Music played a huge role during the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 in Nigeria. Across protest grounds, music boosted the morale of the crowds, inspiring the masses to demand changes in Nigerian policing.

A video posted on Twitter of a man, later identified as Joshua Ambrose, being thrown out of a moving vehicle by SARS (or Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigerian police force) officers in Ughelli, a rural town in southern Nigeria, prompted the protests after it went viral.The now-defunct SARS — created to combat the widespread robbery and kidnappings of the 80s — had become notorious for harassing, brutalizing, and extorting young Nigerians for their appearance or for the gadgets they carried, sometimes even profiling them as internet fraudsters.

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New Releases

Burna Boy Reflects On His Success In "Way Too Big"

The Afro-fusion icon reflects on his international stardom in his latest single.

Burna Boy - Way Too Big [Official Music Video]

"It's been a landslide for a long time," Burna Boy coo's to the overly excited press in his latest video for "Way Too Big."

The Afro-fusion crooner has been on an unstoppable hot streak for the last few years, exploding to international fame that has since garnered 2 Grammy nominations, a coveted slot at Coachella, and universal acclaim. All of this has made him a star and the face of the budding afro-fusion movement around the world.

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Music Lists

New Music Friday: What You Should Listen To Today (Besides Drake's New Song)

There are insane amount of releases on this #NewMusicFriday, some better than others. Here is what you should listen to.

Boldy James "The Versace Tape"

We all know Drake released a new song.

It's actually a very good song. It features Lil Durk, a rapper who has long deserved to be alongside Drake. But that's not why you're here. You're here because you need help dissecting all the new releases that have come out today. Here is what you should– and maybe should not–listen to out of the mass releases flooding streaming services today. One thing's for sure: You're definitely not going to listen to just Drake.

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Even Stormzy and Burna Boy Can't Make Ed Sheeran Cool in "Own It" Video

Check out Stormzy's new song"OWN IT" featuring Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy.


Stormzy is extremely cool. Burna Boy is also very cool (congrats on the Grammy nom). Ed Sheeran is increasingly uncool.

Given these undeniable facts, it was an excellent choice for Sheeran to feature on Stormzy's new song alongside Burna Boy. Or so it would seem. But honestly, it's possible that Sheeran is so extremely lame that even appearing alongside the king of Grime and Nigeria's brightest reggaeton star can't help his flagging rep. While the song itself is a certified jam, Sheeran's verse and presence in the brand new music video are jarringly out of place.

But we digress. Check out the video below and decide for yourself.



IDK Offers Questions, but No Answers on "Is He Real?"

Maybe IDK's saying that, sometimes, the biggest questions have the simplest answers.

Jason Aaron Mills aka IDK

Photo by Berzane Nasser/ABACA/Shutterstock

For a hip-hop artist, 27-year-old Jason Mills has a unique relationship with nostalgia.

IDK - 24 (Official Music Video)

"It's funny how the sh*t I dreamt about's the sh*t I'm livin' now," Mills, known as IDK, reminisces fondly on "Alone," the third track off his narrative debut, Is He Real? "My life's the destination, and I'm the meaning." IDK asks questions both big and small. He regularly reflects on his past relationships and why they didn't work out. "Why don't we fall in love?" he candidly asks on "I Do Me...You Do You." "Why all my brothers tryna infiltrate my circle?" he asks of former friends on "No Cable."

But it's the fallacies of religion that take center stage. "The sperm travelin' to the egg makes more sense than Adam and Evenings of Gospel," he says on "European Skies." "It's awful how often we argue about these religions." The questions posed aren't necessarily inimitable, but IDK's ability to be braggadocious while still questioning the teachings of God is funny and appealing. "The bible say beatin' my d*ck and killin' is equal," he says on "P*rno," "but that don't add up, cause the amount of times that I milk my sh*t I'll probably be considered serial."

With an eclectic range of features, IDK asks many of his collaborators to follow him down the road less traveled. The production on "Michael What TF" is uncharacteristically gritty for a song featuring James Blake, while DMX is asked to fill the role of a pastor and offer a strange spoken-word prayer on the minute-long interlude "The E In Blue." Elsewhere, Tyler, The Creator and IDK dissect religion together in a back and forth conversation on "I Do Me…" Even Burna Boy's signature vocal flourish sounds unrecognizable on "December."

In terms of answering all these questions, IDK admits on "Julia" that questions are sometimes all there is. "To know if we actually even see the same colors, then how can we say there is no God?" he says in the song's final bars. It's an anticlimactic ending considering the album's grandiose setup, but maybe that's the point. Maybe IDK's saying that, sometimes, the biggest questions have the simplest answers.

Is He Real?


Beyoncé Brings Afrobeats to Mainstream Audiences with "Lion King: The Gift"

"Lion King: The Gift" may be a Beyoncé album, but she's not the standout in her own collaborative production.

Beyoncé in all her glory.

Columbia Records

Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift is in direct competition with the live-action remake's 2019 soundtrack.

It's difficult to imagine Disney allowing any other artist to challenge the success of their latest production, but Beyoncé has surpassed celebrity—she is a movement, an icon, and a spokesperson for a generation, and her name being associated with the movie can only mean good things for the company, even if her Lion King-inspired album is separate from the movie in which she stars. After all, Disney's remakes have received criticism from the get-go. What was the need for a live-action remake of a movie conceived by a bunch of white executives who referred to the project as "Bambi in Africa?"

Still, Beyoncé's involvement loaned the project credibility, and clearly the artist saw the potential to reclaim the Africa-set narrative to create what she calls "sonic cinema." She worked with "some of her favorite artists [and] the most talented and important African artists of the day to both pay tribute to the iconic film and bring the authentic sounds of African music to the world." Although how authentically and accurately the star's achieved this goal is up for debate, there's no question that Beyoncé was able to use her influence to shine a spotlight on the diverse range of artists, some who even outshine her.

The album begins with James Earl Jones, backed by a soft violin, repeating Mufasa's iconic lines to Simba: "Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. You need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures. From the crawling ant to the leaping antelope. We're all connected in the great circle of life." This sentiment, that all African people are connected, is emphasized throughout the rest of the album. The interlude is followed by "BIGGER," Beyoncé's lyrical build up to the message,"If you feel insignificant, you better think again / Better wake up because you're apart of something way bigger." It's another reminder that every person is connected to each other and to the earth.


Another poignant interlude spoken by James Earl Jones introduces "FIND YOUR WAY BACK," an R&B, Afrobeat version of Lemonade's "Daddy Issues." Unlike the original, "FIND YOUR WAY BACK" is a filler song with an infectious beat—it seems to exist just to add to the story of The Lion King. It has nothing on the songs that follow: Tekno, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, and Lord Afrixana's "DON'T JEALOUS ME" and Burna Boy's "JA ARA E." Both tracks are danceable but in distinctly different ways. The gritty and visceral "DON'T JEALOUS ME" produces a teeth-clenching, head-bouncing effect—it's captivating and mystifying, while "JA ARA E" is a hip-swinging, sexy summer anthem.

The Nigerian Afro-fusion artists highlight exactly what the Western world is missing out on, musically. The variety and simple good vibes could create a cultural moment for Afro-fusion in Western mainstream music, similar to what "Despacito" did or Latin Pop (minus Justin Bieber, thankfully).


Next, "NILE" and "MOOD 4EVA" keep the album's soulful momentum going, despite the many interludes beginning to bog down the bops. Kendrick Lamar's classic rap delivery on "NILE" sets up another one of his iconic beat-drops. But, in the last thirty seconds of the track, Beyoncé's textured vocals end too quickly, making "NILE" feel incomplete. "MOOD 4EVA" captures all that was successful about The Carter's EVERYTHING IS LOVE album. Beyoncé's voracious performance and enchanting, oozing confidence outperform Jay-Z's. Beyoncé outdoes him with lyrics like, "Piña colada-in' / you stay Ramada Inn," and concluding with, "I be like soul food / I am a whole mood." Unfortunately, the song's low-point is Childish Gambino's feature, which only makes a minor contribution to the already electrifying mood.

At the album's halfway mark, the majority of the noteworthy tracks have already passed. "BROWN SKIN GIRL" and "MY POWER" are the only tracks left that stick in the mind of listeners. The sweet-natured, empowering "BROWN SKIN GIRL" begins with Blue Ivy Carter's first singing performance. Then Nigerian artist WizKid aids the celebratory track, which speaks directly to the brown skin girls of the world. The song separates itself from the rest of the album as an easier, mellower, lullaby-inspired song, while still positioning black people at the center of the celebration.


Conversely, up-and-coming rapper, Tierra Whack, leads "MY POWER" with the declaration, "They'll never take my power / They feel a way, oh wow"—celebrating all black women and what they're capable of. On the track, South African artists—Moonchild Sanelly and Busiswe—gloriously sing African praises, injecting the song with an emboldened, unwavering verse.

The rest of the album has its individual, exceptional moments, like Beyoncé's almost holy vocals on "OTHERSIDE" and Jessie Reyez's ingenious verse on "SCAR." But, still, only six out of the fourteen main tracks succeed in creating something new, inspiring, and other-worldly. The other interludes strip Lion King: The Gift of cohesion and flow. But still, with The Lion King: The Gift, Beyoncé has cemented her legacy of celebrating black experiences and art by bringing African musical influences to Western, mainstream audiences. If there was any doubt left that Beyoncé is more than just an indomitable vocalist, surely it's been dispelled once and for all by this album. Lion King: The Gift demonstrates what is possible when collaboration occurs across borders to create cross-cultural, truly globalized music.


The Lion King: The Gift