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An African Street Music Playlist: The Best Ten

An African Street Music Playlist: The Best Ten

Street music

The tracks chosen on this list sashay between Afrobeats, Amapiano, Asakaa drill to modernised Fuji…

By Emmanuel Daraloye

Street music is life. They are around us, and we can’t run away from them. From the CD seller down the street to the birthday shindig, down to the popular clubs around us. We live on street music. Long ago, street music reigned only where they were born, but recently, it has been able to transcend borders. They are beginning to win awards and garner millions of streams on digital platforms.

Afrocritik takes a flight through Africa to list out the top ten street songs released in the last decade. Street music is filled with lingo, the beats are crude and mostly upbeat with the trope straddling between self-motivation, true-life stories, and love. The tracks chosen on this list sashay between Afrobeats, Amapiano, Asakaa drill to modernised Fuji.

Waah! — Diamond Platnumz ft. Koffi Olomide

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Two superstars from two different generations meet to curate a banging song for the street, dance floor, clubs, and bars. Koffi Olomide and Diamond Platnumz have paid their dues in their respective countries. A collaboration long overdue, when it finally came, pulled people to it. It currently sits on 106 million streams on Youtube. Waah explores a slower version of Soukous with the drum and baseline highlighting the production.

Second Sermon Remix— Black Sherif ft. Burna Boy

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While Shatta Wale keeps on fanning the Nigeria and Ghana rivalry, Black Sherif keeps raking in the streams and honour. With a guest spot by Burna Boy, the remix of “Second Sermon” is a beautiful delight. A mixture of Drill mixed with the Twi language, Black Sheriff went all out in this song, from paying tribute to his aunty, to warning talkative boys. Burna Boy’s input was spot on; he adhered to the narrative, basking in his recent successes. Second Sermon remix is one of the street jams you need.

Ke Star Remix — Focalistic ft. Davido & Virgo Deep

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This song might have been one of the standout mixtures of Afrobeats and Amapiano. With two great sounds, and two great artists from two different countries. “Ke Star” remix featured DMW boss, Davido, who spotlights some of his popular sayings: Tule, Ko wole, etc. Beyond music, this song was perhaps another attempt at solidifying the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa after the 2019 Xenophobic attack.

My Jaber — H_art the band ft. Brizy Annechild

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What are Fridays for? You guessed right: party, booze, and more. H_art the band seems to have epitomised this more on their gooey, mid-tempo, and choral-like tune. One awesome attribute of this track is the seamless flow of the instrumental.

Yaba Buluku Remix — DJ Tarico ft. Burna Boy & Preck, Nelson Tivane

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There is Yaba, and there is Yaba Buluku. The former is a local government in Lagos, and the latter is an expression in Mozambique that means “something is in the pants.” DJ Tarico and his fellows have Burna Boy to thank for his input on the “Yaba Buluku” remix. It’s a reaffirmation of the street credibility of the self-proclaimed African Giant. The first verse is a mix of pop culture references and self acclamation. With uncredited Poco Lee ad libs in the background, “Yaba Buluku” is a bright and cross-country collaboration.

Zazoo Zehh — Portable ft. Olamide and Poco Lee

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Portable, the street hype man turned musician, smiles to the bank with his breakout single, “Zazoo Zehh.” A mix of Fuji and Sakara music with a touch of Afrobeats, the song is a mix of different ingredients. Olamide’s opening verse laid the foundation for Poco Lee to build on. The song is filled with pop culture references, and name dropping such as Ojo Sneh, Kogbagidi, Black Camaru, etc.

Penalty — Small Doctor

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Built on football lingo, Small Doctor’s music crossed over to Lagos Island from his Agege base with his classic song, “Penalty.” Months before this release, his sound had failed to penetrate the Island. Songs like “Mosquito killer,” and “Uzobu” were darlings of his mainland fans. With “Penalty,” the door was opened to more fans across his primary demography. “Penalty” melds lines from King Sunny Ade, MI Abaga, children’s folk songs, and more. A larger part of the song was used to name-drop popular socialites.

Shepeteri — Idowest, Dammy Krane & Slimcase

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What’s the qualification for the shepeteri club of waywardness? First things first, get money, or you might be able to chill with the big boys. “Shepeteri” as used in this context might mean a lady of the world, or a frequent party-goer. Idowest alongside Slimcase and Dammy Krane pay tribute to Shepeteri with their Agidigbo-inflected tune.

One Corner — Patapaa ft. Ras Cann & Mr. Loyalty

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One Corner,” once rife in Africa, still brings a smile to the faces of listeners. It is hilarious, but the message is not lost. The instrumental would drive you to the dance floor. It’s that magical.

Sore Remix — Yaw Tog Ft Stormzy & Kwesi Arthur

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A breakout star from the Asakaa Drill scene, Yaw Tog joined forces with two heavyweights for the remix of “Sore.” Yaw Tog became the first Ghanaian Drill artist to reach one million views on YouTube. The gritty and snazzy production is met with fierce flows as each rapper steps to the mic and unloads bars.


Emmanuel Daraloye is a music critic with over 400 album reviews in his archive. His bylines have appeared in The Cable Newspaper, The Lagos Review, Vanguard Newspaper, Legit News, Rank Magazine, Independent Newspaper, Modern Ghana Web, Nigerian Tribune, and others.

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