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 (nine months ago) link

Most excellent!

stirmonster, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 16:29 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months ago) link

this is nice


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

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

breastcrawl, Sunday, 24 February 2019 20:31 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (eight months 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 (six months 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 (three months 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 (five days ago) link

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