The Beat of Africa: Discover the Top 10 Upcoming Afrobeat Artists Pushing The Sound Globally

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Afrobeat music has a beat that makes you nod your head, a rhythm that flows through your veins, and a message that touches your soul. With a new generation of artists pushing the boundaries of the sound and style, it’s no wonder that this genre is taking over the global stage.

These young artists are not only producing varied and exciting music, but they are also introducing new viewpoints to the Afrobeat field. We’ll introduce you to the top 10 rising Afrobeat artists in this article. 

With their own sounds and techniques, these musicians are creating waves in the business, from Ruger’s high-energy performances to Aya Nakamura’s silky and seductive vocals.

Ckay

afrobeat artist ckay
Photo Courtesy of Ckay’s Instagram

Chukwuka Ekweani, better known as Ckay, is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and record producer who has taken the music world by storm. He is signed to Warner Music South Africa and Atlantic Records, and was formerly signed to Chocolate City.

His international hit single “Love Nwantiti” was released in 2019 and quickly rose to the top of the charts. On 29 March 2022, the song debuted at number one on the Billboard Afrobeats chart, and on 9 May 2022, it became the first African song to surpass one billion streams on Spotify.

Ckay’s rise to fame began in 2014 when he was discovered and relocated to Lagos. He began working with Chocolate City in early 2015 and officially joined their artist roster in 2016. In 2017, he released his debut EP “Who the Fuck Is CKay?” which helped to establish him in the Nigerian music scene.

In 2018, he released the hit single “Container” which earned him substantial airplay, and in 2019 he released his EP “CKay the First” which featured the hit single “Love Nwantiti.”

The success of “Love Nwantiti” led to Ckay being signed to Warner Music Africa and Atlantic Records, and in 2021 the song went viral on TikTok and became an international hit.

Ckay has also been featured on songs by Davido and Ayra Starr, and in 2021 he became the first African artist to hit 20 million Spotify listeners. In 2022, he released the hit single “Emiliana” which charted across Europe and Africa, reaching number 9 in France and earning him his first top 5 ranking on the Nigeria TurnTable Top 50 chart. Ckay is a talented artist who continues to make waves in the music industry and has a bright future ahead of him.

Ruger

afrobeat artist ruger
Photo Courtesy of Ruger’s Instagram

Eyepatch rocking prodigy Ruger, born Michael Adebayo Olayinka, is a Nigerian Afrobeat singer and songwriter who burst onto the scene in 2021 after signing a record deal with D’Prince’s Jonzing World record label and a publishing and distribution deal with Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment, UK division.

On March 4th, 2021, he released his debut EP Pandemic, which featured the hit song “Bounce” which debuted at number 39 on the Top 50 chart and number 20 on the TurnTable End of the Year chart.

Ruger has been making music since a young age and was a member of his school music band and church choir as a teenager. After being discovered by D’Prince, he was given the stage name “Ruger” and quickly made a splash with his first song, which hit seventy million units in just three days.

In November 2021, he released his second EP, The Second Wave, which was led by the hit track “Dior” which became the number-one song in Nigeria and several other African countries.

Ruger has received numerous accolades and nominations for his music, including being nominated for the 2021 AFRIMMA award for Best Newcomer and the 2021 AFRIMA award for Best Artiste, Duo or Group in African Reggae, Ragga or Dancehall. He was also listed as one of Vogue Magazine UK’s 22 Musicians Set to Rule 2022.

Ladipoe

afrobeat artist ladipoe
Photo Courtesy of Ladipoe’s Instagram

Ladipo Eso, better known as Ladipoe or Poe, is a Nigerian rapper and musician who has taken the music scene by storm. In February 2017, he signed a record deal with Mavin Records and quickly rose to prominence with the song “Feel Alright” in which he was featured by SDC “Show Dem Camp.”

He also released a new single “Jaiye” in March 2019 before dropping the hit song, “Know You” featuring Nigerian Joromi singer, Simi. He is also a member of the Nigerian supergroup Collectiv3.

Poe’s 2021 single, “Feeling” which featured BNXN peaked at number one of the TurnTable Top 50 chart on 3 occasions. He performed “Feeling” at the opening show of the sixth season of Big Brother Naija. The song, “Feeling” became a hit, it even hit the clubs in South Africa and is still people’s favorite African song on the internet right now.

Despite the challenges of building a rap career in an environment where rap music is less appreciated, Ladipoe has continued to press on and reflect on his struggles in the music industry. He attributes his success to his prayers to God.

Ladipoe’s discography includes the singles “Know You” featuring Simi, “Rap Messiah,” “Feeling” featuring Buju, “Big Energy,” and albums “Talk About Poe” and “Providence EP.”

He has also been recognized with several awards and nominations, including The Headies award for Best Collaboration for “Know You” and The Headies 2022 award for Best Rap Single for “Feeling.”

Omah Lay

afrobeat artist omah lay
Photo Courtesy of Omah Lay’s Instagram

Stanley Omah Didia a.k.a Omah lay, an award-winning artist hailing from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has quickly risen to fame with his unique blend of Afrobeat and R&B. 

Born into a musical family, Lay’s passion for music was evident from a young age. He first made waves in the music scene with the release of his self-produced single “Bad Influence” in 2019. The song quickly went viral on social media, propelling him into the spotlight.

Since then, Lay has continued to showcase his talent on records with some of the biggest names in the industry such as Masterkraft, 6lack, and Olamide. His five-track debut EP, “Get Layd,” further solidified his place in the Afrobeat scene. He recently collaborated with global superstar Justin Bieber on the song “Attention”, making him one of the highly anticipated acts at the Afro Nation stage in Puerto Rico.

Lay’s unique sound is characterized by his soulful vocals that seamlessly blend with Afrobeat rhythms. His popular songs include “I’m A Mess”, “Woman” and “Understand” with Olamide. He is best known for his ability to create music that is both relatable and catchy.

Lay won the Next Rated award at the 2020 Headies Awards. With his rise to fame and collaborations with big names, it’s safe to say that we can expect more great music from him in the near future.

Gyakie

afrobeat artist gyakie
Photo Courtesy of Gyakie’s Instagram

Gyakie, born Jacqueline Acheampong, is a Ghanaian R&B and afro-fusion singer. She was born into a family of musicians and by the age of eight had begun joining her father in the studio. 

She was also influenced by Asa and Ghanaian musician Omar Sterling of R2Bees. In February 2019, Gyakie released her first single “Love is Pretty”, followed by “Never Like This”. 

In August 2020, she released a five-track EP titled “Seed”, which included the popular track “Forever”. This song was her claim to fame, enjoying airplay and leading charts in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.

In March 2021, Gyakie released a remix of “Forever” with Nigerian singer Omah Lay, and was adjudged the emerging woman of the year at the 2021 3Music Women’s Brunch for the 3Music Awards 2021.

She has since signed an international record deal with Sony Music Entertainment, RCA Records UK and Sony Music Africa. In March 2022, she was adjudged the Woman of the Year for the 3Music Awards 2022 during the 3Music Women’s brunch.

In June 2022, Gyakie was featured on the Grammys Herbal Tea and White Sofas interview, a new series where artists reveal their backstage must-haves.

She has released 2 EPs, “SEED” (2020) and “MY DIARY” (2022) which features Nigerian musician Davido.

Gyakie has received several awards and nominations throughout her career, including the 3Music Awards for Emerging Woman of the Year in 2021 and Woman of the Year in 2022, as well as the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards for Best New Artist and Best AfroBeats/AfroPop song of the year. 

She also won the International Collaboration of the Year at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards in 2022.

BNXN

Photo Courtesy of BNXN’s Instagram

BNXN (formerly known as Buju) is a Nigerian Afro-fusion singer, songwriter, and record producer. He released his extended play project “Sorry I’m Late” in October 2021, and it featured guest appearances from Nigerian Highlife music duo, The Cavemen, and production from Steph, Perlz, Denzl, Timi Jay and Rexxie.

It was mixed and mastered by Vtek and Poppil. On December 2021, Buju headlined his first sold-out concert in Lagos, held at Balmoral Convection centre.

In 2022, Buju officially changed his name to BNXN to avoid confusion for being mistaken with Buju Banton and having more unique branding. In March 2022, he collaborated with Pheelz on the single “Finesse”; the song peaked at number 52 on the UK’s Official Singles Chart.

In July 2022, he featured on the Jae5 song “Propeller” alongside British rapper Dave. The song became BNXN’s first Top 40 single in the United Kingdom, entering the chart at number 38.

On September 2022, BNXN won The Headies 2022 Next Rated award which was held in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. With his unique sound and style, BNXN is definitely one to watch for in the music industry.

His rise to fame is an inspiration and a true testament to the power of hard work and perseverance. With more music and collaborations on the way, BNXN is on a path to take over the music world.

Lojay

Photo Courtesy of Lojay’s Instagram

Lojay, born Lekan Osifeso Jnr., is a Nigerian musician, singer, songwriter and performing artist. He gained widespread recognition in 2021 with his hit song “Monalisa” featuring Chris Brown and Sarz, which peaked at number 8 on the Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs chart and was the most played Afrobeats song on Shazam according to Cool FM Nigeria and NotJustOk. He was also nominated for The Headies award for Next Rated Artiste for the year 2022.

Lojay started music professionally in 2016 on a part-time basis while he was still an undergraduate and then went on to focus solely on music after obtaining his degree. In December 2017, he released his debut EP, Midnight Vibes, which consisted of five tracks.

In 2019, he released the single Ariel and in 2020 he released another single titled Ogogoro. Between his initial sojourn into the music industry in 2016 and the release of his breakout songs in 2021, Lojay dropped several singles including Along, Kuli Kuli, and Over the Bar.

In May 2021, he released his sophomore EP titled LV N ATTN, a collaborative EP with producer Sarz, which included his breakout singles “Tonongo” and “Monalisa”, as well as the track “LV N ATTN” featuring Wizkid.

The EP earned a nomination for The Headies award for Next Rated Artiste for the year 2021/2022. In November 2021, he was featured on DJ Neptune’s song “Only fan” alongside Zlatan Ibile.

In 2022, he took part in the Heineken UEFA Champions League trophy tour in Nigeria. Lojay is known for his ability to switch between genres, and in an interview, he stated that “he doesn’t have a genre and he’s not going to put himself in a box just because people expect it.” He is an artist to watch out for in the Afrobeats music scene.

Ayra Starr

Photo Courtesy of Ayra Starr’s’s Instagram

Ayra Starr is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. She was born in Cotonou, Benin and began her career in fashion at the age of 16 with Quove Model Management before deciding to pursue her musical career.

After covering several songs by popular artists on Instagram, she posted her first original song on her page in December 2019. This brought her to the attention of record executive Don Jazzy, and led to her signing to Mavin Records.

In early 2021, Ayra Starr achieved mainstream recognition with her eponymous debut extended play and its hit track “Away” which spent two consecutive weeks at number four on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50 and went to number 17 on US Billboard Top Triller Global.

This paved the way for the release of her first full-length mixtape, “19 & Dangerous” in August 2021. Categorized mainly as Afropop and R’nB, the album has been met with favorable critical reception.

It spawned two top forty hits in Nigeria and the lead single “Bloody Samaritan” peaked atop the Top 50 chart, becoming the first solo song by a female artist to reach the number-one position. Starr debuted on Pandora Predictions chart, and on 28 August 2021, she ranked number two on Billboard’s Next Big Sound.

Ayra Starr’s unique blend of R&B and Afrobeats has made her a top upcoming artist to watch. With her talent, drive and ability to create hit songs, she is destined for greatness.

1da Banton

afrobeat artist
Photo Courtesy of 1Da Banton’s Instagram

1Da Banton is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer who is quickly making a name for himself in the Afrobeats industry.

Born and raised in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, 1Da Banton was pursuing a degree in civil engineering before he decided to drop out and begin his music career. He relocated to Lagos in 2014 after signing a deal with Adasa Cookey’s Squareball Entertainment.

In July 2017, he released his debut extended play (EP) titled “The Banton EP”, which included the song “Way Up” which was used as the theme song for the third season of Big Brother Naija. This helped to gain him recognition in the industry.

But it was the release of “No Wahala” in 2021, which was one of the tracks on his album “Original Vibe Machine”, that truly put him on the map. The song “No Wahala” was listed among the 2021 Spotify playlist favorite songs of the year by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which helped to increase his visibility in the industry.

In 2022, 1Da Banton released a remix of “No Wahala” which featured Kizz Daniel and Tiwa Savage, which helped to further increase his popularity. He has also collaborated with Jamaican singer Kranium, Ghanaian dancehall musician Stonebwoy, and Nigerian artists Zlatan, Seyi Shay, and Blaqbonez, which helped to increase his exposure and gain new fans.

1Da Banton’s unique blend of R&B and Afrobeats and his ability to collaborate with other artists in the industry have made him one of the top upcoming Afrobeats artists to watch. With his talent, drive, and ability to create hit songs, it is clear that 1Da Banton is destined for greatness.

King Promise

Photo Courtesy of King Promise’s Instagram

With his unique sound, King Promise is quickly becoming a global force in the music industry, and his music is sure to continue to captivate audiences around the world.

Boasting a musical background that is deeply entrenched in his upbringing, King Promise has taken the lessons learned from his “musichead” father and re-crafted Afrobeats into a culture-spanning experience. His signature sound is characterized by his ability to seamlessly blend together boybands, reggae, and Ghanaian highlife, creating a sound that resonates with people from all walks of life. His collaboration with Headie One, “Slow Down,” has already earned him widespread acclaim, and his 2021 MOBO Awards nomination for Best African Music Act further cements his status as an artist to watch.

King Promise’s popular songs such as “Slow Down” and “Tokyo” are testament to his skill in combining different genres and cultures. His unique sound is quickly making waves in the music industry, and his music is sure to continue to captivate audiences around the world.


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