Posted on :- 02/01/2019
The African music industry is growing day by day, with 2018 showing an exponential increase in music quality, content and the World’s acceptance of the African sound. It has been difficult to keep up with the fast pace of the African music in 2018 due to huge success and breakout of new acts too. We have therefore compiled a list of 15 African music creatives in 2018 based on hits, awards, impact and mainstream success.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun has definitely had a superb year, dropping bangers and racking up huge endorsement deals. The World star became the first African pop artiste to sell out the 20,000 O2 Arena and also performed at the Reading Festival in UK. He was also billed to perform at Coachella but couldn’t due to Visa issues.
On the African continent, he performed alongside Beyonce, Jay Z, Usher, Pharrell Williams and many more at the Global Citizen Festival in South Africa. Off the music scene, Wizkid became the first artiste to launch a football jersey after his collaboration with Nike to produce his STARBOY jersey. The jersey sold out in three minutes.
Wizkid sealed a huge endorsement deal with Ciroc and also walked the runway alongside supermodel Naomi Campbell for Dolce and Gabbana at the Milan Fashion Show. In the last quarter of the year, Wizkid performed at a Royal Wedding in India where he earned about N245 million making him one of the highest paid artiste ever in the world.
2. Asa (Nigeria)
Many might think French-Nigerian singer and songwriter, Asa was under the radar in 2018, however, this is totally untrue. The multi-award winner did several side gigs whilst earning some endorsement deals. Despite spending most of her time out of Nigeria, Asa shared the stage with Femi Kuti at the Johnnie, Jazz and Whiskey (JJW) concert in Lagos to thrill fans to her evergreen songs. Also, she performed at the Spice Lifestyle Honours just to mention a few. Asa is definitely one to look out for in 2019.
3. Nasty C (South Africa)
Arguably Africa’s youngest talent to surface in the past three years. Nasty C has already made a huge name for himself and the rapper doesn’t appear to be slowing down considering his achievements in 2018. He released his album STRINGS AND BLINGS which is one of 2018's best rap albums, with the album going PLATINUM. Nasty C is the most streamed artiste in South Africa for 2018 (Spotify - 5.6 million, Apple music - 20 million) while also making 2018 Forbes Africa 30 list.
He became the first South African artiste to receive Youtube Silver Play button and Gold Plaque. He further blessed his South African fans with a successful South African Tour - The Ivyson Tour. Nasty C launched an independent record imprint label named Tall Racks Records.
King Promise has definitely been a standout artiste in the Ghanaian music industry in 2018. The singer further expanded to neighbouring countries such as Nigeria, featuring many huge African artistes. He won the Best Male vocalist at the 2018 Ghana Music Awards UK and was nominated at the 2019 Soundcity MVP Awards as well as the 2018 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. King Promise featured on Mr Eazi’s album while he also featured Wizkid on his hit track “Tokyo”. His CCTV track is one of the best African tracks that was released in 2018.
5. Burna Boy (Nigeria)
Arguably the Best African artiste of the year! Burna Boy rose from a turbulent 2017 full of negatives and returned to the forefront of the African music industry this year. The singer began the year on a high, releasing his album titled OUTSIDE in January. The likes of Heavens gate, Ye and many other tracks occupied the African continent with immediate effect. The singer then had a successful tour in the US before releasing more hit tracks such as Gbona and On the Low. He shut down 5,000 capacity O2 Brixton in the UK and headlined his first Nigerian concert on December 26. Burna Boy has been nominated in many categories at the 2019 Soundcity Awards including the ARTISE OF THE YEAR category.
6.Betty G (Ethiopia)
It has been a remarkable year for one of the breakout music stars in Africa. Betty G gathered six nominations at the 2018 AFRIMA awards. She won three categories out of the six – Album of the year, Revelation of the African continent and Best female in East Africa. She also made history by becoming the FIRST Ethiopian to win the Album of the year category at the AFRIMAs. Her 2018 album titled WEGEGTA is selling really fast across Africa. We hope she can build on a great 2018 in the coming year.
7.Cassper Nyovest (South Africa)
A South African music legend and a rap god, Cassper didn’t rest on his 2017 laurels and made bigger moves in 2018. His 4th studio album titled SWEET AND SHORT released on December 1,2018 went platinum in 24 hours. The rapper who made history in December 2017 by filling up the 68,000 FNB stadium secured a huge Ciroc endorsement deal and racked up huge streams on music platforms; iTunes and Spotify.
8. Shekinah (South Africa)
Another South African who has done well for herself. Shekinah bagged 3 awards out of 6 nominations at the 2018 South African Music Awards (SAMA). She was also nominated alongside Davido, Nasty C and many more in the BEST AFRICAN ACT at the 2018 BET Awards. Shekinah was nominated for the South African Female Artiste of the year at the 2018 AFRIMAs while her album titled ROSEGOLD was also certified PLATINUM in 2018.
9. Mr Eazi (Nigeria)
Tosin Ajibade continues to ensure he’s a force to be reckoned with in the African music scene. The singer dropped his sophomore music project titled LAGOS TO LONDON which had about 80 million streams in its first week. He also performed at the UK Wireless Festival in the UK and racked up many nominations at different awards this year including the Soundcity MVPs. He’s one of Africa’s leading digital artiste amassing huge streams on music platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and Youtube. He also established a project titled “EMPAWA 100”.
10. Killertunes (Nigeria)
Famous for his SHOBALISTICA introduction, he became relevant in the Nigerian music scene after producing most of the hit songs of 2018 such as Fake Love (Starboy ft. Wizkid, Duncan Mighty), Motigbana by Olamide, Nowo (Dj Spinall ft. Wizkid), Co-produced Bobo (Mayorkun ft. Davido) and many more. The young music producer is signed to Dj Spinall's THE CAP MUSIC and has earned a lot for putting his immense talent to use in 2018.
11.Sho Madjozi (South Africa)
Sho Madjozi Made history by becoming one of the few local acts to perform at the Global Citizen Festival alongside Beyonce, Jay Z, WIzkid, Pharrell and many more. Only South African to perform at the Born in Africa Festival in Nigeria whilst securing huge endorsement deals.She released an album titled LIMPOPO CHAMPION's LEAGUE which has made moves across Africa.
It has been a remarkable year for one of Nigeria’s finest singers. From performing and selling out the O2 Indigo venue in the UK to headlining a sold out concert in Nigeria too, Simi expanded her brand and made more money in 2018 while also shooting numerous videos from her Simisola album.
13. Sauti Sol (Kenya)
This music group has been consistent from way back and they continued in that frame in 2018. They won numerous awards in 2018 whilst also getting huge nominations including Style and fashion awards due to their unique manner of showcasing the African culture in their outfits.
Some of the awards and nominations include :
- Won the HOTTEST GROUP category at the African Entertainment Awards
- Nominated in THREE categories at the 2019 Soundcity MVP Awards
- Won Best Collaboration award at the 2018 Pulse Music Video Awards
- Nominated in TWO categories at the ALL AFRICA MUSIC AWARDS
- Nominated in THREE categories at the AFRIMAs
- Nominated in Two categories at the Abryanz Style and fashion awards
The quartet’s hit songs such as Melanin, Short and sweet and many more will remain an evergreen jam.
14. Distruction Boyz (South Africa)
Famous for their dancehall beats and style of music, the duo have definitely come a long way and will likely remain for a long time. They received a BET nomination in the BEST AFRICAN ACT category competing with the likes of Davido, Shekinah, Nasty C and many more for the coveted accolade. Their song titled OMUNYE won RECORD OF THE YEAR at the 2018 South African Music Awards (SAMA). Distruction Boyz produced one of 2018’s hit song titled PAKISHA by Dladla Mshunqisi ft. Dj Tira and Distruction Boyz. The duo won BEST GROUP/DUO at the 2018 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival
15. Cynthia Morgan (Nigeria)
Despite being reportedly affected by the split of iconic music group P-square, the reggae/dancehall artiste rose above this and other challenges to have a good 2018. Cynthia Morgan changed her stagename to Madrina which could kick start a prosperous 2019 for her. With her 2018 hit single titled "Billion Dollar Woman", she's definitely a huge force to be reckoned with in 2019.
So yes! you have gotten to the end of the list and you are probably wondering why Tiwa Savage or Davido is non-existent, WATCH OUT for our fact-filled article dissecting why the duo didn't make our list.