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Top 50 African Songs of 2023

Top 50 African Songs of 2023

Afrocritik’s 2023 Top 50 African Songs

The Afrocritik music board curates the top 50 songs from the African continent in 2023, spotlighting the remarkable sonic diversity and genius that the continent holds.

By Editorial

If there is any commonality amongst the top songs out of Africa in 2023, it is that genre-blending is here to stay. The sonic landscape of this era evinces a fusion of diverse elements, reshaping traditional sound classifications and transcending established music identity boundaries on a global scale. 

From the lush savannahs of South Sudan and the thousand hills of Rwanda to the breathtaking sightings of South Africa, one discovers these blends and mash-ups, creating esoteric and luxuriant melodies which may be considered culturally puzzling in some regard. 

However, what thrives in all of this is innovation; unconventionality and outright brilliance. The Afrocritik music board curates the top 50 songs from the African continent in 2023, spotlighting the remarkable sonic diversity and genius that the continent holds. This compilation will introduce you to the undeniable musical brilliance that emanated from Africa this year.

50. Lifesize Teddy – “Butterflies”

Mavin’s breakout rapper/singer, Lifesize Teddy, demonstrates her versatility as she deftly navigates between Afro-Pop and Pop-adjacent choruses in “Butterflies”. The Andre Vibez-produced record fuses mid-tempo Afro-Swing drum rolls and pop-infused plucks, allowing the Port Harcourt-raised star to deliver emotionally charged lyrics that adequately depict the message of the tune. It is safe to remark that the beauty of  “Butterflies” lies in its subtle but definite catchiness that undoubtedly announces Lifesize Teddy to the world. 

49. Tar1q – “Pretty Like”

In one of the most brilliant songs released this year, Tar1q flexes his vocals in this melodious cordon bleu, showing pockets of versatility and flat-out brilliance. A thoroughly enduring year-long staple, the singer bares his soul, enchanted by a lady who he claims is “testing his patience”. It is noteworthy, too, that the sultry production on “Pretty Like” enables Tar1q to glide through with his flush vocals, elevating the song to debonair status.

48. Patoranking ft. Victony – “Babylon”

With Victony’s distinctive smooth vocals introducing this hit, accompanied by Patoranking’s Patois-infused lyrics on a Phantom-led production, “Babylon” is a self-affirmative tune reiterating the duo’s persistence on perseverance amidst life’s similitudes. “Stubborn for Igboro /Leader, lion, yes I be Idolo” reflects the doggedness that the track espouses. The very core of this tune, however, is Victony’s infectious hook – an unassailable earworm that reverberates throughout the song – a standout moment on Patoranking’s fourth studio album, World Best.

47. Adekunle Gold – “Ogaranya”

Released as the lead single to his fifth LP, Tequila Ever After, “Ogaranya” is a celebratory tune, reflecting a life of success, bliss, and largesse delivered on easy-going, steady bass riffs and light percussions. Expressed in Yoruba, Igbo, and Nigerian Pidgin English, its catchy hook invites the listener to a festive mood, amidst Blazebeats’ conspicuous beats. A fitting way to usher in Gold’s album, “Ogaranya” will remain a poster child for celebrations in years to come.

46. Bloody Civilian – “Family Meeting”

Bloody Civilian’s debut extended play, Anger Management, has a couple of gems. However, one of the tracks that truly shines is “Family Meeting”, a modern albeit familiar narrative about the intricacies of Nigerian family gatherings. Over lead and bass guitar riffs, Bloody Civilian expresses frustration over an overbearing aunt who meddles in her personal affairs. The lyricism in “Family Meeting” subtly echoes a yearning for freedom of expression within the confines of the typical conservative Nigerian family setup.

45. Jay O – “22”

UK-based Nigerian artiste, Jayo, made a splash with his sultry Afro-RnB fusion track, “22”. He laced crisp, silky vocals atop a simple R&B piano riff with the most subtle and delightfully subdued Afrobeats drum patterns, winning the hearts of new fans along the way.

(Read also – Afrocritik’s 2023 Top 25 African Music Projects)

44. Qing Madi ft. Bnxn – “Ole”

Emerging Nigerian sensation Qing Madi joins forces with Afrobeats superstar Bnxn to captivate audiences with “Ole”. The track explores the intricacies of desiring someone already in a relationship, set against a backdrop of synths and low-tempo drums. Both of them complement each other with their dynamic performances, making “Ole” stand out as one of the best R&B compositions to emerge from the continent this year.

43. Sarkodie ft. Ruger – “Till We Die”

Ghanaian rap luminary Sarkodie tackles heartbreak and lies on  “Till We Die” featuring Nigerian Afro-Pop sensation, Ruger. Both artistes navigate the emotionally charged track, marked by mellow log drums and piano chords, as they earnestly plead for loyalty and commitment from their love interests who may be contemplating leaving. “Till We Die” is a brilliant composition, further enhancing Sarkodie’s musical repertoire.

42. Burna Boy – “On Form”

Grammy award-winning African giant, Burna Boy, emphatically asserts his readiness to confront both real and perceived adversaries on “On Form”, a stellar Afro-Pop composition featured on his seventh studio album, I Told ThemOver staccato drum rolls and reverberating bass, Burna Boy proudly declares his unwavering consistency in the African music scene. He boasts about delivering critically acclaimed projects and chart-toppers, confidently stating that he remains on top of his game.

41. Odumodublvck – “Declan Rice”

“Declan Rice” serves as Abuja-based Afro-HipHop artiste, Odomodublvck’s breakthrough into the mainstream music scene, solidifying his position as a fast-rising star. Named after England and Arsenal’s talented defensive midfielder, Declan Rice, Odumodublvck’s lyrics cleverly weave a metaphor between his unconventional nature and Rice’s ability to snuff out opposing attacks on the football pitch. It’s no surprise that the tune caught the attention of football fans and the Arsenal Football Club, who had it repurposed for Declan Rice’s announcement.

40. Omah Lay – “Holy Ghost” 

Beyond the repetition of ‘get up & dance’, Omah Lay also calls on supernatural forces to boost his confidence and grant his heart desires on “Holy Ghost”. The track is a slight departure from the depression-driven tracks the superstar is known for. “Holy Ghost” finds Omah Lay exuding happiness, perhaps, mirroring his current state of well-being.

39. Xbusta ft. Lyta – “Shower”

On “Shower,” Xbusta and Lyta are in their lover-boy era as they both make sweet promises to their love interests. With phrases such as, “You don’t need a broom. You sweep me off my feet like that”, the Lyta-assisted song is an impressive love tune. The slow-paced record is likely to grow on listeners because of its smooth lyrics and theme.

38. Mohbad – “Ask About Me”

In arguably the most tragic turn of events this year for Nigeria’s Afrobeats with the passing of the Late Mohbad, the Afro-Adura maestro delivered one of 2023’s most critically acclaimed EPs in Blessed, with “Ask About Me” serving as its lead single. Leading off an orchestral/hymnal sample that eases seamlessly into heavy-hitting, Amapiano log-drum-based interludes, and the unmistakable raspiness of Mohbad’s vocals, this tune embodies the essence of the late star, delivering a classic ‘Adura’ staple that is sure to remain a classic for years to come.

37. Lojay – “Moto”

Famed for impeccable lyricism and sultry vocals, the “Monalisa” crooner delivered yet another masterpiece in “Moto”, off his Gangster Romantic EP. Again, Lojay shines lyrically, using metaphors that leave the listener spellbound. Self-produced alongside The Elements and AOD, “Moto” stands out as one of the best Afro-Pop tunes released this year.

36. Stonebwoy ft. Oxlade and Tiwa Savage – “Therapy”

Stonebwoy has been a fixture of the Ghanaian music industry for years, continuously pushing boundaries with his energy and versatility. With his newest album, 5th Dimension, he brought this versatility to the fore, exploring new directions and expanding his sonic horizons. This foray led to interesting features, of which one stood out amongst the pack. The remix to “Therapy” sees Oxlade and Tiwa Savage add multiple dimensions to an already beautiful Stonebwoy song. Backed by warm chords, sweet guitars, and steady Afrobeat drums, Oxlade and Savage deliver heartfelt emotional verses and harmonies to supplement Stonebwoy’s powerful love song.

35. Libianca Ft Ayra Starr & Omah Lay – “People (Remix)”

Released in the first quarter of 2023, the remix of Cameroonian-American artiste’s popular song, “People (Remix)” deals with topics such as drinking alcohol, interpersonal relationships, emotional well-being, and group dynamics. Libianca amplifies her story with Omah Lay and Ayra Starr, both of whom bring their different perspectives on depression, inner battles, and others to bear on the three-minute, four-second track.

34. Seyi Vibez – “Man of the Year”

With his music, Seyi Vibez channels different personalities. Sometimes he becomes a wise sage leaving life nuggets, other times, he only offers energetic melodies that rule the dance floor. However, on “Man of the Year”, he channels the intricacies of a motivational speaker. When he says, “This year na my year, I can be the man of the year you can be the man of the year too” Seyi Vibez reassures himself and his listeners. His sobriety elevates the song’s production and his words flow over the thumping drums and well-positioned violin. Beyond the song’s simplicity, “Man of the Year” is Seyi Vibez expressing his desires, while admonishing everyone that the sky is big enough. “Man of the Year” is a song whose depth widens on every listen.

33. Ruger – “Jonzing Boy”

Ruger rides on a slow, groovy beat while sprinkling a bit of his braggadocious lines. The title, “Jonzing Boy” referencing Ruger’s record label, alludes to popular street tropes, while the song in itself is another clean-cut collaboration between Ruger and Kukbeat, his longtime producer. Lyrically, “Jonzing Boy” takes a large cut from “Asiwaju”, continuing his infectious play on words like the superstar attempted in the third verse of the latter. Ruger is calculative as he warns his enemies to tread with care. It is a menacing tune over a mid-tempo production.

32. Adekunle Gold ft. Zinoleesky – “Party No Dey Stop”

“Party No Dey Stop” marks Adekunle Gold’s submission in a year filled with an abundance of diverse music offerings. Produced by Kel-P, the track resonates with a profound sense of gratitude as Gold reflects on the obstacles he has overcome and the remarkable achievements he has attained throughout his journey in the music industry. Adding to the infectious club vibe, Afrobeats artiste, Zinoleesky, joins the song, infusing it with an extra layer of lyrical finesse. Together, they create a captivating club banger that celebrates life’s victories while maintaining an attitude of gratitude. “Party No Dey Stop” presents a powerful and uplifting message about being thankful and placing faith in a higher power.

31. Amaarae – “Princess Going Digital”

From her critically acclaimed LP, Fountain Baby, Ghanaian-American singer, Amaarae, brings vibrant energy to the alternative track, “Princess Going Digital”. In this song, she candidly lays bare her reservations about a love interest, expressing a desire for more commitment rather than fleeting pleasures. Amaarae’s airy vocals seamlessly intertwine with the lively beats, creating a dynamic and engaging listening experience.

30. Davido ft. Musa Keys – “Unavailable” 

Three-time Grammy-nominated Afrobeats superstar, Davido, arguably had one of the songs of the year with “Unavailable”, off his momentous LP, Timeless. Featuring South Africa’s Musa Keys, the allure of “Unavailable” lies in its infectious groove over Amapiano-ridden percussions. Musa Keys’ vocals and Davido’s classic ‘Pon Pon’ delivery are on display in a classic call-and-response fashion. Little wonder the song caught the attention of the globe with its unmistakable charm. In a year when Davido’s resurgence is celebrated, this track might just be the prime emblem of his new era.

29. Odumodublvck ft. Bloody Civilian & Wale – “Blood On the Dance Floor”

Produced by Jimohsoundz and Deepaholiq, the amazing singer, Bloody Civilian, and American rapper, Wale, bring their unique styles and lyrical prowess to the table, delivering scorching verses that perfectly complement Odumodublvck’s infectious energy on the track “Blood On the Dance Floor”. Lyrically, the song is a summation of a potential fight with enemies. 

(Read also – 12 African Series You May Have Missed in 2023)

28. Lojay – “Yahweh”

Lojay entered 2023 on a prominent high, riding the wave created by “Monalisa” and his collaborative EP with Sarz. “Yahweh”, the opening track of his 2023 EP, Gangster Romantic, sets the tone for the project, establishing a romantic atmosphere with Lojay’s gentle, angelic vocals and naughty lyrics layered over a sparse instrumental consisting of spacious keys and prominent low tempo Afroswing drums.

27. Bnxn ft. Seyi Vibez and Kizz Daniel – “Gwagwalada”

In “Gwagwalada”, Bnxn recruits Seyi Vibez and Kizz Daniel to release a feel-good song dedicated to one of the popular areas in Nigeria’s capital city. The song incorporates Bnxn’s unique songwriting, Kizz Daniel’s addictive ad-libs, and Seyi Vibez’s distinctive flow. Beyond the song’s glaring features, the synergy between the artistes stands out, and the Perlinks-directed music video adds an enjoyable experience to the song.

26. Crayon ft. Ayra Starr – “Ngozi”

All through “Ngozi”, Crayon repeats the titular word – which translates to Blessings in Igbo. Crayon appreciates his lover on this track, taking listeners through the genesis of their relationship. Ayra Starr elevates the song, crooning about how her lover makes her feel.

25. Bloody Civilian – “Escapism”

At present, Bloody Civilian’s unique talent is undeniable. On “Escapism”, she flows effortlessly through log drums, House music influences, and EDM inflections that show her unique artistry and production skills. “Escapism” is a great tone-setter for what’s to come in the follow-up songs on the EP.

24. Ruger – “Tour”

On “Tour”,  Ruger summarises his myriad of experiences with women and life, among other personal experiences. He doesn’t complain, rather, he appreciates the good things life has brought him in just a short time.

23. King Promise – “Terminator”

On King Promise’s biggest career hit, the Ghanaian-born singer and songwriter tells listeners to live and let others live. Released in May 2023, the song finds its way into almost every playlist across Africa. The song’s message resonates and this has helped its propagation, with its relatable lyrics.

22. Pawzz – “Body Language”

Every time a new artiste emerges in the music scenes, everyone pauses and pays attention. In Pawzz’s case, it is obvious that he has caught a few ears with his debut EP, Prezz Play. On this 5-track project, “Body Language” stands out with its sleek production, infectious lyrics, and the artiste’s sultry vocals. From the bouncy production to the image the song creates in the listeners’ minds, Pawzz introduces music lovers to his unique style of music. Sex is at the root of the record, and phrases like, “Body on my body baby. Do it like you really mean it” are repeated with bold intentions.

21. Davido – “Feel”

In most of the songs on Timeless, Davido brings a fresh face and perspective.  On “Feel”, he delivers a groovy tune and solidifies his penchant for making club bangers. With “Feel”, Davido becomes a passionate, vulnerable lover.

20. Tyler ICU & Tumelo.za ft. DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA & Tyron Dee – “Mnike”

Arguably the biggest Amapiano song out of South Africa this year, Tyler ICU recruits Tumelo.za, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA, Tyron Dee, and DJ Maphorisa on this melodious, pacy yet catchy tune. The unmissable log drums coupled with underlying soft piano chords give for a steady danceable rhythm that frankly held the world enthralled, as echoes of  “Nika” reverberated through dance halls and clubs this year – a testament to the virulent nature of this tune.

19. Joeboy – “Body & Soul”

Joeboy remained a fast-rising star ever since he debuted in the Nigerian music sphere. Following a slew of successful singles, his sophomore album, Body & Soul, became very eagerly anticipated. Its eventual release met demands and expectations, and thrilled fans across the nation. The titular track, “Body & Soul”, gained traction as one of the most beautiful songs across the R&B-inspired album. Joeboy’s romantic lyrics are sweetly sung over an instrumental built with emotive guitars, sweeping strings, a pulsing bassline, and steady Afrobeats drums.

18. Omah Lay – “Reason”

Possibly because of his emotive singing style, and poignant, introspective lyrics, Omah Lay has become one of the most unique and notable voices in the Nigerian music industry. “Reason,” the lead single off the deluxe edition of his Boy Alone album, sees Omah Lay bare his emotions in his signature affecting delivery, questioning a lover’s motives over lively percussion-heavy drums and expressive guitar riffs.

17. Blaqbonez ft. Chike & Raybekah – “Breaking the Yoke of Love”

Nigerian rap sensation, Blaqbonez, known for his unconventional take on love and relationships, continues to play the role of a preacher advocating for fleeting pleasures over committed love. This theme is prominent in his 2021 album, Sex Over Love, and his 2022 project, Young Preacher, both championing debauchery over loyalty. In anticipation of the second edition of his “Breaking the Yoke of Love” concert in February, he released the eponymous official theme song. To drive home the point of eschewing love, he enlists the vocal talents of Chike and Raybekah. Throughout the song, Blaqbonez passionately advocates for debauchery, citing the transactional nature of contemporary relationships, and delivering one of the country’s most compelling rap verses.

16. Zonke – “Yahweh”

Music transcends the need for understanding; it’s about the emotions it evokes. South African singer and producer, Zonke, demonstrates her mettle on “Yahweh” a track from her sixth studio album, Embo. Against a backdrop of striking lead guitar plucks and organ piano chords, Zonke delivers a heart-stirring ballad with infectious vocals in Xhosa and English. The song captures her plea to a lover not to walk away, and her vocals seamlessly meld with the minimalist production. This synergy allows her melodies and lyricism to take charge, injecting a delightful dose of sweet melodies.

15. Nonso Amadi – “Foreigner”

Canadian-based Nigerian singer and producer Nonso Amadi continues to showcase his undeniable talent for delivering emotionally resonant singles with “Foreigner”. While treading familiar territory, Amadi’s songwriting takes centre stage in this groovy composition. He expresses his desire for a love interest right from the first lines, “My doctor tells me I’m in need of your medicine /I need your loving, I need you, I need everything”. Amadi maintains a seamless progression throughout the track, cementing “Foreigner” as a stand-out single from his debut album, When It Blooms.

14. Victony & Tempoe ft. Rema, and Don Toliver – “Soweto (Remix)”

Following the huge digital dominance of his captivating single, “Soweto”, Victony collaborates with producer, Tempoe to unveil a remix featuring Afrobeats sensation, Rema and American rapper and singer, Don Toliver. Victony successfully orchestrates a fusion of diverse artistry, as each artiste contributes their unique style to the mix. Combined with Tempoe’s signature composition, “Soweto (Remix)” emerges as one of the standout remixes of the year, elevating the original track to new heights.

13. Tems – “Me & U”

Grammy award-winning musician, Tems, serves a compelling listen with her solo single “Me & U” since her 2021 extended play, If Orange Was A Place. Produced by Guilty Beatz, the song is couched by R&B and Afro-Pop elements, electro-guitar plucks, and mid-tempo kicks. Tems enchants on the record, exploring themes of self-discovery, sensuality, and a unique connection with a figure she’s enamoured by. As she gears up for her highly-anticipated debut studio album, “Me & U” serves as a tantalising tease and a reminder of what she’s quite capable of.

12. Anabel Rose – “Do Not Disturb”

Ghanaian-Filipino Alternative and Afro-Pop artiste, Anabel Rose, delivers a captivating auditory experience with “Do Not Disturb” a tune that seamlessly blends Bossa nova, Highlife, and Afro-Pop influences. This song offers a glimpse into the mindset of a Gen-Z musician who resists conforming to societal pressures, choosing to go against the grain, and living life on her terms. “Do Not Disturb” is a checkmate move challenging the norms within the Ghanaian music industry, where expectations often dictate the kind of music young women should create. “Do Not Disturb” is a compelling statement of individuality and artistic freedom.

11. Shaffy ft. Chriss Eazy – “Bana”

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Rwandan musician and songwriter Shaffy collaborates with fellow countryman, Chriss Eazy, to present a romantic ode, “Bana”. Skillfully weaving their verses in English, French, and their native Kinyarwanda, the duo rides the melody supported by mild synths, groovy basslines, and rapid drum rolls. This multi-lingual and musically-rich composition reflects Shaffy’s cultural connection, which isn’t a barrier whether flexing his range, or in this case, serving up a romantic number.

10. Ayra Starr – “Rhythm & Blues”

Mavin signee, Ayra Starr, renowned for her Afro-Pop masterpieces and collaborations with top-tier African and international artistes, takes a more personal approach to “Rhythm & Blues”. In this track, Starr unveils fragments of herself as she passionately expresses devotion and loyalty to a love interest. The song, while maintaining a mellow and groovy ambience, encapsulates a sense of desperation and urgency, evident in lines like, “Na you be my personal person /Forget Chidera, Ini, Blessing”. “Rhythm & Blues” showcases Starr’s remarkable versatility in crafting chart-topping hits and profoundly emotive compositions.

9. YKB – “Bo Card”

YKB is a relatively new face in the industry, premiering with the moniker, Yusufkanba, in 2019. His profile has been rising steadily off the back of consistent and quality releases. This year, on his Yusful Music EP, he released a possible career-making standout in “Bo Card”. On this record, YKB sensually showcases his vocal prowess, assuring his lover of her adequacy. The track is soaked in mellow, chill vibes with smooth jazzy chords that create a light and airy atmosphere for YKB’s vocals to effortlessly float over. The subtle rumbling bass synth and sparse Afro drums contribute to the song’s seductive allure while backing vocals and colourful ad-libs add layers of richness.

8. Burna Boy – “City Boys”

An absolute club banger, off the Grammy Award-winning Afro-fusion superstar’s 7th LP, I Told Them, “City Boys” became an instant club favourite after the album’s release. The track creatively samples  Jeremih’s famous “Birthday Sex”, in a classic fusion of Afro-pop and R&B/Hip-Hop leaning elements, resulting in a luxurious piece of art. You probably caught hold of people stomping Timberland boots ferociously to the floor in clubs or on TikTok this year. “City Boys” largely gets a lot of credit for that.

7. Rema – “DND”

Coming off a terrific run with the global hit, “Calm Down”, a spectacular performance at the Ballon D’or Awards ceremony, and an all-round successful international tour, Rema once again showcased his reputed excellence on his fourth extended play, Ravage EP. Eclectic, chart-topping “DND” was the lead single to this EP, produced by P.Priime  and The Kazez, in which the Afrobeats superstar employs heavy-hitting percussions and signature chromatic scales to deliver a masterclass in braggadocio. A thorough stand-out tune in 2023, DND is symbolic of the sonic range and diverseness Afropop now espouses, only fitting for the self-acclaimed ‘Prince of Afrobeats’.

6. Babyboy AV – “Quick Question”

Nigerian-born Adindu Victor, popularly known as Babyboy AV, delivers a smooth, melodic Afro-pop masterpiece in “Quick Question”. With infectious beats, layered by obvious woodwind instruments, the singer attempts to woo a lady on this tune, describing his preferred lifestyle choices and his intentions for her. “And I go show you 5-star lifestyle /You be fine girl and I be bad boy, come make we connect”, sung with unimpeachable vocal glassiness takes this tune to a whole other level, making for one of the finest Afropop love ballads of the year.

5. Nasty C – “Broken Marriages”

Off the Soweto-born critically acclaimed rapper’s fourth LP, I Love it Here, “Broken Marriages” explores societal, relationship, and marriage dysfunction. Nasty C spotlights themes bordering on emotional abuse, identity loss, unresolved familial trauma, and the complications between child-parent relationships. This socio-conscious leaning tune is delivered on steady-paced, percussive-laden productions, with rhymes interspersed on a melodic, soulful bridge and an infectious hook, commanding rapt attention to the message passed. Famed for his poetic skill and cadences in his rap delivery, the South African rapper does not deter in bringing this dexterity on this track as he expertly weaves through the entire song like a wordsmith. Definitively, it is one of the songs of the year in an incredible album arguably Africa’s best rap album of 2023.

4. Tyla – “Water”

21-year-old Tyla Laura Seethal is undoubtedly one of the most prolific breakout artistes of 2023. Emblematic of the current trajectory of African pop music, her smash hit, “Water” encapsulates rich variants of the R&B, Afrobeats, Amapiano, and mainstream pop genres. This chart-topper blends sultriness, vocal verve, and dance rhythmic elements in creating a monstrous hit, responsible for some of the best party memories of the year in review.

3. Rema – “Charm”

The Mavin Records superstar has risen to be one of the biggest global stars the Nigerian music industry can boast of. The “Ultra” version of his exemplary Rave & Roses album gave the world several gems, including the viral sensation that is the Selena Gomez-assisted remix of “Calm Down”. However, the crown has to be handed to the London-produced infectious groove that is “Charm.” Built on mesmeric plucked guitars, wailing strings, a pulsing synth bassline, and bouncy mid-tempo Afrobeats percussions, this track introduced a new, more relaxed dimension to the album. The sultry waist-whiner nestled itself comfortably in the upper echelon of Rema’s already outstanding discography and sits atop the mountain of music that has dropped this year so far.

2. Bnxn – “Pidgin & English”

The second half of 2023 saw the mid-tempo crooner create a smash hit off a Magic! sample in “Pidgin & English”. Released as one of the singles for Bnxn’s début project, Sincerely, Benson, this tune expresses apologetic sentiments to a love interest and decries the possibility of losing out entirely on love. The beauty of this song rests in the emotive mood it invokes, as Bnxn’s lyrical prowess shines through, tugging severely at heartstrings. Its accompaniment with the Magic! 2016  “No Regrets” sample also embodies a seamless fusion between mainstream pop and afro-pop.

1. Asake – “Lonely at the Top”

At this point, Asake needs no introduction after taking the nation by storm in the past few years. His idiosyncratic, contagious take on Afrobeats and Amapiano has undeniably changed the landscape of the Nigerian music industry. His tireless work rate was displayed when he released his sophomore, Work of Art album less than a year after his debut, Mr. Money with the Vibe. Considering he is already featured twice on this list, it is evident that the album was full of notable tracks.

“Lonely at the Top” is cut from a different cloth, characterised by more typical Afrobeats elements, such as its steady live-sounding drums, summery guitars, and simple chord progressions. He does away with the Amapiano influences to deliver a soft-spoken, introspective song that places itself apart from the rest of the album.

Honourable Mentions

  • Mr Brown & Kabza De Small ft. Deeper Phil & Mkeyz – “Kelaphile” 
  • Ruger – “Blue” 
  • Blaqbonez ft Jeriq – “Nyem Ego” 
  • Anendlessocean – “Alone” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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