Last updated on January 4th, 2023 at 07:10 am
Who are the top 50 best musicians in Africa 2023 today? The best artists in Africa list consist of some really famous names from the new generation to the old generation of the Africa music industry.
Do you know that 85% of millennials think that the best African musicians of all time are just new names like Wizkid, Burnaboy, Diamond Platnumz, Sarkodie, and others?
Well, that’s far from the truth, especially because, before these names, there were names before these ones took over.
So, the rest part of this post will explore the top 50 best musicians in Africa 2022, taking into note artists from the old days to the new generation of millennials.
The criterion for making this list is simply:
- how popular such artists are in their respective country
- Their popularity across countries
- How they have influenced African music in general
This list negates factors such as views and social following since some of the artists on this list date back to when social media wasn’t a thing.
N.B: This list will go from the top 10 best musicians in Africa 2021 down to the top 50.
Now come let’s explore a complete list of some of the greatest musicians in Africa taking into account 1970 to date.
Top 10 Best Musicians In Africa 2022
Who are the top 10 best musicians in Africa of all time? The 10 best African artists of all time include:
Don’t have time to go through the top 50? Here is a table of the top ten best musicians in Africa.
|Artist Name||Country Origin||Deceased or Alive|
|Lucky Dube||South Africa||Deceased|
|Angelique Kidjo||Benin Republic||Alive|
|Kofi Olomude||DR Congo||Alive|
|Hugh Masekela||South Africa||Deceased|
|Papa Wemba||DR Congo||Deceased|
- Lucky Dube
- Yousour Ndour
- Angelique Kidjo
- Kofi Olomude
- Hugh Masekela
- Papa Wemba
Lucky Dube (South Africa)
I know what you are going to say and that’s that Lucky Dube is dead and he should not make this list.
but that’s far from the truth and remember I said the criteria for making this list is how popular these artists are both in and out of the country.
Considering Lucky Dube is the most popular artist in Africa, it’s crazy not to put him first on this list.
Dube is one of the pioneers of Reggae music in Africa and his songs were enjoyed by both old and young.
While millennials know little of this legend and one of the greatest musicians in Africa of all time, he is top on this list because he made Reggae popular in the continent.
Lucky Dube is a South African musician known for his ability to touch even the darkest of souls.
One of his popular songs slaves is still played every single day across the continent.
If you have not listened to Slave then you are missing a song with lots of passion, wrapped in storytelling.
Lucky Dube is number one on the SMCE list of the best musicians in Africa.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti (Nigeria)
Fela is a Nigerian musician and the founding father of Afrobeat which combined Yoruba, Funk, Jazz, and Afro-Cuban music.
He is popularly known as the pioneer of Afrobeat in the continent.
The genre combines different genres across the continent to form what is now contemporary Afrobeat.
The genre is popular across indigenous Western Africa and its birth saw the likes of Wizkid take it global.
Fela reached the heart of the world with his talent which cut across not just music but also politics.
He is famous for being a Pan Africanist, a movement that encourages the coming together of Africans worldwide.
One of his most popular songs is Zombie, a song that explores the theme of political oppression across the continent of Africa.
Fela is one of the top 5 best musicians in Africa thanks to being the founder of Afrobeat which is now global.
Yousour Ndour (Senegal)
This list won’t be complete without adding N’dour to the list frankly.
I mean the Senegalese singer literally developed the mbalax which is loved by all Senegambian.
Peter Gabriel introduced Yousour to the international audience after his feature on his album.
N’dour started his career as a small-time musician singing in a club and one popular club is Kasse’s Club in Dakar where he was born.
The Mbalax has had its traditional roots in Serer music with links to Njuup and Ndul initiation ceremonies.
Yousour Ndour has won several awards and at some point in 2004 to be precise, he was described as the most famous singer alive by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Ndour is a Senegalese singer, composer, songwriter, and occasional actor with breakthrough movies such as Return to Goree.
If you do a Google search about Akon, you will see results such as he is an American musician.
but Akon in my opinion is a Senegalese singer, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, and rapper.
His rose to fame can not be overstated and his influence in music has been very telling.
Akon is popular worldwide thanks to songs like Lonely and Locked Up which brought an untold amount of fame.
Akon has worked with some of the very best of the best musicians in the world including names like The Great Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
Aliaune Badara has also won several awards around the globe with several platinum certifications.
As a matter of fact, he has got nominated for the Grammy in categories such as best contemporary R&B Album, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Akon left the music scene to focus on business before coming back in 2019 to release albums all over the world.
He decided to tailor his albums to country’s around the world due to the language barrier.
He currently has a Spanish album, an Afrobeat album, and much more.
Heck, this morning I had to even listen to his song Escape featuring Afrobeat star Wizkid.
While Fela is the pioneer of Afrobeat in Africa, his death saw singer Wizkid carry his legacy forward.
The genre survived on the international stage thanks to the work put in by Wizkid and other Afrobeat musicians in West Africa.
However, credit should be given where it is due because Wizkid took the genre global which is now accepted worldwide.
Wizkid is a Nigerian musician, singer, and songwriter with lots of hit tracks and one of the top 20 highest paid influencers in Africa.
His recent album Made In Lagos received lots of positive reviews while also topping album charts in Nigeria for more than 90 days.
If you have listened to songs like Ojuelegba then perhaps you understand why he is one of the top 50 best singers in Africa right now.
His fan base has also been very supportive of the singer while echoing his achievements all over social media.
When doing my research for this blog post, I also read a little about his net worth and biography.
So far, he has been consistent for the past 10 years and his songs very much resonate with millennials.
If you come from the 60s, perhaps songs from Fela, King Sunny Ade, Hugh Masekela would resonate more with you.
Having said that, Wizkid no doubt is one of the best musicians in Nigeria currently with competition for the spot only from great names like 2face Idibia.
Angelique Kidjo (Republic Of Benin)
I find it interesting that most millennials in West Africa do not know this name.
Well, it just goes to show that despite how easily accessible information is now, millennials in Africa do not know their history.
With that said, Kidjo has been one of the greatest names to have emerged from the Africa music industry.
She is a Grammy Award winner and beat Burnaboy to the Grammy in 2019 which she dedicated to Oluwaburna.
She started singing at a very tender age thanks to her mother singing troupe.
This gave Kidjo the early background in traditional music and cultural style to make her songs stand out from the rest.
My father still plays songs like Wombolobo because he comes from the old generation of fans.
Her creative music videos has made her one of the best in the game of music and if you doubt that then watch her 2019 song with Yemi Alade.
Kidjo has roots in both Yoruba and Benin which has a huge influence on her career as a singer.
Damini Ogulu only just recently came on the music scene but my people say it’s not how far but how well.
His lyrical prowess has seen the singer receive a nomination for the Grammy twice.
His most recent album has been the talk among fans from all over the world with positive critical acclaim.
After spending less than 10 years in the industry Burnaboy has amassed a loyal following.
His achievements can not be underplayed, I mean he is currently one of the richest musicians in Nigeria and it was his songs that took him there.
As his net worth continues to grow, there is more Burnaboy has to give in terms of music to Africa.
I mean if you have listened to songs such as monsters you made then you have probably caught a glimpse of his lyrical prowess.
As I type, I have my headphone strapped to my head as I listen to Burnaboy’s Twice As Tall album.
Koffi Olomide (DRC Congo)
It is difficult to talk about the top 10 best African musicians in indigenous Africa and not call this name.
Olomide is one of the best musicians in Congo thanks to his prowess in fast Soukous Ndombolo.
Koffi Olomude is a Congolese singer, record producer, and dancer with more than 2 Gold record certifications.
His ability to relate with the crowd is the reason he stands out from the singers of his time.
His relevance in the industry today shows how much impact he has had on music in Congo and the rest of Africa.
Koffi has filled up international stages and am not talking just any type of stage, I am saying big venues in France.
He is currently one of the richest artists in Africa thanks to his hugely successful music career.
Plus if you have not listened to songs like Effrakata Loi then you are missing an opportunity to really shake your body.
Now here a video of one of his popular songs, I hope you enjoy it the way I did the first time I watched it.
Hugh Masekela (South African)
Music in South Africa has been developing constantly into what it is today and there are some really great names we can’t forget easily.
Among such household names is Hugh Masekela who is one of the best musicians in South Africa today.
His ability to play multiple musical instruments is why he has been referred to as a musical genius.
Image Source: NewSound
I mean he is a cornetist, a trumpeter, a flugelhornist, and a composer and he reminds me of Nigerian music star Flavour.
Masekela started singing back in the late 1950s and with his music, he touched the generation of then listeners.
I mean I still have not forgotten songs like Grazing in the grass and bajabula bonke which were both hit songs.
In the world of today, Hugh Masekela is referred to as one of the best jazz musicians to have emerged from Africa while also cementing his place as one of the greatest musicians in Africa of all time.
Now come let’s take a look at another legend on the list of best African musicians, shall we?
Papa Wemba (DR Congo)
Music in Congo has really evolved but it’s impossible not to mention some names in the Congolese music industry.
When you and I talk about how much Africa has evolved, it is good to give credit to the players that were there before this generation came along.
I mean these African musicians existed at a time when social media wasn’t popular and yet broke records and made names for themselves.
With the ushering in of social media, almost everything musicians did became really easy.
Papa Wemba is one of the most popular artists in Africa and his music which cut across Rumba, soukous and Ndombolo made me dance whenever I listen to it.
Call it a sense of appreciation even in a world now ruled by millennials.
Today you could say Papa Wemba is among the singers that made Soukous, Ndombolo a popular music genre in DRC Congo.
Papa Wemba’s rise to fame came about after he joined the music group Zaiko Langa Langa in the 60s.
His sounded fused together traditional rumba and soukous to create a sound unique to fans in the Republic.
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He died in April 2016 and no doubt he made my list of top 10 best musicians in the African continent.
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