10 Most Popular African Music Singles

AKA – Baddest

Kiernan Forbes, better known as AKA, is a South African hip-hop artist who burst onto the music scene in 2002.

He was part of a rap group called Entity, which produced a song titled “Touch N Go.” He received a nomination for Best African Hip-Hop at the 2005 KORA All Africa Music Awards.

In 2009, AKA elevated to superstardom with the release of his debut album titled “Altar Ego.” The album had the hits “Victory Lap” and “Bang” featuring Khuli Chana. After the release of this album, he became a force to be reckoned with in contemporary African music.

In 2014, he released his sophomore album titled “Levels.” The album featured the top hits “Congratulate” and “Run Jozi” featuring K.O.

His single, “All Eyes on Me” featuring Burna Boy, Da L.E.S. and JR, is one of 2015’s biggest hits. It scooped the award for Best Collaboration at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards and the 2015 Afrimmas. It also stayed on the number one spot on the iTunes chart for nine consecutive weeks.

His single “Baddest” featuring Burna Boy, Yanga and Khuli Chana is also a massive hit on the African music scene. It’s a club banger that makes the crowd go wild and ranks high on the iTunes Top 100 chart. He recorded a remix of the song, this time featuring some of South Africa’s top women rappers. These include Rouge, Fifi Cooper, Moozlie, and Gigi Lamayne.

Yemi Alade – Johnny

Nigeria pop singer Yemi Alade burst onto the African music scene in 2009. She made a name for herself after winning the maiden edition of the Peak Talent Show. Before winning the competition, she was a member of the girl group, Noty Spices.

The song that made her a force in the African music industry in 2013 is “Johnny.” The single, produced by Selebobo, is from her album titled “King of Queens.” The song was one of the top records of 2013. It has received over 31 million views on YouTube.  

Yemi Alade scooped many awards for the single. These include Best Female at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards and Best Female West Africa at the 2015 Afrimmas.

WizKid – Ojuelegba

Nigeria’s WizKid rose to superstardom in 2010 after the release of his hit single “Holla At Your Body.” The song was from his debut album, “Superstar.”

His sophomore album titled “Ayo” featured one of his biggest singles, “Ojuelegba.” This song set him apart as one of Africa’s most prominent musicians. The album reached the number one spot in the iTunes World Music category in less than 24 hours of its release.

“Ojuelegba” is a song that gets the crowd dancing and no party is complete without it. It has gathered the attention of rappers Drake and Skepta, who feature on the remix. The video for the song has received over 5 million views on YouTube.

WizKid won many awards for this song. These include Best International Act: Africa at the 2012 BET Awards and Song of the Year at the 2015 Afrimmas.    

He landed an endorsement deal with Pepsi in 2012 along with fellow musician Tiwa Savage. He made history in 2014 as the first Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter.      

Davido – Various songs

Davido rose to fame in 2011 with the release of his debut album titled “Omo Baba Olowo.” The song that made him into a superstar was “Dami Duro.” He featured American-Senegalese hip-hop artist Akon on the song.

“Dami Duro” was so popular that the governor of Oyo State in Nigeria, Abiola Ajimobi, sang the song while giving a speech at the University of Ibadan.

His 2014 single “Aye” gained massive popularity on the continent. The video for the single received over 27 million views on YouTube.

“Skelewu” was another chart-topper from Davido that went viral. The song came with a unique dance that fans did while enjoying the song. People created a viral social media trend when they uploaded videos of themselves dancing to the song. The single reached the number one spot on most music charts, including the Afribiz Top 100 chart.

Davido has won many awards. These include Best International Act: Africa at the 2014 BET Awards and Best Male at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards. He has collaborated with big names in music, including U.S. rapper Meek Mill. He is co-owner of the music label HKN Music, which he owns with his elder brother Adewale Adeleke.

Cassper Nyovest – Doc Shebeleza

South African hip-hop artist Cassper Nyovest got his big break into music in 2013. He released the hit single “Gusheshe,” which catapulted him into superstardom.

He then released the single “Doc Shebeleza,” which became a party anthem across Africa. The single topped most charts in South Africa, including the 5FM and YFM music charts. The song featured on DSTV’s “Feel Every Moment” campaign in 2014.

“Doc Shebeleza” won the attention of U.S. rapper Talib Kweli, who features on the remix. The video of the song has since received over 1.3 million views on YouTube.

Cassper held his first concert #FillUpTheDome in October 2015. He was the first South African hip-hop artist to fill up the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg. The venue is the biggest concert venue in South Africa, with the capacity to hold 20,000 people.

Sauti Sol – Sura Yako

Kenyan pop group Sauti Sol came into the limelight in 2006. They got the attention of the music industry after participating in the Spotlight on Kenyan Music competition.

The group released two albums in 2008 and 2011, but their third album titled “Live and Die in Afrika” won the hearts of music lovers. The album’s single titled “Sura Yako” was one of their most downloaded songs on iTunes. Fans created the Lipala dance based on the song, and videos of this dance went viral on social media. The single has received over 2 million views on YouTube.

The group has received awards for this single. These include Most Downloaded Single at the 2015 Mdundo Music Awards and Producers of the Year for “Sura Yako” at the 2014 Afrimmas.

Mavin Records – Dorobucci

Mavin Records is a Nigerian record label founded by artist and producer Don Jazzy. The label, founded in 2012, is home to some of Nigeria’s top musical acts, including Tiwa Savage, Korede Bello, and Di’Ja.

In 2014, Mavin released their chart-topping single titled “Dorobucci.” The video for the song has received over 14 million views on YouTube. It was one of the most watched African videos on YouTube in 2014.

The award that Mavin received for the single is Song of the Year at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards.

Diamond Platnumz – Nasema Nawe

Diamond Platnumz is one of Tanzania’s most prominent artists. He’s best known for his hit single titled “Number One.”

His current chart-topper is a track titled ‘Nasema Nawe’ and features Khadija Kopa. The video for the song has received over 5 million views on YouTube.

He has received notable awards for music. These include Best African Act at the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards and Best Live Act at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards.

Lebo Matshego
South African journalist based in Johannesburg. A Wits University graduate, Lebo enjoys writing lifestyle and entertainment stories.