African artists are rocking the world

Black Coffee. Picture: Tumi Pakkies Independent Newspapers

Black Coffee. Picture: Tumi Pakkies Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 22, 2023


African artists are taking the world by storm with Master KG, Nomcebo Zikode and Black Coffee among the top 40 most exported artists in the region.

Following its release in 2020 and its social media chokehold, the well-known song ‘Jerusalema’ gained Master KG and Zikode international acclaim which continues unabated.

Master KG. Picture: Twitter

The top exported music from various countries shows that African music is more than just chart-topping songs; it is a tapestry of rhythms, melodies, and vocals reflecting continent’s rich culture.

Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s head of Music for Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “It’s music that transcends differences and brings people together, moving them to dance, sing, and revel in the shared experience.

“African music is a force of creativity that’s breaking down barriers and weaving a global tapestry of unity. These artists, with their commitment to authenticity, diversity, and social awareness, are leaving an indelible mark on the world stage,” Okumu said.

Their success demonstrates how widespread the demand for African music has grown.

Furthermore, that expansion is not expected to slow down any time soon, considering how eager some of the top musicians in the world are to work with their African counterparts as producers, singers, or musicians.

Artists from other countries in sub-Saharan Africa have also tasted international success.

Ghana’s Amaarae sits in the top 20. Expand things a little further and you’ll find artists from São Tomé and Príncipe (in the shape of Calema) and Côte d'Ivoire, through the Magic System.

Nomcebo Zikode. Picture: Instagram

Tyler ICU’s ‘Mnike’ (feat. DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA & Tyron Dee) is the second most exported track in South Africa, while over in the East, Lexsil and Otile Brown’s ‘Bounce’ is the most exported track in Kenya.

Spotify wrapped 2023 also revealed that “Mnike” is the most streamed song and the most added to user-generated playlists.

The search function on Spotify is one of the key tabs of discovery for many users. Its intuitive searching capabilities in South Africa landed Kelvin Momo on the second most searched artist list behind Drake.

“This continent isn’t just pulsating with vibrant rhythms; it’s a musical revolution rocking the world, and we’re all dancing to the beat,” said Okumu.

The Star