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20 Emerging African Artistes Poised to Stun the World

20 Emerging African Artistes Poised to Stun the World

Leila

By Emmanuel Daraloye, Chinonso Ihekire, and Yinoluwa Olowofoyeku

Edited by Owanate Max-Harry

The various regions of Africa have always seemed isolated in their musical tastes due to language and genre differences. However, once in a while, the sound by African artistes from these parts would travel across borders and regions, reaching fans all over the continent and the globe. These days, direct streaming platforms (DSPs) and other e-vehicles have become indispensable tools for disseminating African music, resulting in quicker global penetration for lesser known artistes. This means that you do not have to be a Wizkid, Sauti Sol, or Fally Ipupa to have an intercontinental hit. But breaking into the limelight isn’t always so easy, and the vast amount of content by African musical artistes available also means that a lot of gems get buried in the thicket.

If there is anything to be proud of among this generation of newcomers, it is that they have hacked alternative ways to emerge into popularity. Now, it is easier to flourish as an independent African artiste, grow a community and harness its power, as well as handle the basic requirements of music publishing, licensing, and synchronisation without being signed to a major record label. It may seem that these blooming African superstars have a better shot at greatness, and it takes a great publication to recognise a superstar before they emerge.

In this Afrocritik special, we spotlight some of the best rising artistes from across the continent and within the diaspora, giving you more voices to sate your ever-expanding music consumption. Enjoy the adventure! 

(Read also: Seven Talented Nollywood Actors on the Cusp of Stardom)

NORTHERN AFRICA

The Leila – Morocco

Leila

Born in Oujda in the East of Morocco, Leila is a soul, pop, and RnB guru who grew up in a culturally rich environment. She drew her inspiration from the multiple musical styles of the country: Regada, Âarfa, Mechiakha, Gharnati, Ray, and Algerian Chaâbi.

She started performing at a very young age and recorded her first single at the age of fifteen. With her music having a soul of its own, the elegant chanteuse continues to craft a legacy that gives props to the culture that birthed her. 

Dafencii – Sudan 

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While Sudan is arguably couched within Eastern Africa, some of its artistes, especially the Arabic acts, have been making stringent efforts to stand out within the Northern African music scene. Dafencii is one trailblazing rapper in this regard, making waves for himself with his strong visual identity and sleek flow. 

Rhita Nattah – Morocco 

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Named as the first Moroccan singer to join the Spotify EQUAL Africa monthly series, Rhita Nattah is a trailblazing newcomer within the Northern African scene. She debuted in 2019, with her song dubbed “Not The Same,” and went on to work independently as well as working with producer Samir El Boussadi over the past couple of years. She weaves her music with unique originality, fusing traditional Moroccan melodies with RnB and Trap. 

Kenza Morsli – Algeria

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The Algerian chanteuse is among the leading new school acts building a cult following and stacking incredible streaming numbers withinthe Northern African scene. She was also recently a nominee for the Best Female Artiste in Northern Africa, at the All Africa Music Awards.

 

SOUTHERN AFRICA

Maglera Doe Boy – South Africa

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Right now, no one encapsulates the South African story like Maglera Doe Boy. In August, just a few months after being announced as one of Apple Music Up Next artistes, the rapper released his debut album, “Diaspora.”

Tanto Wavie – Zimbabwe

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Tanto Wavie has been ushering TrapSu into Zimbabwe, and is known for his consistently relatable stories. This relatability is one of many reasons he is being increasingly touted as an artiste that could have a strong career in the country’s music industry.

Ikoqwe – Angola 

Ikoqwe

Ikoqwe is an Angolan duo project made up of Batida and Ikonoklasta. Their music takes inspiration from traditional Angolan music and old-school hip-hop, which is recycled into futuristic electronic hip-hop as seen on their debut project, “The Beginning, the Medium, the End and the Infinite.

Yo Maps – Zambia

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Yo Maps is a Zambian Afrobeats artiste who first arrived on the scene in 2019 with a host of singles. Fast-forward to this year and he has released his debut album, “Komando,” and amassed about 22,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. With more being expected to follow, Yo Maps is fast becoming one of Zambian music’s next-up superstars.

(Read also: Ten Socio-Political Songs About Nigeria)

EASTERN AFRICA

Kaya Byinshii – Rwanda 

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Kaya Byinshii, at the age of 23, is already regarded as one of the most talented newcomers in the Rwandan music scene. She is a singer, songwriter, model, actress, and poet. She has a strong vibrant voice and mixes influences from multiple genres such as Soul, Folk, and Reggae, to weave relatable and authentic stories. She very recently released an album titled “Ukwiyuburura.

Zuchu – Tanzania 

Zuchu

Zuchu is a Tanzanian singer and songwriter, born in Zanzibar and based in Dar es Salaam. She comes from a musical family; her mother, Khadija Kopa, was a respected musician. She is currently signed to Diamond Platumz’s WCB Wasafi records, and became the first female East African artiste to reach 1 million subscribers on YouTube, just 11 months after she began uploading. In 2020, she won the AFRIMA Emerging Artist Award.

Hewan Gebrewold – Ethiopia

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Hewan Gebrewold is an Ethiopian musician who fuses Ethiopian vernacular music with international sounds. Her passion for music started in childhood and led her to perform live with the Jano Band. After Jano disbanded, Hewan began her solo career.

Bridget Blue – Kenya

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Kenyan sweetheart, Bridget Blue, stands out for her soothing voice. Her discography is perfect for the low vibrational moments RnB is best for. Her covers of other West African superstars make it evident that she is a talent to behold. Her latest album, “Colours,”  is one of the best works out of East Africa this year, and it has bagged her nominations at the 2022 All Africa Music Awards for Best Female Inspirational Artiste, and Songwriter of the Year, among others. 

Maandy – Kenya

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Amanda Wambui, popularly known as Maandy, is a Kenyan rapper, singer, and performing artiste based in Nairobi. Maandy stepped into the Kenya music scene in 2016, right after finishing high school. She started as a disc jockey under the name DJ Maandy. After much pushing from her friends, however, she decided to venture into music recording and performing.

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Buruklyn Boyz – Kenya 

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Buruklyn Boyz is a rap and drill act from Buruburu Estate in Nairobi, Kenya, and they are putting the Kenyan drill on the map.

CENTRAL AFRICA

Gaz Mawete – DR Congo

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Gaz Mawete first came on the scene in 2018 and has grown in his career, collaborating with music royalty, Fally Ipupa. In 2021, he was nominated for the Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards. He is one to watch out for. 

T’neeya – Cameroon

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T’neeya is a Ghana-based Cameroonian who has been on the rise recently with the soulful sounds that she delivers in French, English, and Pidgin. She’s also signed to Aristokrat Records.

Shan’L – Gabon

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Shan’L is a Gabonese singer-songwriter who got her musical start singing in her school choir. Although she’s been making music for a while, her star gained more prominence after she came second in a talent contest in 2020, and winning the Best Female Central African Artist at the 2021 AFRIMA Awards.

(Read also: Umu Obiligbo and the Igbo Music of Life)

WESTERN AFRICA

T Dollar – Nigeria

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T Dollar is a talented singer and songwriter currently signed to D6R Entertainment. His prayer-filled tune, “Rise,” has become a dominant feature on various popular playlists in Nigeria. It recently received a visual treatment courtesy of Naya Effect.

YKB – Nigeria 

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Formerly known as Yusuf Kanbai, YKB is a multi-talented young creative out of Lagos, Nigeria. The photographer, creative director, singer, and songwriter is one of the most exciting voices of the next era of Nigerian music. From his 2021 EP dubbed, “Before I Blow,” one can hear the maturity in YKB’s vocals. After working alongside other superstars including Laycon, he got co-signs from some of the major entertainers in the industry, like Olamide, and MI Abaga. He has even bagged a feature with Zlatan Ibile.  

Lisandro Cuxi – Cape Verde

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Lisandro Cuxi is a Portuguese-French singer-songwriter and dancer of Cape Verdean descent. He learned English and French through songs and harnessed his talents in various talent competitions including the French version of the Voice Kids and the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Lasmid – Ghana

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Ghanaian maverick Lasmid’s most recent single dubbed “Friday Night”  is spiking vibrant cross-continental acclaim for the young musician. His mastery of Afro-pop, Dancehall, and Hop gives him an edge among the league of newcomers in Ghana’s music scene. His brevity in lyricism, catchy hooks, and happiness-toned vocals make his music a must-listen for social functions. Lasmid first started to gain popularity in 2019, after winning the MTN Hitmaker reality show in Ghana. His other earlier releases such as “Sika” and “Father” prove his mettle as the next Afro-Pop superstar.  

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