Afrobeats is one of the most versatile type of music there is. Born in Nigeria and Ghana, Afrobeats is often mixed with rap, dancehall, house, R&B and/or pop. In honor of Black History Month, we’ve narrowed down some of our favorite Afrobeats artists worth checking out. Keep scrolling to learn more about them and their music.
Tems is a Nigerian singer-slash-songwriter, who got her breakout thanks to the 2020 Wizkid collab “Essence.” The song got remixed with Justin Bieber, which ended up charting in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, she received a Grammy nomination for “Essence” in the Best Global Music Performance category. In 2021, her vocals from “Higher” were sampled onto Future‘s “Wait For U” featuring Drake. The collab charted No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, which made her the first-ever African artist to dominate that chart.
Rema is a singer and rapper from Nigeria. He rose to fame with the release of his 2019 single “Dumebi,” which appeared in his self-titled EP. He later gained more recognition when another track –”Iron Man” — appeared on former U.S. President Barrack Obama‘s Summer 2019 playlist. In 2021, he coined the phrase “Afrorave,” which is an Afrobeats subgenre with hints of Arabian and Indian influences.
Ayra Starr is a Nigerian singer, who got her start in music thanks to social media. She would regularly post covers on Instagram until 2019 when she shared an original song that caught the attention of label executive Don Jazzy. That resulted in getting signed to Mavin Records, which is also home to other artists, including Rema. In 2021, she released her debut studio album, 19 & Dangerous.
Omah Lay is a singer-slash-songwriter from Nigeria. He first started out as part of a rap group with the stage name Lil King before reinventing himself. He gained popularity when his single “Holiday,” which he self-produced, went viral on social media in 2020. That same year, he released his debut EP, Get Layd, consisting of five tracks, including “You,” which peaked No. 1 on the Apple Music charts for Nigeria. He gained more recognition thanks to some of his collabs; he’s had two collaborations with Justin Bieber — one on a “Peaches” remix and the other on the track “Attention.”
Burna Boy is probably one of the most popular Afrobeats artists right now. The Nigerian musician rose to fame in 2012 with the help of “Like to Party,” which was the lead single from his debut studio album, L.I.F.E., released the following year. In July 2022, he released is sixth studio album, Love, Damini. The LP became the highest debut on the Billboard 200 for an African album.
For more, check out our playlist below.