The noteworthy albums released in July included Burna Boy’s “Love Damini” LP, King Promise’s “5 Star” sophomore studio album, and Omah Lay’s masterpiece “Boy Alone.” The frenzy that surrounded each of these albums was a clear indication that they were among the most anticipated musical releases of the year.
The albums that we at DC Leakers selected for this month’s top five are only a handful of them.
Have A Look Below.
King Promise – 5 Star
Ghanaian singer-songwriter King Promise, real name Gregory Bortey Newman, continues on the success of his 2019 debut, As Promised, by creatively reworking highlife and hiplife styles using modern pop and R&B frameworks. While the guest features on 5 Star’s songs, which span British drill, Dutch and Nigerian Afropop, and American hip-hop, add synergistic strength to half of the songs, the other half highlight King Promise as a strong soloist.
His second album’s recording likewise took place during times of intense introspection and comfort:
“Lockdown literally had my ass sitting at home, and I had enough time to think about what really matters—family, life, and love.” The end result is a persuasive blend of sincere lyrics and all-encompassing production from a variety of indigenous and Afro-diasporic artists. One tenet is followed throughout: “I only go to the studio to make music that I love, and it’s always worked for me. I only go to the studio to make music that I love.
Burna Boy – Love, Damini
The 19-track album, which features Ed Sheeran, J Balvin, Popcaan, J Hus, Khalid, Kehlani, Blxst, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Victony incorporates genres like Afrobeats, dancehall, and R&B.
Gyakie – My Diary
It took a chance encounter with a producer for Ghanaian singer-songwriter Gyakie to explore a musical career of her own, despite being the daughter of renowned highlife artist Ernest “Owoahene” Nana Acheampong (one-half of the Lumba Brothers combo). Despite the fact that her father was a legendary musician, she says, “I didn’t have it in mind that I wanted to perform music as a job at all.” She first met Sosa in 2019 while she was a student of international business at the University of Science and Technology in Ghana. She claims that after he promised to send her some beats, the lyrics just “started flowing.”
“When my first song, ‘Love Is Pretty’, came out, the responses that I got from people…I was mind-blown,” Gyakie confesses. “Then I realised that, no, this is looking like something I need to keep doing.” She followed that up with hits like “Never Like This”, which largely featured Twi lyrics and endeared her to audiences in Ghana, while the Afrobeats single “Forever”—and the remix collab with Nigerian hitmaker Omah Lay—quickly went viral, inspiring a wave of dance challenges.
Although she gives credit to musicians like Ghanaian singer Efya and Nigerian singer-songwriter A’a for inspiring her varied, cross-genre Afro-fusion style, which combines elements of highlife, hip-hop, reggae, and soul, she believes her father to be her greatest inspiration. “My dad was always playing highlife music around me,” she says. Since all the legends were performing highlife, it is really significant to me and to everyone from Ghana, in particular. You get that classic African feeling from highlife music. I fervently hope that most musicians, especially up-and-coming ones, will attempt to adopt highlife sounds and successfully spread them throughout the rest of the world.
Her second EP, MY DIARY, which comes after her maiden EP, 2020’s Seed, shows more facets of her personality. I’m talking about experiences I’ve had, things I might not have said out, she claims. “I discuss a variety of topics, including my journey and current circumstances. It’s like a peek inside my life, and my fans get to join me there.
Omah Lay – Boy Alone
The debut album by Omah Lay is a wonderful collection of songs. Though the Nigerian Afro-fusion artist is a great songwriter, as seen by his several chart-topping songs, collaborations, and pair of EPs released in 2020—Get Layd and What Have We Done—it remained to be seen if he could sustain this success over the course of an entire album.
The 14 songs on Boy Alone dispel any uncertainty. Every song, whether it’s about heartbreak or childhood dreams, sensual pleasures, or his bouts with despair, combines biography with fantasy, earnest songwriting, and formal, yet alluring vocals.
O’Kenneth & Reggie – Straight Outta Kumerica 2
On the sequel to 2020’s Straight Outta Kumerica, Asakaa frontmen Reggie and O’Kenneth give a new interpretation to Ghanaian chill as they rap faux-softly about life’s little pleasures in Twi, English, pidgin and Hausa.
They also cover the complex story of their background growing up in Kumasi, Ghana’s second-biggest city and the spiritual home of Asakaa drill music. A slew of collaborators also join in on the party, including CHICOGOD, Kwaku DMC and New York duo G4 Boyz.