Old School Afropop

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There was a bit of discussion in the 2019 Afropop thread about having a place to discuss older African pop music (say pre-2010) so here is that thread! This thread is for pop music moreso than trad stuff but if something straddles the line that's more than allowed.

Here is one of my favourites, its a kwaito track by a group socially conscious guys from SA, came out in the late 90s as a single, was on their self titled album from 2000. They were part of Oskido's record label Kalawa Jazmee at least for a time. I've not listened to much else they've released but this is brilliant.

Alaska - Accuse


Will (kruezer2), Tuesday, 19 February 2019 16:04 (two years ago) link

Most excellent!

stirmonster, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 16:29 (two years ago) link

Yes, cool thread idea! As I noted elsewhere, I don’t know all that much about African pop before 2011-2012 (Ghanaian azonto was my ground zero), but I love hearing (about) older stuff.

I do know this one from 2008 though, because it’s probably one of the biggest Nigerian joints of the 21st century. In my (fairy limited) Afropop party experience, it still brings the house down wherever and whenever it’s played:


9ice • Gongo Aso

(9ice is still very much active in the Naija scene btw)

breastcrawl, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 16:54 (two years ago) link

love love love this kwaito track from the 90s. reminds me of Happy Mondays oddly enough!


. (Michael B), Tuesday, 19 February 2019 17:17 (two years ago) link

This hiplife track from 2003 might be “Gongo Aso”’s Ghanaian counterpart when it comes to enduring popularity and relevance:


VIP • Ahomka Womu

(Wizkid only recently used this classic to create a brand new classic, his “Manya” with Mut4y)

breastcrawl, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 17:28 (two years ago) link

Spotify playlist:

ILM Old School Afropop.

I’ve also added the instrumental versions, which are available for 3 out of these 4, not bad! I found “Klaimar” on a compilation on which all of the tracks are by ‘Various Artists’, but I’m pretty sure it’s the original Chiskop version (in a shorter edit).

breastcrawl, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 20:18 (two years ago) link

haven't had the chance to give any of the rest of these a listen yet, will do so soon. Here's another I found a couple years ago that I've always liked.

Prince Eyango - You Must Calculer


It came out in '87, Eyango is from Cameroon. It's pop/Makossa fusion.

Will (kruezer2), Thursday, 21 February 2019 16:33 (two years ago) link

I had heard of South African singer Brenda Fassie but knew nothing about her, and then I came across this incredible song just now:


Brenda Fassie • Sgubu Se Zion (2002)

Colour me awestruck (even more so after reading about her on Wikipedia)

breastcrawl, Thursday, 21 February 2019 23:29 (two years ago) link

Klaimar is banging, the vocals feel very 90s dancehall to me. I know after Bob Marley performed in Zimbabwe in the 80s Reggae was big across the continent (Lucky Dube being the big African reggae artist) so I wonder if that's an influence on the track. I sometimes wonder if Calypso and other Caribbean styles had influence on artists across Africa in the 80s/90s, I've never heard as much but surely some of it crossed the Atlantic.

Will (kruezer2), Friday, 22 February 2019 15:47 (two years ago) link


I'm In Love With A DJ - Yvonne Chaka Chaka

This is from the genre 'Bubblegum' in the 80s. Basically its township pop that was (obviously) very indebted to Disco. Fassie came outta the township pop scene as well. Brenda Fassie is the queen, that's a great song breastcrawl.

Will (kruezer2), Friday, 22 February 2019 16:02 (two years ago) link

this is nice


the scientology of mountains (rushomancy), Sunday, 24 February 2019 00:40 (two years ago) link

That’s “Stop Telling Lies” by Gp. Fruit Juice from Nigeria, 1995. Not on Spotify, unfortunately.

breastcrawl, Sunday, 24 February 2019 02:09 (two years ago) link

this was the second bit of African pop i ever bought, after IBoS. i still think it's pretty wonderful.
zulu jive

The immortal Hydra Viridisimma (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 24 February 2019 18:43 (two years ago) link

^ tracklist:

01 – Aaron Mbambo – Selishonile ilanga - 00:00
02 – Joshua Sithole – Sedelini thina - 03:07
03 – The Rainbows – Futhi - 06:10
04 – Shoba – A smbe diye e goli - 08:57
05 – Joshua Sithole – Uqalile ukuba nomona - 11:57
06 – Shoba – Obaba nxase be thandana - 14:54
07 – Joshua Sithole – Sisi nomdi - 17:54
08 – Aaron Mbambo – Sambambha ushemeni - 20:52
09 – The Rainbows – Mashonisa - 23:51
10 – Joshua Sithole – Lento oyenza kimi - 26:35

breastcrawl, Sunday, 24 February 2019 20:30 (two years ago) link

(probably something very obvious, but what is “IBoS”, outdoor_miner?)

breastcrawl, Sunday, 24 February 2019 20:31 (two years ago) link

indestructible beat of soweto. after i posted i reread the op and wasn't sure what is trad vs. what is pop and figured the stuff i am really into is older than this thread really wants. i love the 1960's-1980's Afropop with which i am familiar

The immortal Hydra Viridisimma (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 24 February 2019 21:45 (two years ago) link

thx for posting the Brenda track btw. don't think i'd ever heard her or knew her backstory before.

The immortal Hydra Viridisimma (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 24 February 2019 21:57 (two years ago) link

i'd be cool about seeing the ultra old stuff! umbaqanga is really nice and i hadn't heard it

the scientology of mountains (rushomancy), Sunday, 24 February 2019 23:07 (two years ago) link

yeah this thread isn't meant to be too specific, mostly what i know is pop/dance from the 80s-2000s but bring on the older stuff and if its more traditional thats fine by me!

here's an older one that I love...


Cardinal Rex Lawson - Sawale

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 25 February 2019 14:45 (two years ago) link

That’s an interesting one, in that it was remade in 2005 by Nigerian pop-highlife singer Flavour as “Nwa Baby (Ashawo)”, and again in 2011 as a remix. This last version especially was a huge pan-African hit (or maybe the earlier one as well? I’m not sure) and led to various cover versions, including a very popular Ethiopian one from 2012 (as far as I can tell).

Flavour 2005: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqQxxS1MLKo

Flavour 2011: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDbhyPS1sdk

Ethiopian version 2012 (?): http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=j5DkJz6VK7Q
Ziggy Zaga ft. Teddy Yo • Sawa Sawa Sawale

And then there’s the fact that “Sawale” (what year is it from anyway? 1969 or earlier?) itself is based on the Cuban/American classic “El manisero/The Peanut Vendor”!

breastcrawl, Monday, 25 February 2019 19:50 (two years ago) link

Trying again with the Ethiopian version:

Ziggy Zaga ft. Teddy Yo • Sawa Sawa Sawale

(sorry for posting two songs/videos that are too recent, but I thought in this case it was too interesting not to)

breastcrawl, Monday, 25 February 2019 19:55 (two years ago) link

“Simply Hot And Naturally African”:

Lush South African house with occasional Jodeci-like harmonies? Count me in!


SHANA • Ung’phula Intliziyo (2006)

(Further proof that I’m pretty much ignorant when it comes to What Came Before: so you’re telling me Demor, Shota and fucking Black Coffee started out in a group TOGETHER?)

(Listening to parent album Iyo Londaba now, and it sounds fantastic, not a weak track in sight)

breastcrawl, Thursday, 28 February 2019 18:20 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

That Shana song is great! I'm a little biased against the Sawale remake (for no good reason aside from just why would you assail a perfect song), but its pretty undeniable.

Here's another Bubblegum jam from SA in the 80s.

Pat Shange - Township Vibe


Will (kruezer2), Wednesday, 27 March 2019 14:18 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

“Gbese”, the new Wizkid (well, new DJ Tunez, nominally), interpolates this Ghana-Naija hiplife collaboration from 2003:


Tic-Tac ft. Tony Tetuila • Fefe Na Efe

breastcrawl, Saturday, 25 May 2019 14:50 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

One of the first bunch of Nigerian songs I fell in love with when I started exploring Afropop in 2012 - so pretty and elegant. It’s from 2009:

Bracket ft. P-Square • No Time

breastcrawl, Sunday, 8 September 2019 21:19 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

Prince Eyango - You Must Calculer

It came out in '87, Eyango is from Cameroon. It's pop/Makossa fusion.

― Will (kruezer2), Friday, 22 February 2019 05:33 bookmarkflaglink

Ok, I need to find more makossa, that song is amazing! Love the album too, so '80s and yet it still sounds fresh - and I like Eyango's You Go Pay as well. He's not the best singer, but you could say he's got great 'presence' on those recordings, and probably in concert too. One funny part is hearing the back-and-forth between him and the backing vocalists, when they're really just chanting a conversation. (Some of those singers have also had long solo careers.)

- https://youtu.be/J-J2b2CDP94 ("C'est ma peau")

Thanks for the recommendations Will, and Breastcrawl as always!

sbahnhof, Tuesday, 3 December 2019 00:22 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

"Icha" by Congolese soukous guitarist Syran Mbenza, the song Shakira incorporated in her Superbowl halftime show with Jennifer Lopez (at 13:00). I think the track is from 1990:


breastcrawl, Sunday, 16 February 2020 18:43 (one year ago) link

this is recent but somehow didn't belong on the regular afro-pop thread. This is Frafra music from Northern Ghana. I love it, especially the jazzy instrumental section

Alogte Oho & his Sounds of Joy - Mam Yinne Wa


doorstep jetski (dog latin), Monday, 17 February 2020 01:13 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

An amazing inspirational album
Chiwoniso Maraire, RIP

Chiwoniso – Rebel Woman
- https://chiwoniso.bandcamp.com/album/rebel-woman

Zimbabwe's Chiwoniso performs entrancing and uplifting songs with ancient soul and modern spirit. Backed by the mesmerizing interlocking melodies of the mbira and the deep grooves of an all-star lineup featuring some of Zimbabwe and South Africa's top musicians, Chiwoniso's voice resounds with defiant strength and profound tenderness.

One of Zimbabwe's most powerful and influential voices, Chiwoniso passed away suddenly in 2013 at the young age of 37. Throughout her short life, Chiwoniso watched her ancestral land struggle to overcome the enduring legacies of colonialism, war, social inequality and political oppression. A devoted advocate of free speech, human rights and social justice, Chiwoniso's music gave voice to the voiceless and spoke to the problems and joys of the world around her. With a sound that recalled the fire of Angélique Kidjo, the inspiration of Oliver Mtukudzi, the rebellion of Thomas Mapfumo and the soul of India.Aire, Chiwoniso was one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the African diaspora, and though she was gone too soon, her message lives on in her music.

Recognizing that artists play a special role in society, Chiwoniso believed they must not be afraid to speak out against injustice. “We have a responsibility. We are not bankers, we are not doctors, we are not nurses. We have another part that we play in society that must be done. So, regardless of whatever world system is going to come in and say: ‘Cut what you are saying,’ going to send riot cops in to your shows, going to come and arrest you and say ‘We are going to try and put you in jail...’ – it doesn’t matter. We have a responsibility."

released September 2, 2008

Is there much pop-type music with the kalimba / mbira? The tone of the instrument makes it sound really distinctive.

Chiwoniso, Jan 22nd 2013 in Harare, Zimbabwe

"Is it Kalimba, Karimba, or Mbira?"

sbahnhof, Monday, 30 March 2020 00:27 (eleven months ago) link

two months pass...

Penny Penny - Milandu Bhe

Magic System - Zouglou Dance

Awilo Longomba - Karolina

Khadja Nin - Sambolera

Nabozo, Monday, 8 June 2020 21:50 (eight months ago) link

Youssou N'dour - Immigrés Bitim Rew

Francis Bebey - The Coffee Cola Song

Franco - Mario

Gnonnas Pedro - Yiri Yiri Boum

Stretching a little bit what's a pop song

Nabozo, Monday, 8 June 2020 22:03 (eight months ago) link

Brenda Fassie - Vuli Ndlela

Dj Qness feat. Oluhle - Fugama Unamathe

Arthur Mafokate - Oyi Oyi

Dzoka Uyamwe

Nabozo, Monday, 8 June 2020 22:29 (eight months ago) link

Fun selections, Nabozo! I added them all to the Spotify playlist: ILM Old School Afropop. It has doubled in size thanks to this new input.

I also decided to transfer the tracks you left on the other thread, including your remarks. I added [year of release] where needed.

(btw in general, track info (country, year of release) for any track people might be posting is very much appreciated!)

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 10 June 2020 20:52 (eight months ago) link

Here they are:

Magic System - Premier Gaou (2000), Ivory Coast
"Premier Gaou n'est pas Gaou, deuxième Gaou est niata ohh" means you're just silly the first time you've been had, completely stupid the second time

Awilo Longomba - Coupé Bibamba (DRC) [1998]

Francis Bebey - Agatha (Cameroon) [1976]
Cameroonian response to Billie Jean ?

Oliver Mtukudzi - Todii (What Shall We Do) (Zimbabwe) [1999]

Koffi Olomide - Loi (DRC) [1997]

Mory Kanté - Yeke Yeke (Guinea Conakry) [1987]

Penny Penny - Shichangani (South Africa) [1994]

Mandoza - Nkalakatha (South Africa) [2000]
He died from cancer at 38 in 2016. His funeral was a national event.

Mgarimbe - Sister Bettina (South Africa) [2005]
One-hit wonder off the Try Again sample

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 10 June 2020 20:54 (eight months ago) link

I will add Arthur Mafokate (or simply “Arthur”)’s legendary hit post-apartheid hit “Kaffir” - ”the first kwaito hit”. I had only read about it (maybe on ILM somewhere? – yes, here), but it was not on Spotify and even YouTube wasn’t very forthcoming. It’s there now!

I think I slightly prefer the Maestro Mix over the House Mix:

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 10 June 2020 20:57 (eight months ago) link

love the late 70s-early 80s mbalax of Super Diamano:


"Domou Gainde N'Diaye"

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Thursday, 11 June 2020 16:02 (eight months ago) link

and a slower jam
"Ndaw Rabine"

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Thursday, 11 June 2020 16:04 (eight months ago) link

An all-time fave album: Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou comp (still don't have Vol. 1)


dow, Thursday, 11 June 2020 18:42 (eight months ago) link

All their youtubes! 71 tracks, check 'em out:

dow, Thursday, 11 June 2020 18:45 (eight months ago) link

vol 1 is great!

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Thursday, 11 June 2020 20:08 (eight months ago) link

Don't think this was in that playlist. Performance footage of "Se Ba Ho". Careful watching, danger of funk overload.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Thursday, 11 June 2020 20:10 (eight months ago) link

thanks very much for the curation Nabozo, Granny and breastcrawl; i've got this all pulled and am digging in!

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 12 June 2020 17:16 (eight months ago) link

John Nzenze, the veteran Kenyan musician who is being buried on Saturday, was belting out popular songs before the country gained independence more than 50 years ago.

The singer, guitarist and dancer was among the last of the pioneer artistes who popularised the Kenyan Twist genre of music, and was part of a band that produced East Africa's finest funk in the 1960s and early 1970s.

"When you become a celebrity, you become a bit arrogant, and in my arrogance I built my own band, the Air Fiesta Matata Band," he said in an interview in Swahili in January.

Good---some ads along the way for sure, keep on scrollin

dow, Saturday, 13 June 2020 17:54 (eight months ago) link

eight months pass...


Two from Charlotte Adigéry’s Studio Brussel radio show, as championed by dog latin:

1979, from Nigeria, and also featured on the Nigeria 70: Funky Lagos compilation:
Lijadu Sisters • Orere Eljigbo

They have quite the backstory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lijadu_Sisters

Long Tall Arsetee & the Shaker Intros (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 17 February 2021 21:56 (two weeks ago) link

2008, from South Africa (Limpopo) – from one of the original Bolobedu Masters, long before KG:
(2010) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zcrYeyO1vA
DJ Call Me • Marry Me

Call Me updated this (disputed) classic for his recent Maxaka album:
DJ Call Me ft. Liza Miro, Double Trouble & Mr Brown • Marry Me

Long Tall Arsetee & the Shaker Intros (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 17 February 2021 21:57 (two weeks ago) link

sorry, the correct title of the Lijadu Sisters' song is "Orere Elejigbo"

Long Tall Arsetee & the Shaker Intros (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 17 February 2021 22:00 (two weeks ago) link

...and yes, “Marry Me” is from (at least) 2008, the video is a 2010 YouTube upload.

Long Tall Arsetee & the Shaker Intros (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 17 February 2021 22:04 (two weeks ago) link

lijadu sisters are fucking awesome and i had a standard "will see them at any price" alert going after their nyc appearance. never to be sadly.

That's not really my scene (I'm 41) (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 18 February 2021 01:43 (two weeks ago) link

I just read via google that one of the Lijadu Sisters died in 2019. But yeah would have been great to see them

curmudgeon, Thursday, 18 February 2021 03:18 (two weeks ago) link

It was I who championed it, not DL, though no doubt he'll be on board ;)

A Scampo Darkly (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 18 February 2021 07:53 (two weeks ago) link

o, inderdaad! how did that happen? no idea why I mixed the two of you up. askies, I’m sorry.
(and thanx for the heads up of course!)

Long Tall Arsetee & the Shaker Intros (breastcrawl), Thursday, 18 February 2021 08:34 (two weeks ago) link

A DL/LBI abbreviation mix-up, perchance? Geen probleem natuurlijk :)

I'm the noobest of noobs when it comes to Afropop but her playlist is littered with it, mixed-in with choice cuts from other genres and an impeccable taste, so consider me on board. Here to learn!

A Scampo Darkly (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 18 February 2021 11:32 (two weeks ago) link

completely addicted to this song at the moment:


ntombi ndaba - in my mind (south africa, 1991)

would a nit be nice? (NickB), Monday, 1 March 2021 13:04 (three days ago) link

Wow I haven't heard that song in ages, thanks for posting! I had a copy of Why Me once upon a time but lost it somewhere along the line in life. The production on all of her albums is just top notch.

Will (kruezer2), Monday, 1 March 2021 16:36 (three days ago) link

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