2022 has delivered some great tunes, and we have selected the best 10 African Alternative and Neo African Soul music albums of 2022. Without wasting much time, check our top 10 list below:
10. TORI’S LOUNGE by ESSILFIE:
Essilfie‘s Tori’s Lounge gave us something to fall back on whenever heartbreak felt like it was ripping our guts out. Tori’s Lounge is a well-crafted story about the various types of disappointments that can result from feelings of love and attachment to someone else.
9. ABDALLA by MAH MOUD:
Abdalla is only Mah Moud‘s first album and second project, but it contains the soul of a young man who appears to have experienced all of life’s complexities and who can untangle them all through his music. Abdalla is a collection of odes and ballads to people and places dear to its creator’s heart.
8. ASALI by MAYA AMOLO:
Maya Amolo is in love, and we can almost hear her blushing in Asali‘s songs. Maya must have thought she could pick up where she left off in the pregame, and she does, only better – by growing and glowing in newfound love.
Special mention: IOTA by Lous and The Yakuza
7. SOMETHING NEW by YINKA BERNIE:
After 19 & Over in 2017, Yinka Bernie went Frank Ocean on his fans. Since then, he’s only gone out once or twice a year with a single. He promised a project in 2021 that never materialized. This year, he released Something New, which is as intimate as knowing the lines in one’s palms.
6. JELLYFISH by SIRBASTIEN: SirBastien continues to push the boundaries of sound. He took us underwater this year with the release of Jellyfish, a very daring project that houses sounds that keep one inadvertently in a dream state.
Special Mention: V by Asa
5. PEACE PLACES: KENYAN MEMORIES by NYOKABI KARIũKI:
Peace Place: Kenyan Memories by Nyokabi Kariũki is a time machine through which the composer protects and preserves memories of moments spent alone, with family, and with friends. In essence, the project is a collection of past experiences captured through recordings made in locations significant in helping her imaginatively relive her formative years. Nyokabi is preserving aspects of her life and culture through this project.
4. NJHYI by NOK CULTURAL ENSEMBLE:
In Njhyi, Edward Wakili-Hick and his collective, Nok Cultural Ensemble, created a culturally and intellectually relevant project. The collective uses percussions to trace pre-colonial traditional history and connect it to modern instruments, all while avoiding the influence of western harmonies. Njhyi is authentically African, and it takes pride in the modern rhetoric of what African culture can be.
Special Mention: Palmwine Music 3 by ShowDemCamp
3. JOYRIDE BY MYSIE:
Joyride is Mysie’s entry point into defining love and searching for oneself through records that are both entertaining and subtly vulnerable.
2. SUBARU BOYS: FINAL HEAVEN BY CRUEL SANTINO:
To be honest, the songs on Subaru Boys: Final Heaven didn’t have the sound we were expecting from Santi, but he has been experimenting. Santi’s evolution into the artist he was in Subaru Boys: Final Heaven, his two-part project, can be better understood if one follows the release of this project and everything else he has put out since. Despite criticism from “industry guys,” Final Heaven was eagerly devoured by his ever-waiting and ready fans.
Special Mention: Yamen Yamen by Drummr Africa
1. SOME NIGHTS I DREAM OF DOORS by OBONGJAYAR:
Some Nights I Dream of Doors was without a doubt the best project to come out of Africa this year. Obongjayar has kept us hooked on this project since its release in May. Every song is a blessing, a warning, a motivator… Sung in a variety of vocal pitch ranges, soulful thought, and genres.
And that’s a wrap on the best 10 African Alternative and Neo African Soul music albums of the year 2022.