The Best South African Songs Out Right Now
Written by ABR on 31/01/2023
Here are the South African songs and music videos that caught our attention this month.
For more music lists, check out our Songs You Need to Hear This Week roundups and our regional monthly lists for Nigeria, Ghana, and East Africa.
Bongeziwe Mabandla “Noba Bangathini”
“Noba Bengathini” is singer-songwriter Bongeziwe Mabandla’s first original release since his 2020 critically acclaimed album iimini. Like most of his catalog, the track blends folk inclinations with electronic music, resulting in a euphoric love anthem.
Msaki x Tubatsi “Zibonakalise”
The amazingly talented Msaki and Tubatsi of the band Urban Village team up on “Zibonakalise.” The folk-fueled song serves as a precursor to their upcoming project Synthetic Hearts, which is co-produced by French cellist Clément Petit and Frédéric Soulard. The song comes off the back of Msaki’s announcement of a hiatus from the music industry.
AKA & Khuli Chana “Prada”
AKA warms fans up to the release of his upcoming album Mass Country with “Prada.” The Khuli Chana-featuring single sees the duo pair up for the first time this decade after having collaborated on “I Want It All” and “Bang” from AKA’s debut studio album Alter Ego. The single comes after the hit song “Lemons (Lemonade) and “Paradise” and follows the same format of sampling classic house songs that the rapper has used over the tenure of his career.
Tyla “Been Thinking”
Through the release of Beyoncé’s Renaissance and Drake’s Honestly, Never Mind albums, house music has had a resurgence within the global pop sphere in 2022. Breakout act Tyla follows in the same terrain, and also seamlessly blends R&B melodies and amapiano embellishments on her latest single “Been Thinking.” The house-inflected tune is accompanied by cinematic visuals that showcase the fast-rising sensation’s dance moves.
Lwah Ndlunkulu “Ngiyeza”
Inkabi Records’ Lwah Ndlunkulu ushers 2023 with the heart-warming ballad “Ngiyeza.” On the track, the rising singer-songwriter expresses her undying love for her romantic partner and her relentless wish for them to stay together. Much like her previous single, the song is produced by and has additional vocals from her label mates Xowla (Stallion) and Siya Ntuli.
Sjava, Q Twins & Mzukulu “Isoka”
Revered musician Sjava returns to the fore with his third album, Isbuko. The album, named after the isiZulu word for mirror, is at most times self-reflective as Sjava muses about love, family, spirituality, nature and life in its entirety. The album boasts features and productions from his longtime collaborators Emtee, Saudi and Ruff, as well as 1020 Cartel’s Anzo and contemporary maskandi acts like Mzukulu, Inkos’yamagcokama and Udumakahle. The Afro-soul categorised Isbuko bridges the gap between hip-hop, Afropop, maskandi and lo-fi sensibilities, and is patched together by its resonant messaging to make it cohesive.
2Point1 “Stimela” ft Ntate Stunna & Nthabi Sings
In December, duo 2Point1 released their track “Stimela” and it quickly started gaining traction on TikTok. To capitalise on this, they have put out the song’s disco-era-inspired music video, shot and director by Toolz Films.
Digital Sangoma ‘Nyakomtsha Themba’
Alternative artist Digital Sangoma welcomed the new year with the aptly-titled “Nyakomtsha Themba.” On the track, he inspires hope and ponders what the year has in store. “Nyakomtsha Themba” is a sincere and emotive tune that makes for a perfect soundtrack to the season of resolutions and vision boards.
Blxckie ‘papa fetti’
Along with his versatile talent, Blxckie’s unrivaled work ethic has made him stand out. From regularly putting out songs during the peak of the pandemic to dropping multi-genre albums in the past year, Blxckie returns with a two-track drop to usher 2023. The trap-fuelled “fetti” sees Somnyama collaborate with Emtee for the time as he reflects “who you know popped like me in a pandemic”.
Clout Internet Boyz ‘Clout Internet Boyz 2’
Blxckie and his Soundcloud rap collective Clout Internet Boyz connect again to share the sequel to their mixtape. The collaborative effort sees the crew explore the different soundscapes of hip-hop, from the punchy trap of “Fruit Punch” to melodic raps on songs like “Betray” and “Nu Pocket.” Members Leodaleo, Voltron, SoulKit and the others all get their fair chance to shine on the tape. Though they are now at different stages of their respective careers, their decision to put another project together is commendable.
Majorsteez “Changitse” ft. Emtee & Roiii
Charismatic hip hop duo Majorsteez tapped Emtee and Roiii for their latest drill-leaning single, “Changitse.” The song uses the popular phrase “dilo de changitse” which translates to “things have changed,”, mostly used to signal the improvement in one’s life.