2019 ended on a high note. 2020 hasn’t started in the same vein, and that sucks. In the midst of deadly viruses, global panic and everything in between, we look back on some interesting albums of 2019.
Sekisupervillain – Seki Supervillain
This project gets the tag of “interesting” for different reasons. Sure, it actually has bops. But Seki brings a childish playfulness to his eponymous body of work. Combining half-serious lyrics over ticking trap beats is Seki’s recipe for this ultimate cool kid project. He does well to execute mosh pit anthems like “Malibu” and “Get the bag”, as well as kickback soundtracks like “Philosopher Stone” and “Pads”.
Maseworld – Maison2500
Maison2500 comes across to me as someone who tries to replicate the music of his personal faves. Which isn’t a bad thing. Although, purists might wonder if he has his own music identity. Nevertheless, everyone who’s heard Maseworld likes it. He is unwavering with his cadence and his flows, and through this project, Mase is slowly but surely building a cult following for himself.
dnt’dlt – AYLØ
The follow up from his preceding “Insert Project Name” EP serves as a darker side of the same coin. AYLØ continues to let his music reflect who he is. His attention to detail means that even his song titles reflect his personal states of mind. Whether he’s singing, rapping, gritty or subtle, AYLØ grabs your attention all through dnt’dlt.
inDigo – DaRe and Tim Lyre
Another particularly interesting project. DaRe and Tim Lyre are at their genre-bending best. All the guest artists performed to their best abilities. Even more interesting is the fact that each song is exactly 3 minutes, and named after the days of the week. Great work in a very well put together project.
GOLD – Le Mav and Tay Iwar
Short, sweet and filled with vibes. Tay Iwar’s vocals fit like a glove on Le Mav’s production. And I don’t think listeners expected anything less. Whether it’s the bouncy “Heat”, “Gun Fighter” with its heavy bass or the subtleness of “Karma”, there is a song for most moods. You wouldn’t know how much you need this project until you listen to it.
Love is Contagious – Wurld
Upon the release of this project, many people might have been disappointed. None of the songs sound anything like everyone’s favorite “Trobul.” But not us. Wurld’s songwriting prowess is his strongest point, which led to a beautifully worded project. His Yoruba roots are his priority, and this is shown in the vernacular embellishments and native percussion. Wurld’s music is, indeed, contagious. It was quite of the most interesting albums of 2019.
Dark Moon Flower – Shane Eagle
Ah, yes. The Jo-burg native is hip-hop through and through. Shane Eagle gets it right with most things — beat selection, features and even skits. Most importantly, his swag is evident through all of it. Every song on Dark Moon Flower has something to offer. It may take a while to fully resonate with the listener because there’s a lot to pay attention to. But I’m sure that’s a consequence Shane is willing to bear.
Mandy & The Jungle – Santi
Rarely do artists exceed public hype and expectations when it comes to the release of a new project. This proves Santi is indeed, a unicorn. From it’s release in May 2019 till now almost a year later, the album only gets better. Songs like Morocco, Turn Down Mami and RX-64 will forever be on hipster playlists. He also gives us major anthems like Rapid Fire and Raw Dinner which also have really unique visuals. “Santino” definitely stamps his legacy as a complete artist with this one.
Paradise – Suté Iwar
Suté is our pilot on the Time Express on his album, Paradise. He flies us through several themes like love and pan-africanism, and ends with an admonishment for what the future holds; while producing all songs bar one. This is a demonstration of the older Iwar brother’s craftsmanship. Multifaceted and multitalented, music comes easy to Suté.
Gemini – Tay Iwar
The younger of the Iwar brothers displays a true show of duality on this project. In the midst of all positives, the most consistent is the production quality. It seems the Iwar brothers have something in common. Always gentle, and even occasionally sexual, Tay is the embodiment of the total R&B package.
Enjoy Your Life – Lady Donli
Enjoy Your Life spares no effort in passing across its message. One it passes exceptionally well. An eclectic mix of Donli’s various musical influences and experiences—taken together, it is arguably one of the best representations of Nigeria’s vibrant alté scene. More so, it reinforces Lady Donli’s uncompromising position as alté’s vanguard.
Additional thoughts by Lolade Manuel and Danie Rayn.