List Of Top Africa Afrobeats Artists So Far

These days, anyone looking to explore African music is often first pointed to Afrobeats, the groovy sound nestled mainly in West Africa. The year 2020, like the years that have preceded it, saw the dance genre continue to make believers of all nations.



    The genre’s growing global traction was seenin traditional and new avenues starting with a steady supply of hit songs, international collaborations and awards – with usual suspects including Burna Boy, DavidoTiwa Savage and Wizkid leading affairs. In July, the genre got its first ‘official’ chart, which highlights impactful Afrobeats artists in the UK, where the scene has accrued widespread popularity for about a decade.

    Last year, for instance, Afrobeats artists spent 86 weeks on the Official Charts Company’s Official Chart Top 40. “This fast-growing genre is having an increasingly powerful impact on the music landscape right now, both in the UK and further afield, through artists including the likes of NSG, J Hus and Burna Boy,” Official Charts Company CEO Martin Talbot said.

    For DJ Cuppy “the rise in our music across the last decade has been breathtaking to experience, and 2020 has been a momentous year for artists from back home. It’s a scene that has always been so vibrant and creative, but its popularity has amplified. The floodgates have opened, and the whole world wants in on the motherland.”

    Burna Boy

    Burna Boy crowned his 2020, which was characterised by the release of a new album and #EndSARS activism, with his second consecutive Grammy nomination. The nod, together with notable feats including high-profile performances, several other nominations and the BET Award for Best International Act, reasserted his place as Africa’s foremost entertainer today.

    Wizkid

    For something like a decade, the Nigerian star has consistently secured himself a place in the upper reaches. This year is no different, as the singer continued his winning ways with the release of his brilliant new album Made In Lagos, which, in November, became the third most-streamed Nigerian album on Spotify with more than 10 million streams. The ‘Ojuelegba’ star also chalked significant success with his international collaborations, notable among them Beyoncé’s ‘Brown Skin Girl’, which this year was recognised at the NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, and the BET Awards. Wizkid also grabbed the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) trophy for Best African Act, as well as multiple nominations at the 2020 Headies in Nigeria. He also signed an endorsement deal with international sportswear brand Puma, proving his impact in the fashion world, too.

    Davido

    Like Wizkid, Davido has been an Afrobeats mainstay for many years. As has been characteristic about him over the period, he has functioned as a repository of hit songs. This year, his sophomore full-length A Better Time also dropped. Guesting collaborations from international icons including Nas and Nicki Minaj, the LP, which was released in November, has already exceeded 100 million streams across all digital platforms. Davido’s 2020 was also steeped in political activism as he was among the musicians who spearheaded the #EndSARS protests against police brutality in the country. 

    Mr Eazi

    Joining the list of Afrobeats’ best performers this year is Mr Eazi, who continues to seamlessly straddle his musical career with entrepreneurial activities. Apart from the release of his EP One Day You Will Understand and the star-studded ‘Oh My Gawd’, which swiftly reached No 1 on the iTunes Chart in the US and Billboard World Digital Sales Chart, Mr Eazi, who was recently recognised by the Latin Grammys for guesting on Columbian Reggaeton star J Balvin’s Colores, also expanded his business initiatives – launching the Africa Music Fund earlier this year for emerging artists and securing a global distribution deal between his independent music company emPawa Publishing and Kobalt.

    Tiwa Savage 

    Tiwa Savage also had a good showing this year, complementing her global inroads over the years with the well-received album Celiawhich follows Once Upon a Time (2013) and R.E.D (2015). Celia, which was named among Time Magazine’s top 10 albums of 2020, boasts collaborations from Nigerians Davido, Naira Marley, Dice Ailes and Adekunle Gold as well as British artists Stefflon Don and Sam Smith. This year also saw Tiwa make her US TV debut by making an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She also contributed an at-home performance to Tiny Desk Concerts, a gig she described as a dream come true. There was also a plethora of award recognitions, including a Soundcity MVP gong for African Video of the Year as well as nominations at the 2020 MOBOs and Headies, to complement her glorious year. 

    Yemi Alade

    ‘Johnny’ hitmaker Yemi Alade also joins our list of 2020’s most impactful Afrobeats artists. On 20 November, she issued Woman of Steel, her fifth LP, as the topping for a remarkable year that saw her star in Beyoncé’s film Black Is King and become a brand ambassador for Hollandia Yoghurt and goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme.

    Omah Lay

    Omah Lay continues to grow his reputation as incoming Afrobeats golden boy, having racked up millions of streams for his sultry love songs, which unfold in the EPs Get Layd and What Have We Done. The singer, who recently secured a deal with Warner Music, was also listed on Apple Music’s Africa Rising and Audiomack’s #UpNow programme. Showing no signs of slowing down, industry watchers expect the singer to continue his winning ways in 2021. 

    KiDi 

    Behind widely successful anthems like ‘Enjoyment’ and ‘Say Cheese’, whose remix guested American R&B legend Teddy Riley, Ghana’s KiDi kept his place among Afrobeats’ elite. The year also saw the musician add to his Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs) tally, picking up the trophy for Album of the Year with Sugar

    Kuami Eugene

    Kuami Eugene is currently GH music’s top man, having been named Artist of the Year at the VGMAs. Constantly on call for collaborations and shows, the singer also dropped his sophomore project Son of Africa this year, laying bare his intentions to conquer the continent in no time. Despite having to cancel his international tour in support of the project, Kuami Eugene will look back on 2020 with fondness, and as one that established him as a continental brand. 

    Kelvyn Boy

    Kelvyn Boy also responds to the nickname ‘Afrobeats Bad Man’. It’s not for nothing. In his home country of Ghana, he ranks among the foremost Afrobeats campaigners and 2020 saw him release a strong catalogue of stand-alone singles including ‘Mata’ and ‘Momo’. He also released the Black Star album, which many local gatekeepers describe as a striking debut.


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