Title: Afrikan Sauce
Artiste: Sauti Sol
Release: January 31
Sauti Sol have spent the last four years or so enjoying the fruits of their 2015 release, "Live and Die in Afrika", which certainly was one of their most significant attempts since they started their careers. In that moment and space, sometime in 2017, they decided to extend their catalogue with a hit-chasing approach that saw them begin to collaborate with various artistes across Africa. This only lasted until mid-2018, when they decided it was time for an unexpected hiatus.
Now they have re-emerged and it appears like they were preparing us for their fourth full-length LP, 'Afrikan Sauce', which is a compilation of most of the collaborative hits released in the last two years. And while listeners might be quick to pick a new album basically to listen to new music, this collaborative compilation only delivers three new tracks arranged in between the hits.
The album feels like Sauti Sol's most mindful attempt to appeal to an extensive audience. It kicks off with "Melanin", featuring Patoranking, which expresses admiration for the African woman's beauty. Tiwa Savage offers her vocals on "Girl Next Door" before Burna Boy joins the boys on the romantic melody, "Afrikan Star".
And just when the album seems to look like collaborations are purely dominated by Nigerians, Khaligraph Jones delivers a verse on "Rewind", a track that delves into the struggles and success of the artistes' musical careers. Nyashinski makes a double appearance as he offers his brilliance on the exciting "Short 'n' Sweet" and the politically charged "Tujianaglie."
Though the album is not the most conceptual piece ever released, it would be accurate to state that the boys simply wanted to broaden their horizon. It has guest features from Zimbabwean Jay Prayzah on "Special Somebody," Angolan C4 Pedro on "Love Again," Ugandan Bebe Cool on "Mbozi Za Malwa" and South African Mi Casa on "Tulale Fofofo". Tanzanian Vanessa Mdee is also recruited on one of the recently released singles, "Kamasutra", while Toofan make it on the club-destined party tune "Love on the Dance Floor".
The project closes out with a bonus track: Yemi Alade's "Africa", featuring the boys.
Sauti Sol wear their influence in the music industry with a lot of pride. We all know their story from their outset to glory. Thanks to their work ethic, endless music and supportive press, they are one of Africa's busiest acts. They fare best when they set out to deliver soulful, melodic tunes, but also succeed when they decide to add a danceable tune. They have always been skilful songwriters with the basic self-awareness needed to make tracks that leave a mark.
'Afrikan Sauce' feels like the good follow-up. While their last album celebrated and rooted for the African narrative, their latest depicts and incorporates the diversity and aesthetic that is Africa. However, will it attract high streaming numbers? Considering that we've listened to most of the earlier released tracks, the compilation might not really enjoy streaming success. But for the purpose of building a portfolio, the band has it right.
Star rating: 3 out of 5