Queen Sono’s Soundtrack Is One Of The Highlights Of The Show

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Netflix just dropped its first original African series, Queen Sono. It is a binge-worthy spy drama with a badass protagonist who rivals that of the consummate secret agent James Bond. We know Bond has a reputation for his killer soundtracks, but Queen Sono might have him beat there, too.
Queen Sono (Pearl Thusi) is leading a double life, as most international spies are wont to do. One moment, she finds herself in life-threatening situations stealing valuable information for the government. Next, she is dodging questions from her lifelong friends about how she makes a living. For some reason, they don’t seem to fully believe that she is an art dealer like she says. Sono has her hands full. 
While trying to investigate a burgeoning terrorist conspiracy, she is surprised with suspicious information about the assassination of her mother, who was a political activist during apartheid. There is a lot going on for such a short and binge-able series — which makes a dynamic soundtrack all the more important. 
Taking place in a number of countries across Africa, Queen Sono’s soundtrack features a similar smattering of artists from all over the continent mixed into a well-blended medley with classic hitmakers such as James Brown and contemporary chart-toppers like Lizzo that hits all the right notes. The soundtrack focuses less on sticking to a specific genre or era and instead chooses to focus on achieving the right mood, whether that be with an R&B track or a synth-pop song. 
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points of the series’ soundtrack is that it features many African artists, such as Kenyan afro-pop band Sauti Sol, Nigerian pop star Simisola “Simi” Ogunleye, and classic Nigerian drummer and music artist Babatunde Olatunji. 
The track that sets the tone for Sono as a character is South African rapper Nadia Nakai’s heavy-hitting “Big Pun.” It is very fitting that the song introducing us to South African-raised Queen Sono is by an artist from the same country. As Netflix’s first African original series, Queen Sono holds a lot of weight in terms of representation and recognition. Using that to give a platform to artists from the same countries in which the show takes place is the representation that South African artists deserve.
Queen Sono is now streaming on Netflix.

More from Music

R29 Original Series