In particular order, here’s our pick for the 5 best albums this year:
5. Bushali – Nyiramubande
The Kigalian rapper follows up his soul-heavy debut with a more jazzy and lively sound affording this new album a more relaxed feel. While tracks such as ‘Tabati.’ still have the retro flavour that suits his crooning voice, elsewhere he shrugs off the constraints of traditional rap music to stunning effect.
4. Weya viatora – Fire Flame
In her debut album vocals buffer and stop-start, such as in ‘Eyes Open dreaming’ where her voice overlaps with itself and messy piano trills falter in the background. ‘Name is Woman’ is similarly affecting in its unfinished quality, and in ‘Empty House’ a throbbing drum and her voice fade in and out as though playing cat-and-mouse.
3. Mucyo – Blur
Nobody would have begrudged her for writing a sorrowful album spun from grief. Perhaps this is why her releasing such warm and saccharine music, and offering a blur to her hurting fans, at first, Mucyo brilliantly highlighted from her hit single blossom featuring Mike Kayihura– and then, on her debut full-length, invested it all with emotional depth. The tracks are formidable in their mechanised, lubricated precision, and fabulous in their mane-preening confidence.
2. Prime – Thousands Hills Prodigy
The first studio album from the Kigalian rapper is a roll call of rap royalty which includes Andy Bumuntu and White Monkey. Ice Nova’s voice teeters over a revving bass-line in ‘His Story’ and Jules adds a heavier tone to ‘Light Up’ in this album with a title to live life by. (We think).
1. Angell Mutoni – Seedling
Since her 2013 Epidemic of words debut album, Angel has fused together genres to make a sound instantly recognisable by the swagger of her vocals. In this release there’s sunlit beats in ‘Be Your Relief ‘, rapping in ‘Dore, Dore’ and slow reverberating trap in ‘Whiskey In My Tea’. Like the album artwork suggests, it’s a patchwork of seeds flavours and sounds that somehow fit together perfectly.