Top 20 Best Musicians In Africa (2023)
Any list of the best musicians in Africa is going to be very dynamic and fluid because the continent is brimming with musical talent constantly trying to outshine one another in their various countries, and also on the continental market. Furthermore, there are so many different genres of music available in Africa, making it difficult to select an outright best.
Ideally, all the various genres of music on the continent should receive equal representation on a list like this; this is because no type of music should claim to be better than another.
Nevertheless, in order to reach a broader audience across the continent, musicians tend to play a mainstream type of music which may have varying degrees of injection of traditional music. In order to be counted among the best; a musician must be unique, have good vocal strength, and make good use of instruments.
Top 20 Best Musicians In Africa
1. Angélique Kidjo
Genre: Afropop, Afrobeat
Angélique Kidjo is the face of African music as she has been for several years. She is one of the biggest stars that have ever come out of Africa; and she has the kind of talent that is both rare and dynamic. Angelique Kidjo is known all over the world for her voice; her blend of traditional African music and contemporary beats. There is a mystical appeal to her music; and she sings in various African languages including Yoruba.
Angelique Kidjo is a five time Grammy Winner; her music has is unique in Tempo and flavor. Angelique Kidjo has done so many collaborations with artists all over the world; musicians actually line up to be associated with her.
Angelique Kidjo has performed in all the biggest arenas in the world; and she has performed with some of the world’s biggest stars during the course of her career.
Some of her biggest hits include; Aye, Logozo, Djin Djin, and Ewa Ka Jo.
2. Burna Boy
Genre: Afropop, Afrobeat
Burna Boy is the biggest star among the current generation of musicians in Nigeria. He is rightfully called African Giant after his successful album of the same name. Burna Boy sings Afropop, and Afrobeat, and performs in English, Nigerian Pidgin, and Yoruba among other languages. Burna Boy is a Grammy winning artist; he is one of the very few Africans to have achieved that accolade.
His songs come with rich use of musical instruments, reminiscent of traditional African music. He has frequently sighted Fela Anikulapo Kuti as his influence; his mother was a dancer in Fela’s Band. Burna Boys’ music is very popular on the streets; he makes very good use of local slangs (some of which have to be censored) in his music, therefore showcasing Nigerian street culture in his music.
Interestingly, Burna Boy’s music has attained global recognition; he has performed in the biggest arenas in the world, and has performed with some of the biggest stars in the world, including Ed Sheran from the United Kingdom. Burna Boy has become so big that musicians all over the world line up to perform with the black boy with the big voice.
Pop, Afropop, Afrobeat
Asa is probably the most complete musician in Africa, she has the vocal strength, musical genius, and the charisma of a top artists; one capable of holding any audience spell bound any day. She is one of the artists who do what music professionals call “Serious Music Business,” with their bands which include professional musicians.
Asa produces music in English and Yoruba Languages, and her music is recorded and packaged in France. It is always a joy to see Asa performing African music with her band members, many of whom are Europeans stringing the notes to perfection on their guitars, pianos and drums.
Asa is probably the best guitar player in Africa; and she uses her proficiency with that instrument to great effect. Some of her greatest hits include Fire on the Mountain, Jailer, and Why Can’t We.
Genre: Afrobeat, Afropop, Reggae, Dancehall, and R&B
Wizkid is a global brand in Music, he is one of Nigeria’s biggest music exports, and for a long time was unchallenged as the top African artist. Wizkid does Afrobeat, Afropop, and Dancehall. He produced a collaborative album with a group of friends when he was 11 years old.
He then came into limelight in 2009, and since then he has grown from strength to strength as a musician. Wizkid is an international artist; he has won several awards both in Nigeria and abroad, including a Grammy Award for a collaborative work with Beyonce.
Wizkid has performed in all the biggest stages and arenas in the world; he is one of the most sought after musicians on the continent, collaborating with all the biggest artists in the world.
5. Nasty C
Country: South Africa
Nasty C is a phenomenal musical talent. Africa is not going to be big enough to contain his talent in the near future; he is just like a force of nature; with powerful lyrics, strong vocals, and a talent for composition that is going to be hard to match. Aside from being a rapper, he is also a song writer and record producer.
Nasty C is from South Africa, but he is arguably the biggest name in Rap, not just in that country but on the whole continent. His rap is usually mainstream, and done in English language.
Nasty C was the youngest recipient of an award at the 2015 South African Hip Hop Awards, and his first album Bad Hair (2016) is still being critically acclaimed even after years of production. Nasty C has a deal with Def Jam Records, and has produced an album with the American record company.
He is the recipient of so many awards in the music circles; he is also the biggest musical prospect in South Africa at the moment.
6. 2Face Idibia/2Baba
Genre: Pop, Afropop
2 Face Idibia is one of the biggest and most successful musicians in the history of Nigeria. For a long time he was unchallenged as the musician champion of Nigeria; that was before the rise of Wizkid. 2 Face Idibia started out as a member of a group called the Plantashun Boiz; he then broke out as a solo artist at the behest of Kennis Music in 2004.
2Face Idibia then released his first solo album called Face2Face. That album launched 2Face to fame; and from there he went on to produce several successful albums, touring around the world, and launching his own record label.
2Face Idibia has received several awards both locally and internationally; he has also been courted by international artists from all over the world. 2 Face has become a global brand; he has become an icon as far as music in Africa is concerned.
7. Cassper Nyovest
Country: South Africa
Cassper Nyovest is one of the best musicians in Africa for his genre; he is probably only surpassed by Nasty C. Cassper is known throughout the world for his lyrics, his bounce, and his carriage. He is considered the face of rap music in Africa at the moment, having performed to rave applause in top in arenas across the world.
Cassper Nyovest is also a rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur, record producer and amateur boxer. He launched his debut album in 2014, and didn’t look back since then. Using the momentum provided by his successful album launch, he went on to launch his own record label, Family Tree Records.
Some of his greatest hits include “Don Shabaleza” and “Gusheshe.”
Genre: Pop, Afropop, Afrobeat
Davido is one of the most popular musicians in Africa at the moment; he is a certified musical heavyweight in the country. Davido came into limelight in 2011 with his song Dami Duro, which preceded the release of his album Omo Baba Olowo in the same year. Since then he has not looked back; he has produced successful songs and albums almost every year ever since.
Davido has performed in all the biggest arenas in the world; even selling out the famous O2 Arena in London in double quick time. he has performed collaborations with artists too many to mention, some of them coming from Nigeria, Africa, and everywhere in the world.
Davido is a hugely influential person in Nigeria; he is a record label executive, a philanthropist, and an influencer. Some of his biggest hits include; Blow My Mind (featuring Chris Brown), Dami Duro, If, and Skelewu.
Sarkodie is a musical heavyweight; he is one of the most iconic rappers in Africa; remarkable both for his talent and his longevity. Sarkodie is from Ghana; and he has been the face of the Ghanaian music industry for several years. Sarkodie has been one of the biggest contributors to African music over the last few years; and this has earned him several accolades.
Sarkodie released his first album in 2009; it was titled Makye, and from there he has not looked back. Sarkodie is one of the most recognized artists in Africa; he has collaborated with such a long list of artists in Ghana, and all over the continent; Sarkodie is courted by artists from all over the world; they all want to collaborate with him.
Sarkodie has won several awards during the course of his career; including the Vodafone Ghana Music Award for “Artiste of the Decade”, and the BET’s Best International Flow artist.
10. Diamond Platnumz
Genre: Bongo Flava, Pop, Afropop
Diamond Platnumz is the biggest musician in Tanzania and probably the whole of East Africa. He came into limelight in 2010, although he was already into music as far back as 2007. Diamond Platnumz has produced songs with artists from so many countries on the continent; he is one of the biggest artists on the continent.
Diamond Platnumz is also a dancer, philanthropist and a businessman.
11. Master KG
Country: South Africa
Master KG is a South African musician; he has broken all boundaries with his music despite being so young, and relatively new in the music industry. Master KG came into limelight in 2017 with his song Skeleton Move. From there he went on to produce several top hits. He has performed in several top music arenas in the continent. Some of his biggest hits include “Remember” and “Jerusalema.”
12. Black Coffee
Country: South Africa
Genres: House, Classical
Black Coffee is a South African DJ, record producer and songwriter. He is mainly a DJ, but one that is not just content with playing other people’s songs. He therefore writes his own songs and produces his own beats which he makes into songs in collaboration with top artists.
His career began around 1994, but he became prominent after participating in the 2004 Red Bull Music Academy. He established his own record label Soulistic Music, released debut self-titled album Black Coffee 2005. He is very versatile and talented; he is sought after both in Africa and abroad.
Black Coffee has won so many awards, including a Grammy Award.
13. Wande Coal
Genres: Pop, Afropop
Wande Coal has one of the most unique voices in Africa. He is one of the few who truly make music with attention to vocal quality, and who is not afraid to sing his heart out. He started out as a choir in his church in Lagos, and he came to limelight in 2006 through Don Jazzy’s Mo Hits Records.
He stayed on with Don Jazzy by joining Mavin Records, but left shortly afterwards to Ghana where he now resides. Wande Coal has served as a bridge between Ghana and Nigeria in terms of music. He has performed in several top arenas in the world, and has collaborated several top artists all around the continent. Wande Coal has also won several awards over the course of his career.
14. Fally Ipupa
Genre: Congo Music, Makossa
Fally Ipupa is one of the best musicians in Africa for his talent and versatility, as well as for his longevity. He is a Congolese musician, singer, drummer and dancer, as well as a Guitarist. He was a member of the Quartier Latin International, the music band formed in 1986 by Koffi Olomidé. However, he came to fame in 2006 with the release of Droit Chemin in 2006.
Since then he has grown from strength to strength; he is one of the most recognized names in African music. He has won several awards, including a Grammy Award.
15. Yvonne Chaka Chaka
Country: (South Africa)
Genres: Pop, Electro
Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a South African musician, actress, activist, and philanthropist. She has been one of the most familiar names in African music for more than 35 years. Yvonne Chaka Chaka has thrilled audiences across the world with her vocal strength and her musical genius. Yvonne Chaka Chaka been named as one of the most influential women in the world; she has been a civil rights icon and a source of inspiration for girls around the world.
Genres: Bongo Flava, Afropop
Rayvanny is a Tanzanian musician; he came into limelight in 2016 with his song Kwetu. He has been described as the most successful Bongo Flava musician. He has release many songs, and collaborated with numerous artists both from the continent and beyond.
17. Mr. Eazy
Genres: Banku, Afropop
Mr Eazy is a Nigerian musician who is based in Ghana. His interest in music started when he was in college, and he began organizing college parties, and booking artists. He became quite popular, thus prompting him to release a mix-tape titled About To Blow.
He has grown into one of the biggest stars in Nigeria; and has since blossomed into a major act on the international scene, especially as he is based in Ghana. Mr Eazy has also performed with several big stars both in Nigeria and abroad, and he has won several awards as well.
18. Mr Timaya
Genres: Afropop, Dancehall, Reggae
Mr Timaya is a very dynamic Nigerian musician who rose to fame in 2006 with his song Dem Mama, in which he highlighted atrocities committed by the Nigerian army against the people of his native Odi Village, in Bayelsa, Nigeria. From there he rebranded himself, and has gone on to be styled as the king of the dancehall.
He has toured the world, and performed with big stars all over Africa. Timaya is known for his talent, his versatility, and his longevity.
19. Tiwa Savage
Genre: Pop, R&B, Afropop
Tiwa Savage is probably the best female vocalist in Nigeria. She grew up in London, and later moved to the US; where she started her career as a singer. However, it was in Nigeria with Don Jazzy’s Mo Hits Records that she came into limelight. Since then she has established herself as a top artistes she has toured the world, and collaborated with some of the biggest names in music on the continent. She has also won several awards.
20. DJ Maphorisa
DJ Maphorisa is a South African singer, record producer, DJ and vocalist. His is considered a musical genius for seamlessly blending house music, amapiano and afropop into his music. He has worked with several top artists including Drake, Wizkid, Sizwe Alakine, Kwesta, Uhuru, Black Coffee, Major Lazer, Runtown and so on.
He has won several awards, as well as received nominations for many others.
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The best musicians in Africa have been selected from several genres of music which are all popular in their various regions of the continent. Of course, originality is greatly considered, but commercial success is also quite important. Africans know how to appreciate good music; therefore a music that appeals to a large section of Africa has to be good music, and done by a good musician.