October brought us a fantastic roster of Afrobeats albums, each of which offers an exciting and engaging musical trip. From Blaqbonez’s lyrical prowess to BNXN’s captivating rhythms, this month’s pick exemplifies the genre’s dynamic and ever-evolving character. Join us as we look at the top 5 Afrobeats albums from October, featuring outstanding artists like Kuami Eugene, NSG, and Darkovibes.
BNXN – Sincerely, Benson
After great expectation, the renowned Nigerian singer-songwriter once known as Buju but now known as Bnxn has finally released his long-awaited first album, “Sincerely, Benson.” This album has been one of the most anxiously anticipated Nigerian projects of 2023, causing a flurry of excitement in the music industry.
“Sincerely, Benson” is a 15-track album that has been meticulously selected to give a one-of-a-kind and engaging audio voyage. What truly sets this album apart is not only its vast and diversified musical environment, but also the incredible list of guest musicians who have donated their extraordinary talents to elevate the project. Popcaan, the skilled wordsmith Headie One, the melodious Kizz Daniel, the talented Seyi Vibez, the burgeoning star Taves, and the iconic and legendary 2Baba all contributed to this album.
As “Sincerely, Benson” plays, it is clear that Bnxn has once more shown why he is known as the “man with the golden pen” in the Nigerian music scene. His lyrical skill and songwriting elegance shine brightly throughout the album, maintaining his position as one of Nigeria’s finest songwriters. Each tune on the album exemplifies his talent and creative ability, enthralling listeners with meaningful lyricism, emotional depth, and irresistible melodies.
“Sincerely, Benson” is an excellent album, a musical journey that showcases Bnxn’s amazing talents and cements his status as a powerful force in the Nigerian music industry. The album exemplifies Nigerian music’s boundless inventiveness and promise, and it will be remembered for years to come.
ODUMODUBLVCK – Eziokwu
ODUMODUBLVCK is nothing if not candid. In the less-than-a-year period since he signed to NATIVE Records, the Abuja-based rapper has staged a coup on mainstream Nigerian pop thanks to the stream-of-consciousness raps and charismatic persona that made him an underground icon. A subversive sound that combines elements of hip-hop, neo-R&B and highlife to create his signature Okporoko music has also played a role, and quickly made the singer (born Tochukwu Ojogwu) a muse.
Songs like “PICANTO”, “DECLAN RICE” and “Oganigwe” [his 2023 collaboration with Zlatan] have propped up his profile and functioned as a snapshot into the heart and mind of ODUMODUBLVCK—and his adopted city by extension. On his mixtape EZIOKWU, a word in his native Igbo language which translates to “truth”, the artist expands on his identity and worldview.
Across the project’s 14 songs, ODUMODUBLVCK playfully expands his Okporoko sound and remains faithful to himself, his convictions and his community in word and action. The Reeplay-featuring “SAINT OBI” is a booming hip-hop collab that taps into the pulse and bounce of Nigeria’s capital city. At the same time “MC OLUOMO” is cut from the same defiant streak that birthed his viral single, “DECLAN RICE”.
In other parts of EZIOKWU, ODUMODUBLVCK is reflecting on where he has come from and what dreams still lie ahead of him, as he does in tandem with fellow pop rap star, Blaqbonez, on “TESLA BOY”. His love for women also plays a central role on the album. PsychoYP and Teezee join the rapper for an ode to money and the art of stripping on “STRIPPERS ANTHEM” and he gleefully shares positive feedback from a partner after an intimate session on “COMMEND”. T
aken together with wispy, emotive tracks—like the Amaarae-featuring “KUBOLOR”, and “BLOOD ON THE DANCEFLOOR”, which unites the artist with Wale and Bloody Civilian—EZIOKWU offers a glimpse into the mind of a star trying to stay true to himself.
Kuami Eugene – Love & Chaos
Ghanaian music sensation Kuami Eugene has delivered on his promise to music fans by releasing his highly awaited third studio album, ‘Love & Chaos.’ This outstanding album, which includes thirteen exciting songs, not only shows off Kuami Eugene’s musical brilliance but also notable international collaborations with musicians such as Rotimi, Guchi, Magixx, Weezy, and Backroad Gee.
Before the album was officially released, Kuami Eugene enticed his fans with two outstanding songs, “Cryptocurrency” with Rotimi and “Fate.” These two tracks, which are both from the album “Love & Chaos,” are now incredibly well-known.
This album is no exception to Kuami Eugene’s painstaking approach to music, which is well recognized. His dedication to producing a well-planned, excellent undertaking that transcends musical borders is made clear by “Love & Chaos.”
Darkovibes – ButIFly
It’s an exhilarating time for music lovers as Ghanaian Afro-fusion sensation Darkovibes unveils his highly-anticipated sophomore album, ‘ButiFly’ following the success of the precursory long-length project ‘Kpanlogo’ released in 2020. After months of eager anticipation, this musical masterpiece is finally here, and it’s nothing short of spectacular.
‘ButiFly’ is a seven-track album that brings together an ensemble of stars. Darkovibes collaborates with an impressive lineup of artists, including Wizkid, Davido, King Promise, M.anifest, Not3s, Omar Sterling, Jupitar, and Oxlade.
Speaking about the album, Darkovibes shared his inspiration, saying, “Many times I feel like I can’t fly, like I’ll never make it or ever be a better man like a better version of myself BUTiFLY above it all some way some how I don’t even know how but I am inspired and I want to share that with my family.”
‘ButiFly’ is more than just an album; it’s a meticulously crafted musical journey. Darkovibes has paid keen attention to the arrangement of the songs, creating an experience that leaves listeners eagerly anticipating what comes next. Each track seamlessly flows into the next, taking the audience on a captivating sonic adventure.
What truly sets ‘ButiFly’ apart is how perfectly the featured artists align with the themes of each song. Their contributions resonate effortlessly with the listener, enhancing the emotional impact of the album. Darkovibes has masterfully curated this project, ensuring that every element, from lyrics to melodies, fits harmoniously.
This album isn’t only for one listen; it has a lot of replay value. ‘ButiFly’ reveals fresh layers of depth and meaning with each performance. It lives up to the enormous expectation and buzz that accompanied its release.If you’re looking for an album with both musical creativity and emotional impact, ‘ButiFly’ is well worth the hype.
NSG – Area Boyz
NSG, the East London six-piece band whose name aptly stands for Nigeria Slash Ghana, is redefining the Afroswing landscape with their long-awaited debut album, “Area Boy.” This group brings unshakable anthems that resonate with faith, companionship, and unwavering dedication to the hustle, delivered directly from a Hackney estate.
Known for their spiritually informed Afroswing style, NSG has been a source of joy in the everyday lives of many. Their roots trace back to West Africa’s powerhouse nations, Nigeria and Ghana, and in their 2020 release, “Roots,” they proudly declared themselves as diasporic vibe controllers.
In “Area Boy,” NSG continues to break cultural boundaries. When asked about the album’s title, group member Papii Abz explained that it was a term used to insult them on a social platform. However, they decided to reclaim it and change its meaning. According to Abz, NSG aims to redefine what it means to be an “area boy.” They see themselves as diamonds in the dirt, representing their struggling council estates, and they aim to be a positive influence in these communities.
NSG’s debut album showcases all six members stepping up to deliver vibrant tracks. With production from talented artists like JAE5, Diztortion, and Supa Dups, their music is a celebration of culture. It seamlessly blends Nigerian pidgin with amapiano (“NELLA ROSE”), delivers psychedelic-fueled anthems (“ZOMBIE”), and even reunites with their honorary “seventh member” Tion Wayne on “POCKET-WATCHING.”
Papii Abz emphasizes that NSG is more than just a sum of its individual members. They understand the importance of each member’s contribution, and this understanding allows them to play their parts effectively. Sonically, their music is deeply rooted in the motherland, celebrating African rhythms. Any fusion or experimentation with other elements is a reflection of their shared interests and creative decisions.
“Area Boy” is not just an album; it’s a cultural movement, and NSG is at the forefront, leading the charge to redefine Afroswing and bring the joy of their heritage to the world.
Blaqbonez – Emeka Must Shine
In the ever-evolving world of Nigerian music, Blaqbonez has consistently been at the forefront of creativity and innovation. His 2023 album, “Emeka Must Shine,” is a testament to his versatility and artistic growth. The album is a vibrant celebration of life, seamlessly merging different sonic personalities into a 14-track masterpiece.
For Blaqbonez, this album is a party. It’s a musical journey that invites listeners to let go of their worries and embrace the beautiful aspects of life. It’s about celebrating the late nights, the luxuries, and the joy of the present moment. Blaqbonez’s pen is in a playful mood, crafting lyrics that reflect the pleasures of life, from cars and money to the allure of women.
“Emeka Must Shine” is a collaborative effort that brings together a constellation of music stars, including Zlatan, Young Jonn, Odumodublvck, Victony, Jeriq, Don Jazzy, Projexx, and Black Sheriff. Each artist contributes to the album’s rich tapestry, adding their unique flavors to the mix.