Six months into the year and I think it’s safe to say that 2022 has already served us with more incredible music than 2021.
Or maybe it’s the fact that we’re well and truly outside at last after two years of being cooped up under lockdown. Whatever it is, the music is hitting differently right now.
Here, we look back at the year that’s been for the five best gems thus far:
Daliwonga ft Mellow & Sleazy and MJ – “Abo Mvelo”
“Abo Mvelo” is one of those rare amapiano tunes that hit on arrival and became a huge anthem almost instantly.
When Blaqboy Music star Daliwonga first teased the song early in the year on his Instagram it flew so quickly that by the time he officially released the song, we all already knew that infectious hook word for word.
It only dropped in March but it’s already far and away the biggest song of his still fledgling career with over four million streams on Spotify.
Samthing Soweto – “Amagents”
This might seem like a premature entry into this list, and maybe it is — “Amagents” has only been out for about a week.
But we don’t need any more time to know that Samthing Soweto, returning from a two year hiatus, came through with a special record that instantly beats out almost every other song to come out this year.
Also, to be fair, “Amagents” has been a viral hit on TikTok since way before it was released thanks to a short clip the 34-year-old shared on the social media platform in January.
Burna Boy – “Last Last”
If we’re being honest, Burna Boy’s recent releases have been rather lukewarm.
His three most recent releases “Questions”, with legendary Nigerian record producer Don Jazzy, “Want It All” with US star Polo G and “B’dor” with Wizkid, were all pretty good.
But the afro fusion star isn’t known for being just pretty good. So when “Last Last” dropped two months back, expectations were not very high. But my oh my did Burna show up here.
The “Ye” hitmaker is in full form as he flexes his muscle over a raging beat that’s built to get your head bopping. More of this on the upcoming album, please.
Kendrick Lamar ft. Beth Gibbons – “Mother I Sober”
Kendrick Lamar’s recently released album “Mr Morale and The Big Steppers” is a difficult listen.
With a reputation as lofty and distinguished as his, any release by the genius wordsmith is bound to be heavily dissected and scrutinized more than most.
With the expectations that high, the album generally falls flat. But there’s on gem on here: “Mother I Sober”.
On it, the Pulitzer award-winning artist brilliantly tells a deeply personal and riveting story about his mother and how his cousin was falsely accused of raping him as a young boy. Every line here is purposeful and hard-hitting. A masterpiece.
Kabza De Small ft Simmy, Njelic and MhawKeys – “Eningi”
Another recent release, Kabza De Small’s “Eningi” sees the amapiano pioneer in full form.
Similarly to “Amagents”, and much like many amapiano hits, a version of “Eningi” leaked online a few months before its official release in early June.
The final version though is simply sensational. With Kabza’s brilliant production as the bedrock, Simmy steals the show for me here as she delivers an angel-like refrain towards the end of the song as she pleads with God for an abundance of riches.