnny Drille

Listen to this new sound from Nigeria‘s Johnny Drille and you’ll find yourself imagining that you’re at the club with some actual mystery human. Lol

Everyone was used to the serene Johnny with the slow-tempo, Soul sound. But he decided to switch things up with some upbeat music and we suspect that he has an album on the way. This is some cool ginger that will add vibezz to your day, each time you listen.

15. Koroba- Tiwa Savage

The single fact that this song title, Koroba, is actually a popular Yoruba hairstyle is intriguing. It adds some kinda extra vibe to the music. And you really can’t listen and not want to dance. Some factor that added ginger to our year, yeah?

By the way, when you see Tiwa Savage, help us tell her that we totally love the whole of her “Celia” album.

14. Exclusive- Adekunle Gold ft. Olayinka Ehi

This beautiful track and every other one on the Afro Pop Vol. 1 album is a vehement testament to Adekunle Gold‘s hard work, over the years. Since the breakout of his musical career in 2015, he’s been dropping beautiful Afro-Life bangers and recently, he switched things up with a new Afro-Pop sound.

If we had our way, we’d have featured the whole album but since we had to pick one, we settled for this one. And you definitely won’t deny the proficient songwriting, as well as Olayinka Ehi‘s sauce on it.

And before we forget, if you want to grow your beards, all you need to do is stream this whole album. Lol

13. Time- Brymo ft. Deborah Prest

Time exposes Brymo in his vulnerable state. He expresses himself so emotionally on this track and we feel it deeply. He talks about a bright light that reveals his scars and how this has helped him find healing. And isn’t healing one of the major things that we have all sought this year?

As one of the tracks from his experimental project, Libel, Brymo released this duet with the sensational Deborah Prest in November, 2020.

12. Damages- Tems

Nigerian vocal powerhouse and fast rising Alte/RnB singer, Tems, really turned it up with this beautiful song, “Damages”. This song was released as the lead single of her buzzing EP, “For Broken Ears”.

Tems is a passionate promoter of the Alternative Music movement and that’s just how we like it. With each vibe she dispenses, we move, buzz and muse. And that’s how we rolled, all through 2020.

11. Jerusalema (Remix)- Master KG ft. Burna Boy, Nomcebo Zikode

The Jerusalema Remix is undoubtedly one of the biggest Afrobeats songs of 2020. From the beat, to the beautiful Zulu language and the voices on the track, everything is such a beautiful banger!

The next time you see Master KG, Nomcebo Zikode and Burna Boy teaming up to do something, run for your life! Because you sure do not want to spend the half of a whole year on the dance floor. Lol

10. Lockdown- Koffee

Koffee‘s sauce on this piece was justwhat we needed to get through the Lockdown. And that Caribbean feel? It just feels so familiar and beautiful. We’ll trade it for nothing!

By the way, Koffee looks so much like Burna Boy, but that’s a story for another day. Lol

9. Rain- Yemi Alade ft Mzansi Youth Choir

Yemi Alade‘s Rain is exactly the type of song that you’d love to jam to in a Thursday afternoon traffic. And for some reason, it has this festive feel that’s hard to undermine. The music consistently reminds us of a beautiful Africa that we call our home and how we are “one people under the sun”.

Even if we tried, we wouldn’t be able to un-enjoy this beautiful sound that Yemi Alade has crafted together with the Mzansi Youth Choir. And really, it’s the message of the song for us.

8. Duduke- Simi

Motherhood is beautiful, yeah? On this track, Simi expresses her love for her then unborn child. Soon after this song was released, it became a household sound across Africa and Nigeria, specifically. And till now, it’s quite popular with both young and old.

With this easy-going vibe we shook bodies through 2020. (*Smacks lips*)

7. Shosholoza- Kurt Darren & Soweto Gospel Choir

The word, Shosholoza, is a mix of Zulu and Ndebele words. It’s originally  is an Nguni song that was sung by the mixed tribes of gold miners in South Africa. Now, hearing it again is something that gives goosebumps.

The manner with which the harmonies are crafted is so beautiful that any ear that it graces will keep feeling the impact, long after the tune has ended.

And probably contrary to popular opinion, we think this song by Kurt Darren and the Soweto Gospel Choir is more social than political/religious.

6. Adédọ̀tun- Brymo

Brymo‘s Adédọ̀tun is some real masterpiece! Anyone who is familiar with Yoruba Folk Music will understand the serenity of this song.

The song goes along to describe nature and how we humans aren’t really neglected, no matter how much we feel that way. Resonates perfectly with the infamous 2020, yeah?

When next you want to have a feel of nature and meditate, be sure to put this music on repeat.

5. Suzanna- Sauti Sol

With each year that passes, Sauti Sol extends their tentacles to more nations of the world. They never fail to serve us with the Musical Africanness that we crave.

Suzanna is particularly a Pop-culture-friendly tune and really it’s a must listen. Funnily enough, it’s theme is quite similar to that of Burna Boy’s Comma.

4. Black Parade- Beyoncé

Beyoncé‘s Black Parade? No long talks on this one! It elevates Blackness, so you should peruse. And while you do so, keep your heads high, because that’s the message of the song.

3. Anita- The Cavemen

The Cavemen came like a thunderstorm in 2020 and they have proven to us that they are here to stay! Since this album, “Roots“, was released, no day has gone by without us dancing to its Highlife rhythms.

And honestly, Anita is just one of our many favourites from this album. Woven around the Igbo language, Anita is a tune of romantic love.

By the way, don’t y’all think we should pin The Cavemen down for an interview? That’ll be nice, yeah?

2. You’re The One- Elaine

Sometimes, it’s just safe to lie down comfortably, put on headphones and listen to soulful R&B! This song was actually released in 2019, but it’s big break happened in 2020.

With this sound, we experience Elaine in her sensual moments and it’s absolutely adorable. We are specially watching out for Elaine and waiting to see what a terror she’ll be. Lol.

1. Time Flies- Burna Boy ft. Sauti Sol

And now, The number one on our list!!! We specifically love this song for it’s political controversy. And wouldn’t that be Burna’s specialty?

Off the Twice As Tall Album, “Time Flies” interpolates Marc Anthony‘s “I Need You“. It features vocals from Sauti Sol with a spoken outro from Burna Boy’s mother Bose Ogulu. And we consider the outro to be the best thing about the song.

When you listen, you’ll understand why this song deserves the first place on our list.

Bonus: To Be Young, Gifted And Black- Nina Simone

And right here, is a special bonus oldie for you!

To Be Young, Gifted and Black” is a song by Nina Simone with lyrics by Weldon Irvine. The song was originally recorded and released by Nina Simone in 1969. The song was also featured on her 1970 album Black Gold and was considered an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. Released as a single, it peaked at number eight on the R&B chart and number 76 on the Hot 100. The title and opening line of the song come from Lorraine Hansberry‘s autobiographical play, To Be Young, Gifted and Black.

With a resounding applause, we usher out a topsy-turvy 2020 and welcome a more beautiful 2021. We hope that you realise the calming effect the we experience, whenever you visit our blog.

We wish you a MUSE-ical 2021!

%d bloggers like this: