These Were the Top Trending African Artists of 2021, which Made your Year?
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The year 2021 has been a great and wonderful year for the African continent as a whole in the Music Industry. Despite the challenges of the continent during the pandemic, African artists picked up the pace after the ban on social events and gatherings was lifted. They kept dishing out banging hits and signing and publishing deals as well as endorsements agreements. They dominated the airwaves and digital service providers. Some of the noteworthy achievements from the African artists this year is Wizkid’s notable success on the song, ‘Essence’ which earned him various awards, South Africa’s Amapiano genre’s blow out and some outstanding African artists cementing their space in the music industry.

There are however some notable artists that not only delivered hits back to back this year, they also gained more international recognition, they popularized African music and won several awards to their names. Some of these artists are listed below;

WIZKID

Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun is one of Nigeria’s biggest superstars that has always sat at the top when ranking African artists. He has been present at the tip for more than a decade and he keeps dropping reasons to remain at the top. 2021 was definitely a great year for the singer as his 2020 album, ‘Made in Lagos’ which housed the groundbreaking and outstanding single, ‘Essence’. The song which featured fellow Nigerian singer, Tems was later remixed to feature Canadian superstar, Justin Bieber. 

Wizkid won almost all the awards he was nominated for in 2021 including MOBO Awards, All Africa Music Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards, Apple Music Awards and the 64th Grammy Awards. The Grammy Awards winner went on tour for his ‘Made in Lagos’ album where he sold out multiple shows at the famous 02 Arena in London. Wizkid will definitely remember 2021 as a huge milestone in his music career.

MAKHADZI

Makhadzi whose real name is Ndivhudzannyi Ralivhona is a South African singer who became prominent in the music industry with her songs, ‘Tshanda Vuhya and Matarokisi’. The dynamic singer made a huge impression in 2021 with her 2020 album ‘Kokovha’ which means Crawl and it debuted at no. 1 on South African iTunes album charts. In August, Apple Music included Makhadzi in its Visionary Women Campaign to celebrate women in music and their achievements for Women’s Month, with her album being the most streamed album by a South African female artist. Furthermore, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa and it earned her a spot on Spotify’s 2021 Top 10 Most Streamed South African Artists list. She was also ranked by Apple Music as the most streamed South African female artist with almost 10 million streams globally in 2021. 

The French streaming platform also ranked her in the fourth position in the Top Female Artists list after Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Beyoncé. With her relentless yet yielding efforts, she earned herself several nominations and awards and she launched a sneakers brand after her successful album, ‘Kokovha’.

ANGELIQUE KIDJO

Angelique Kidjo, a Beninese singer, songwriter and actress is an outstanding songstress who has made a great impact on the African continent with her music. Her 2021 song, ‘Dignity’ featured Nigerian Afrobeat Queen, Yemi Alade is an impressive single that portrays rich tunes and relatable lyrics. The song seeks to instil a positive attitude in women around the world, hence the title, ‘Dignity’. 

Her 2021 album, Mother Nature earned her another Grammy Award win to add to three other wins she has already secured at the Award platform. She is a magnificent singer that gives the African music industry more recognition and she has many other awards to her name. On September 15, 2021, she was included in Time in their list of the 100 most influential people in the world. At 61, Angelique has proved she deserved her former title ‘Africa’s Premier Diva’.

BURNA BOY

Burna boy, Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu also known as the African Giant is one of the artists that have had a good year in 2021. The self-acclaimed African Giant welcomed the year with the exhilaration of his album, ‘Twice as Tall’ which won the Best World Music Album category at the Grammys Award. Most of the accolades he received this year are from the album released the previous year. 

One of his greatest achievements of 2021 is him being the first Nigerian to be nominated back to back at the Grammy Awards. Although Burna dined off his 2020 projects much in 2021, he is bound to deliver more this year and he ended the year on a good note with a banging hit titled, ‘Ballon D’or featuring Nigerian music star, Wizkid.

TEMS

Temilade Openiyi popularly known as Tems is a notable R&B and Pop singer and she is currently one of the trending female artists in Africa. She is an impressive singer with her dynamic and different voice. Her noteworthy appearance on Wizkid’s song, ‘Essence’ has plunged her into the international scene with more global stardom including a shot at the Grammy Awards for a new breakout artist.

Boomplay Music, Africa’s biggest music streaming platform, also listed her as one of three Top Rising Artists of 2021 in Nigeria behind Ruger and Ayra Starr. This collaboration with Wizkid earned her her first career entry on Billboard Hot 100. She was also featured on rapper Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album. Her collaboration with Drake on the song ‘Fountains’ earned her another Billboard Hot 100 entry. In September 2021, Tems released her second Extended Play titled ‘If Orange Was a Place’ and supported by the single ‘Crazy Tings’ which rose to No.3 on the UK chart. Tems had a good and successful time in 2021 and she definitely still has more to deliver to her fans.

BLACK SHERIFF

Mohammed Ismail Sheriff better known by his stage name, Black Sheriff is a Ghanaian musician and performer and he is said to be Ghana’s biggest discovery of 2021. He dominated the Ghanaian music industry and has been making his fans happy with several hit songs that he dropped to their delight. His hit songs, ‘First Sermon and Second Sermon’ were outstanding releases and they gave him much recognition. The two songs were the two fastest rising songs to reach 1 million streams on multiple DSPs. He collaborated with a self-acclaimed African Giant; Burna Boy on ‘Second Sermon’ and it has received positive reviews since its release. Black Sheriff is definitely a young artist to look out for as he is full of talents and great expectations.

DIAMOND PLATNUMZ

Diamond Platnumz whose real name is Naseeb Abdul Juma Issack is a Tanzanian recording artist, dancer, philanthropist and businessman who has consistently made great efforts in promoting Tanzanian music internationally. He has always teamed up with other African acts in making good music that is soothing to the ears and has won numerous awards in appreciation of his good music. Diamond has announced that to further promote Tanzanian music; he would include international acts, Busta Rhymes, Wiz Khalifa and Swae Lee in his album. Diamond is a known consistent act in Africa with great hit songs.

FALLY IPUPA

Fally Ipupa N’simba better known as Fally Ipupa is a Congolese singer, songwriter, dancer, philanthropist, guitarist and producer that was formerly of Koffi Olomide’s group is a music icon. After the release of his album ‘Tokooos II’ in December 2020, he performed in the DRC, Tanzania, Chad, Gabon and Burkina Faso. 

The ‘Nidja’ hitmaker affirmed his popularity by collaborating with French artist M. Pokora, Nigerian singer Flavour and Ivorian group Magic System. In 2021, YouTube honoured him with a trophy for reaching 2 million subscribers. He also clinched the Best Male Artiste in Central Africa Award at the AFRIMAs.

KOFFI OLOMIDE

Antoine Christophe Agbepa Mumba known professionally as Koffi Olomide, is a Congolese singer, dancer, producer, and composer with several gold records in his career. He is the founder of the Quartier Latin International orchestra with many notable artists, including Fally Ipupa and Ferré Gola. Though he did not release an album in 2021, he made successful collaborations with local artists Ninho, Majoos and Gaz Fabilouss and international artists like  Tiwa Savage and Charlotte Dipanda from Cameroon. 

Koffi like his other Congolese counterparts has a dynamic way of making their fans dance nonstop with their spurious sound. One of his remarkable works in 2021 is his feature on Diamond Platnumz’s ‘Waa’ which has garnered more than 30 million views on YouTube.

DJ MAPHORISA AND KABZA DE SMALL

DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small with their real names as Themba Sonnyboy Sekowe and Kabelo Motha Mahlangu respectively are both known as Scorpion Kings. Collectively, they both won three awards at the South African Music Awards. Kabza De Small also scooped the coveted Male Artist of the Year Award for his album ‘I Am The King of Amapiano’ and the Best Amapiano Music Producer Award at the inaugural South African Amapiano Awards.

 Both artists also made a huge impression on their fans and DSPs, with Apple Music ranking Kabza De Small as the highest-charting South African artist, while DJ Maphorisa’s songs ‘Izolo’ and ‘Banyana’ appeared on the digital platform’s Top Songs of 2021 list at no. 6 and 9, respectively. 

DJ Maphorisa is also the only South African musician who features in the Top 10 Most Streamed Artists list and he also topped the Top 10 Most Streamed South African Artists list, where he is followed by Kabza De Small. These two have done wonderfully well working together and as solo artists placing them among the Top Male Artists in the country at no. 8 and 9.


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