While Mali’s musical duo Amadou & Mariam dropped a fascinating retro-inspired video to their hit “Bofou Safou”, Yemi and Falz’s brought the best of Nollywood in “Single & Searching” music video. In “Zono Zoka” Asgegnew Ashko and Betty G are showing us the other side of Ethiopia and Ethiopian music. Maleek Berry and Sauti Sol with C4 Pedro delivered dope videos in “Been Calling” and “Love Again”, respectively. “Tomorrow” by Darkovibes from Ghana is just so beautiful! In summary, there are so many other artistes and videos that should or could be in this list but I can only fit my best 10! The list comes in no particular order, here goes:
1. Tresor – Beyond Redemption (Director: That Lucid Guy)
Tresor, the Congolese-born singer based in South Africa is by all means a treasure when it comes to music discovery. With his Creative Vision, director That Lucid Guy delivers on this masterpiece that properly represents not only Tresor’s originality and creativity, but a glimpse of what Africa really has to offer. I love its spectacular cinematography of Cape Town and the choice of models and their attires in different African prints and Kangas – these are colours of Africa. Tresor’s fashion sense is sapeur laced in grunge-infused African style. In the video he’s embodying elegance, class and a legend of rock star.
2. Octopizzo – TBT (Director: Russ Fraser)
Octopizzo teams up with USA producer Papichulo Music to deliver a bonafide hip-hop track fused in a touch of dancehall, once again showing off Octopizzo’s lyrical prowess and ever blazing punch lines. I think this is Octopizzo’s best video yet! His lyrics ‘bringing it back like TBT’ take me back to when his first music video “On Top” dropped. In just six years, Octopizzo is living his dream while many other rappers are still – well – just dreaming. His hard work, consistency and business acumen has got him now filming videos in LA. A rapper hailing deep from the ghettos of Kibera … ? If that isn’t inspiring I don’t know what is.
3. Olamide – WO!! (Director: Unlimited LA)
He didn’t have to but in “WO!” Olamide reminds us all why he is Nigeria’s King of street Rap. Artistes should have the autonomy to film music videos representing the vibes of cities and countries they live in—just like how with “WO!!” Olamide takes us deep into the streets of Lagos, to reveal a dance culture and style so unique to Africa. From the man going up the electricity poll, the lady in a yellow dress (who could be your mum), to the Posho Mill workers – I love how Unlimited LA seamlessly delivers on all the dance moves. I applaud Olamide’s vision for the song. It’s no wonder it sparked a vigorous dance competition that’s still trending!
4. Wizkid – Come Closer (Director: Alan Ferguson)
Director Alan Ferguson pays strict attention to aesthetic detail. From perfectly choreographed dance moves, to the creative direction and choice of costumes: vintage style cutting across decades and representing Africa’s robust fabric in its full colour and splendor – Ferguson delivers one of Wizkid’s visual masterpieces if not the one. Senegalese beauty, Khoudia Diop, self-professed melanin goddess, is among the beautiful models of “Come Closer” flaunting all the shades of melanin. I didn’t even realize that Drake was missing. Ferguson, also married to Solange Knowles, has directed videos to some of Solange’s biggest songs including “Don’t touch my hair.”
5. Vanessa Mdee, Maua Sama and Tommy Flavour – Bounce Along (Director: Justin Campos)
Cleverly directed by Vee’s long-term collaborator Justin Campos, “Bounce” takes the crown for what it represents beyond the visual stimulation. Let me break it down. Vee is known to always make major moves –here she is introducing us to Bongo’s future stars: Maua and Tommy. Yes – in case anyone forgot – it is the responsibility of established acts like Vee to hold their counterpart’s hands. There are so many artsy things about this video. Vee samples Wayne Wonder’s dancehall classic “Bounce Along”. On top of that – if you can listen to the lyrics, Vee and Maua battle over a lover—reminiscent of Brandy and Monica’s classic “The Boy Is Mine”. Great minds think alike.
6. Mitya x Blinky Bill – ATIE (Directors: Andrew Mageto and Osborne Macharia)
When Andrew and Osborne shot a video to Osborne’s League Of Extraordinary Supergrans in Kenya’s Lake Magadi region, there was only one soundtrack that fit the project perfectly— “ATIE” made by Blinky Bill and his Russian music producer friend, Mitya. It’s an epic sound for an epic project that Osborne talked about on an Instagram post: “This is the story of a group of former female circumcisers living in the vast salty plains of lake Magadi who abandoned their former practice and took up Ethnic Fashion as an alternative livelihood. They now shelter young girls escaping early marriage, teaching them on fashion and modeling.”
DJ Slick Stuart & Roja featuring Beenie Gunter – Pon Mi /Eddy Kenzo – Jubilation (Director: Sasha Vibz)
It’s a tie for two of the biggest songs from Uganda this year! Ugandan video director, Sasha Vibz, is a big name in the industry. This year he delivers two of Uganda’s most creative visuals. It might not be all out there but when it comes to music and fashion or style, Ugandans are quite eclectic and into partying. I am happy that both the videos of “Pon Mi” and “Jubilation” represent this!
With unique styling and articulate direction, “Pon Mi” and “Jubilation” perfectly represent Uganda’s robust culture, bold colours and fashion.
8. Jojo Abot – Gods Among Men + Matching (Directed and edited by Jojo Abot. Cinematography – Kgomotso Neto and Vusi Magubane)
Gods Among Men + Matching is a mash up of two songs that feature in Jojo’s 2017 released EP: NGIWUNKULUNKULU. The Jozi-shot music video is so different and bold just like Jojo as an individual and artist. This piece of art, she says, was inspired by time in South Africa and experience with the after effects of apartheid. I just dig that in the video she looks like some divine creature in a sci-fi movie and that she directs and edits this stuff herself! Yo!
9. Yemi Alade – Charliee (Director Paul Gambit)
Congratulations Yemi Alade for having the highest viewed music video by an African artist in Africa with “Johnny” that has surpassed 83 Million views at the point of writing this. “Charliee” was a strong first release for her latest album: Black Magic. Sparking an online dance challenge, the song deserved a befitting video, that Gambit delivers quite well—it’s cool, fun, creative and has elements of modern pop. I wrote about Gambit and Yemi in their 2015 “Sugar” video. You can check the post here!
10. Jean Daniel – Vitalo (Director Jean Daniel)
The super talented Congolese singer formerly based in South Africa recently relocated back to his native Congo, and with that releasing the music video of “Vitalo” –his latest sound. Self-directed – the music video flaunts his immense talent at directing. I love its raw vibe and feel – bringing us closer to the streets of Kintambo and Gombe areas of Kinshasa. His models aren’t your typical video vixens. Their dance moves aren’t also typically only Congolese – just like the song’s transitions. If there something like Congo’s new classic – this is it!
BONUS: You might wanna check my best music videos from the last 2 years: