As SHiiKANE brought their sass and pop in their self-directed music video “Answer Me”, Major Lazer assembled collaborators that orchestrated super cool videos off their 2018 Africa project, with Wizkid bringing the “Fever” in steamy video alongside Tiwa Savage. Mr. Eazi’s “Jogede” music video was a circus—just like African politics and governance! It’s never easy to pick but here’s my best of the best coming in no particular order:
1. Naiboi – 2 IN 1 (Director: Naiboi & The Stars)
Naiboi is not new to making hit records but in “2 IN 1” he outdid himself, this time making a video just as big as a song. He is marshaling his celebrity friends and media personalities in a brilliant and original concept that had me going back to YouTube to watch it over and over again! There is something about how this video will make you feel uplifted. I don’t know what it is but because I know how sweet, down to earth and kind Naiboi is—maybe it’s just his genius or the fact that all the stars sang out their lyrics as if it really was their song 🙂
2. Yemi Alade – Bum Bum (Director: Sesan)
“Bum Bum” music video currently at over 18 Million YouTube views became an instant hit and success, garnering over 3 Million Views in the first 3 weeks of its release. You hardly see Yemi Alade shaking her bum but in this music video shot and directed in Soweto, South Africa by leading cinematographer Sesan; Yemi and her dance crew dressed in hot pants get down to the catchy tune—a fusion of Dancehall and Afro beats. Also loved the sappeur-styled male dancers. With “Bum Bum”, Yemi got her biggest dance anthem yet that sparked a viral ‘Bum Bum Dance Challenge’ that went global.
3. Major Lazer feat. Burna Boy – All My Life (Director: Adriaan Louw)
As a group, Major Lazer, has always been on top of their audio-visual game. On their latest 2018 Africa project, they lend their global platform to trendsetting African artists as they blend music from across the continent. While doing so, they unite with South African video director: Adriaan Louw to deliver groundbreaking conceptual videos that breath out of them; the life and vibes of the cities of Dakar, Lagos, Durban and Accra. My best of them all is “All My Life” shot in Nigeria. From displaying the beaches of Nigeria (rare sighting outside of Nigeria), monumental elements of Naija’s bustle like the bridge on your way to Ojuelegba to scenes from the shrine; its cinematography is on point and takes the crown.
4. A Pass, Rouge, Fik Fameica feat. DJ Maphorisa – Midnight Drum (Director: Sam Coleman Production)
This has to be the coolest music video shot from Uganda! From the super crowded public transport terminus congested with matatus and buses, those dangerous yet fancy boda boda riders, a myriad street hawkers and dancers, to hot Chapatis cooking by the road side; I just love how the producers picked downtown Kampala and from smack in the middle of all the chaos, they brought out distinct and cool elements of East African street culture. Presented by Club Pilsener Credits, I have to shout the whole crew. From the music director to DOP: Devin Toselli, Wardrobe: Leanie van der Vyver / Bee Diamondhead and last but not least; the Art Director: Keenan McAdam for those dope laser lights and glow in the dark clothing.
5. Nasty C – Jungle (Director: Meji Alabi)
Nasty C is on top of his game right now. As a matter of fact, he has recently been crowned as the Most Streamed Artist in South Africa. My favourite track off his 2018 album: Strings And Bling is “Jungle”. Filmed in London and directed by Meji Alabi, its music video is a haunting representation of the jungle that is the entertainment industry and hip-hop scene in particular. Nasty C says: “Jungle represents Johannesburg and it’s also just what life becomes when you leave home to chase your dream no matter where you are.” Through clever cuts and quick transitions and the creation of a jungle: from a dead party with leftover drugs, the strip dancer to caged and uncaged men—this video sets apart Nasty C as the lyrical emcee who won’t be restricted nor regulated.
6. Short & Sweet – Sauti Sol (Director: Nate Thomas)
From an abandoned Nairobi Railways Station, Sauti Sol bring out creativity at its fullest drive while giving a classy twist to the Odi Dance, thanks to dance choreographer of the video: Oscar Mwalo. On Savara’s verse, Director Nate delivers on beautiful cinematography complete with a landscape of Nairobi’s towering edifices in the background. Being pioneers in many fronts, I commend Sauti Sol for bringing a classy twist to: the directing style, the Odi Dance (Kenya’s most trendy 2018 dance style) and even styling. It’s a one take music video i.e. filmed in one long take by a single camera for every scene. S/O to the styling squad: Oliver Asike (2ManySiblings), Brian Babu and Monoxrome. All the dancers stood out, so much that when Aggie the dance queen rose to fame thanks to her killer moves in the video – her outfit did too! 🙂 Fun fact: It’s Sauti Sol’s Most Viewed music video on YouTube in the shortest time.
7. Lay It Down – Tamy Moyo feat. Nutty O (Director: Andy Cutta)
Meet Tamy Moyo probably the youngest and most accomplished Zimbabwean singer you will meet this decade. At just 20 years old she already has one album: “The 18th Roller Coaster” released in 2016 when she was 18. Her immense talent and drive has seen her elevate to perform on major platforms alongside respected African icons like Oliver Mtukudzi. It was hard for me to pick between her latest two videos: “Tekere” and “Lay It Down” both directed by Andy Cutta but I ended up with the latter, for the song’s lyrics and Tamy’s majestic demeanor and styling is a stark representation of what she’s made of. She’s made for the stars and please allow me to lay this down for you—watch her journey as she is fast rising to be counted among Africa’s most gifted acts. In 2019, Tamy will be featured on Coke Studio Africa on the show’s Big Break segment.
8. Gatluak – Nyarwach (DOP: Josephat Ekiru Production)
What an honour 2018 was to work with Emmanuel Jal and his sister Nyarwach. Earlier on this year, the two released NAATH: a vivacious Afro Pop joint album drawing inspirations and sounds from the South Sudanese village. My favourite album track “Gatluak” is about Nyarwach dissing a man who she previously gave her heart to and he turned out to be a complete idiot. She actually calls him “a bastard boring man” in the song. I applaud Nyarwach for being the strong willed activist and war survivor that she is and using her witty voice and nature to uplift other women, especially from Southern Sudan and refugee camps, while standing up for justice. Shot in Kakuma, “Gatluak” music video is interesting aesthetically, I just wish the young people living at Refugee Camp and Turkana County would have done better with the cinematography and quality. Maybe, next time! For more: http://www.mystartproject.com
9. Science Student – Olamide (Director: Unlimited L.A)
With “Science Student”, I don’t want to say much about Olamide because he’s my personal favourite and I think every year I am featuring him in all my reviews. The boss of YBNL is so prolific and he works so F* hard; from releasing albums, hits and videos back to back –name it! With this video, I am giving him a nod for pushing the envelope. Critics say that “Science Student” is very similar to Michael Jackson’s Thriller but you know that they say about Imitation—it’s the sincerest form of flattery. I give King Baddo major points for these 3 things: the outfits, the sleek choreography that manages to do the Shoki in the Thriller ghostly hand-dance and the Say No To Drugs message in the song (don’t know why Naija banned it from radio).
10. Ye – Burna Boy (Director: Clarence Peters)
Through the lighting, just a few models in colourful unique regalia and Burna in his Fashion King element paying tribute to Fela Kuti, this minimalistic yet powerful music video arouses illusion of sorts. When YouTube picked Burna Boy for a spotlight as their global artist on the rise back in Oct 2018, it was “Ye” that hit the big screens at Times Square, New York. I would pick the same. Just by the way Clarence Peters plays with the lighting set up for this video can tell you that we are dealing with the best in the game!
BONUS: You might wanna check my best music videos from the last 2 years: