Top 15 Most Influential Artists In Africa [2023/2024]
African music has been a global force to reckon with due to the influence and hard work of specific individuals who have pushed and are pushing the sound into the international limelight.
These acts have not only generated a fortune from their god-given talent but also have developed a wide range of influence among music lovers in the entire world.
In recognition of the success of these African icons, we have made a compilation of the top 15 most influential artists in Africa in the 2023/2024 Calendar year.
But Before getting into details it is imperative to note that African Music, particularly Afrobeats has become one of the most recognizable musical genres in the world.
According to Spotify Streaming Data, The genre’s global streams have increased by over 500% Between 2017 and 2022.
According to Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Spotify’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, in 2023 alone, the Afrobeat genre has been played for more than 223 million hours with streams exceeding 7.1 billion on Spotify.
She further noted that the Afrobeats genre is here to stay, and will only continue to shatter more ceilings.
Without any further ado, here are the 20 most influential Artists in Africa in the 2023/2024 Calendar year.
1. Burna Boy
The African Giant, Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy is presently the most influential artist in Africa. His recent albums: “Twice as Tall”, Love Damini, and “I Told Them”, have put him at the forefront of African Music’s global domination.
His international smash hits like Ye, “Last Last” and “On the Low” have accumulated hundreds of millions of streams and millions of fans around the globe
With 19 Million Spotify listeners, Burna is heading on to become one of the most streamed African Artists in history.
Alongside his unprecedented numbers, Burna Boy is also notorious for selling out Mega venues and stadiums.
He is the first African Artist to sell out a stadium in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands.
Burna Boy is also the only African artist to sell out 4 of the top 5 busiest arenas in the world, O2, Ziggo Dome, Accor, and Madison Square Garden.
He is also the first Nigerian to earn a back-to-back nomination at the Grammys. He is also a recipient of many awards including the Grammy Awards, BET Awards, and many more.
The Grammy-Award-winning singer attained the limelight in 2012 after releasing “Like to Party”, the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E. He has released since then released 6 additional studio albums since.
In 2017, he signed with Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally and has since then continued to dominate the international music scene.
Ibrahim Ayodeji Balogun popularly known as Wizkid takes second place among the most influential artists in Africa. The singer with an almost occultic following is popularly known as the poster boy for Afrobeats.
He has also been credited as one of the major acts responsible for taking African Music to the International Stage, through smash hits tracks like “Ojuelegba” Soco” “Joro” and many others
Wizkid is generally considered by many the greatest musician to ever come out of Africa, as he has acquired multiple awards, certifications, streams, and chart records to his name.
He is also one of the most followed stars on the continent with over 10 million followers on Twitter and over 14 million on Instagram.
Aside from having collaborations with some of the biggest stars on the planet (Drake, Beyonce, and Chris Brown), Wizkid has been reported on multiple occasions as the highest-paid musician on the continent.
His international smash hit Essence was unanimously the song of the summer in 2021. The song went on to become the first African song to go platinum in the United States and Canada.
His album “Made In Lagos” is the longest-charting African album ever in Billboard’s History, the best-selling and most-streamed African album with over one billion streams under a year of release. Wizkid is notable for selling iconic venues and arenas such as the Royal Albert Hall in London, Accor Arena in France, and many others.
He is also one of the first to sell out the 02 Arena he sold it out in 2018, and 2019 and held a three-day festival in 2021.
Read More: Glamour: Watch Videos Of Wizkid Mum Burial
The 23-year-old singer and acclaimed king of the new school, Rema, takes third place among the most influential artists in Africa for the 2023/2024 Calendar year.
Rema although relatively new to the industry, unlike others on this list, has gained prominence on the international stage for catchy and melodious music.
Like Wizkid he has also been able to garner an occultic-like following with the extended plays he released in the early days of his career.
Rema however cemented his legendary status as the leader of the new school with the release of his debut album Rave and Roses.
The album alongside his global smash hit Calm Down has dominated the international music scene, charting in numerous countries in Europe, Asia, and America.
The remix with American singer Selena Gomez of which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and led the U.S. Afrobeats Songs for a record-setting 52 weeks.
Calm Down is presently the most-viewed Afrobeats music video on YouTube and the most-streamed Afrobeats song on Spotify. In 2013, Rema released the deluxe version of his debut album Rave & Roses titled Rave & Roses Ultra containing an additional six tracks.
It became the first African album to cross one billion streams on Spotify.
The multiple-award-winning singer, Davido joins the list of the most influential artists in Africa for the 2023/2024 Calendar year.
Davido is considered one of the biggest music acts and celebrities to come out of Africa.
He is one of the most followed Africans on Instagram and Twitter, only behind Mohammed Salah. Aside
Davido attained the limelight after releasing “Dami Duro”, the second single from his debut studio album Omo Baba Olowo in 2012.
The 29-year-old singer has released 3 other studio albums since then. All of which achieved commercial success in and outside the continent.
His international smash single “Fall” was at some point the longest-charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard History.
His recently released Album, “Timeless” which contains the Tiktok Viral hits “Unvailable also made wave across the continent and in Europe.
The DMW Boss with a net worth of $19 Million is one of the richest musicians on the continent. He was cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019.
Read More: Biography And Net Worth Forbes Updates
5. Angelique Kidjo
Legendary Beninese Singer, Angelique Kidjo, takes Fifth place among the most influential artists in Africa in 2023 She is generally regarded as one of one the best singers to come out on the continent and one of the most influential people in the world.
The multiple awards-winning singer is one of the people who pioneered African music on the international scene, her 1991 album, Logozo is the first African album to rank number one on the Billboard World Albums chart.
With over 16 albums to her name, Kidjo has registered herself as one of the best musical acts on the African scene.
Aside from her musical influence, Angelique Kidjo is known for her advocacy and philanthropy.
She was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2022, the African woman to be appointed for that position.
She also founded The Batonga Foundation, a non-governmental organization that empowers some of the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach young women and girls on the continent.
Angelique Kidjo is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards and recognitions. She was included among the Time 100 most influential people in the world in 2021.
And was also considered one of the most iconic figures on the continent in 2010. She has received honorary doctorates from Yale University, Berklee College of Music, Middlebury College, and UCLouvain.
She is a recipient of the 2015 Crystal Award given by the World Economic Forum of Davos in Switzerland, the Grammy Award, and the Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International in 2016.
6. DJ Black Coffee
South African DJ, Black Coffee is no doubt one of the most influential artists in Africa. He is the richest musician in South Africa and the second-richest musician in Africa.
He is a record producer and songwriter with an estimated net worth of $60 million.
He is also prominent in the international scene and has hosted some of the biggest music festivals parties and concerts off and on the continent
Nkosinathi Innocent Sizwe Maphumulo, popularly known as Black Coffee began his music career at the Durban University of Technology before becoming a backup singer for South African musician Madala Kunene.
He has released 9 studio albums since he joined the South African music industry in 1994.
He has also collaborated with some of the biggest American singers such as Usher, Alicia Keys, Drake, and P Diddy. Just many on this list, Black Coffee is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Grammy for the best Best Dance/Electronic Album in the 2022 Grammy Award.
7. Youssou N’Dour
Legendary Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour is not only the most famous singer in Senegal but one of the most influential artists in Africa.
He is one of the most celebrated African musicians in history and helped develop a style of the popular Senegalese music genre known as mbalax.
Youssou began performing at age 12 and would later perform regularly with the Star Band, Dakar’s most popular group during the 1970s.
At the age of 15, he joined Super Diamond and toured with the band in West Africa.
In 1976, he signed a contract to sing with Ibra Kasse’s Star Band at Kasse’s Miami club in Dakar where he would become a sensation.
In 1978, N’Dour would follow as several members of the Star Band left to form Étoile de Dakar, a band that made important contributions to Senegal’s newly evolving musical style called Mbalax which incorporated traditional Senegalese music into the Latin styles that had dominated Senegalese popular music.
Aside from his contribution to African music’s success in the International limelight, Youssou is also an activist and a human rights advocate. In 1985, he organized a concert for the release of Nelson Mandela.
He was a featured performer in the 1988 worldwide Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour.
He was nominated as Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on 16 October 2000.
He also established Project Joko to open internet cafés in Africa and connect Senegalese communities around the world.
Innocent Ujah Idibia popularly known as 2Baba is a Nigerian musician and one of the pioneers of African music on the international scene.
He was the first winner of MTV Europe, Best African Act Award in 2005. His 2006 track, African Queen is one of the most successful African songs in History.
Tu Baba began his musical career at the Institute of Management & Technology, Enugu, where obtained a National Diploma.
He performed at school-organized shows and parties, as well as at other regional schools. He eventually dropped out of school to pursue his music career.
Before going solo in 2006, He was a member of the disbanded Plantashun Boiz alongside Blackface and Faze. The band released two successful albums: Body and Soul (2000) and Sold Out (2003), before disbanding in 2004. The band came back together in 2007 for the purpose of recording a third and final album entitled Plan B (2007).
With over 7 studio albums to his name, Tu Face has sealed his legendary status in the Nigerian music industry. He 2Baba has received one MTV Europe Music Award, one World Music Award, five Headies Awards, four Channel O Music Video Awards one BET award for his musical work, four MTV Africa Music Awards, one MOBO award, one KORA award, 3 Afrima Awards, and numerous additional nominations.
The Nigerian Musical duo, P-Square, takes ninth place amongst the most influential artists in Africa.
Although they are not in the Mainstream as they used to be but were noted for their artistic reinvention, musical versatility, and visual presentation, they are widely regarded as one of the most influential African Acts of all time and one of the most successful African Music Group internationally.
The duo were integral to the evolution of the 2000s and 2010s African popular music.
They have been referred to as the “Best African Group” and one of the most powerful celebrities in Africa by numerous publications.
The duo was launched into mainstream recognition following the release of the song “Senorita” in 2003 and later gained much wider recognition after the release of their sophomore album “Get Squared” in 2005.
They have since then released four other albums all of which achieved both critical and commercial success, selling over 40 Million records worldwide.
They have also been nominated for BET Awards, Soul Train Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, and MOBO Awards and they have won KORA Awards, MTV Africa Music Awards, and Channel O Music Video Awards.
P-Square was also the first Nigerian to peak at the top 5 on SNEP – French official chart and top 10 on Ultratop – Belgium official chart in 2012 with the French Version of “E no easy” featuring Matt Houston.
Legendary Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie takes eighth place among the most influential artists in Africa.
The 36-year-old rapper is known for his contribution to the Ghanaian music industry.
He is also hugely considered one of the greatest rappers to come out of the continent.
Sarkodie began his music career as an underground rapper.
He was discovered by his manager who met while participating in a popular rap competition in Ghana. He released his debut album, Makye in 2009.
The album received positive reviews from critics and fans across the continent.
Collaborating with some of the biggest names on the continent, he has since then released 5 additional studio albums, sealing his status as one of the most successful and greatest rappers to come out of the continent.
He is one of the major proponents of the Azonto genre.
His contributions to the Ghanaian music industry have earned him numerous accolades, including the Vodafone Ghana Music Award for “Artiste of the Decade”.
He is the first winner of BET’s Best International Flow Artist at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards.
11. Diamond Platnumz
Also on the list of the top 10 influential artists in Africa is the Tanzania Superstar, Diamond Platnumz.
He is one of the most popular singers on the continent with a massive following in East and Central Africa.
Diamond is the first Africa-based artiste to reach a combined total of 1 Billion YouTube views.
He began his career in 2006 releasing his first single “Toka Mwanzo”, a Bongo Flava song fused with R&B.
The song was not successful commercially. His breakthrough hit single “Kamwambie” was released in 2010.
The song won three Tanzania Music Awards. He then released his debut studio album Kamwambie Same year in 2010.
Diamond also doubles as a businessman, dancer, and philanthropist.
He is the founder and CEO of WCB Wasafi Record Label, Zoom Extra, Wasafi Bet, and Wasafi Media. He is one of the most decorated Tanzania acts of all time with over 28 Awards to his name.
12. Tiwa Savage
The British-Nigerian singer, Tiwa Savage is one of the most influential artists in Africa and one most successful female artists on the continent.
She is generally considered the Queen of Afrobeat and is the Nigerian artist to be nominated for BET awards and the first to win the Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards.
She began her music career doing backup vocals for artists such as George Michael and Mary J. Blige. She however moved back to Nigeria following the growth of the Nigerian music industry and since then registered herself as a force to reckon with.
Making notable contributions to the Nigerian music industry Which have earned her several achievements and accolades.
Her debut studio album Once Upon a Time was released in 2013 The album was nominated for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards and for Best R&B/Pop Album at The Headies 2014.
She has since then released four other projects: R.E.D (2015), Sugarcane (2017), Celia (2020) and Water & Garri (2021).
In 2018, SHe won Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, becoming the first woman to win the category.
In May 2019, she announced her record deal with Universal Music Group and exit from Mavin Records.
13. Cassper Nyovest
Cassper Nyovest, who is known as the face of rap in South Africa takes the thirteen spot on the list of the most influential artists in Africa.
The 32-year-old rapper is one of best best-selling South African Artists of all time, with numerous certifications to his name.
He is notorious for selling venues and stadiums in his home country, most notably the Fill Up the Dome (2015) which was held at Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg.
Cassper began his career as an entertainer in 2004, after forming a hip-hop group called Childhood Gangsta with his friends when he was 13.
He then left to join Slow Motion, another group, which he left after he was signed to a record label.
He dropped out of school in 2007 and relocated to Johannesburg in 2008 to pursue a career in music as a rapper and producer.
Cassper however did not reach the limelight until 2014, following the release of his debut studio album, Tsholofelo (2014) which produced the hit singles “Gusheshe” and “Doc Shebeleza”.
Nyovest followed up with his eponymous studio album, Refiloe, in 2015. The album collaborates with several artists including The Game, DJ Drama, Stonebwoy, and Casey Veggies.
He followed this success with his critically acclaimed third studio album Thuto (2018), and his Kwaito-focused fourth studio album, Sweet and Short (2019).
14. Shatta Wale
Ghana Reggae-dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale joins the list of the most influential artists in Africa. He is best known for his songs “Dancehall King”, “My Level” and “We Taking Over”.
He garnered international acclaim after he was featured on Beyoncé’s “Already” alongside Major Lazer for the album “Lion is King”
Shatta Wale began his music career with the borrowed name: identity-Doggy. He then changed to Bandana- a name that shot him to fame after a single hit track.
He went off the limelight for years only to resurrect with a new name, Shatta Wale, and a new identity.
His song “Dancehall King” earned him the Artiste of the Year at the 2014 edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
He was also featured on Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift album which was nominated for the Grammy Awards.
Aside from having a successful musical career, Shatta Wale also doubles as an actor and brand ambassador for numerous brands such as Guinness Ghana Breweries, Kasapreko Company, Boss Baker Beef Roll, and many more.
The Mayor of Worcester, Joseph Petty, presented Shatta Wale with the Key to the City on 8 July 2017.
He also won an honoree award for his contribution to reggae in Ghana at the 37th Annual Chicago Music Awards (CMA), in conjunction with the 36th International Reggae & World Music Awards.
15. Fally Ipupa
Congolese Singer Fally Ipupa, Often referred to as the “Prince of Rumba” is also one of the most influential artists in Africa.
The veteran singer despite being on the screen since 1999, has continued to maintain the limelight, locally and internationally.
He is noted for his soulful and mellow tenor vocals, as well as his blend of contemporary and traditional Congolese music genres, including Congolese rumba, soukous, and ndombolo.
From 1999 to 2006, he was a member of the Congolese band Quartier Latin International, led by Koffi Olomide.
He rose to prominence after releasing his debut solo studio album Droit Chemin.
The album features songs like “Liputa,” “Orgasy,” and “Sopeka.” It went gold, selling more than 100,000 copies in one month.
His second studio album Arsenal de Belles Mélodies was released in 2009, featuring singles like Chaise électrique and “Sexy Dance,” becoming hits and some of Ipupa’s signature songs.
Over the course of his career, he became the first Congolese artist to perform to a full-house audience at the Olympia stage in Paris.
In 2008, he performed in various countries, including France, Belgium, Germany, the United States, and Cameroon.
Following the release of his fourth studio album, Tokooos, he became the first Congolese artist and soloist from Central Africa to attain a gold record from SNEP.
15 most influential Artists in Africa in the 2023/2024 Calendar year.
|6||Dj Black Coffee||South Africa|
|13||Cassper Nyovest||South Africa|