If you want to update your playlist with some amazing new sounds, then the African continent, home to some of the most exciting emerging genres and artists right now, is the place to look…or listen to.
From chart-dominating Afrobeat belters to the intriguing sounds of new Amapiano soon-to-be-classics, these are the African musicians and bands that you need to check out in 2022 to invigorate your playlist.
Fusing Afrobeats, reggae, and R&B, WizKid’s four albums to date are joyous, uplifting affairs, full of the influence of his native Lagos, as well as bringing Caribbean elements into play. The artist’s recently released fourteen-track album, ‘Made in Lagos,’ was made in collaboration with the late Bob Marley’s son, Damian: the two men feature together on the track ‘Blessed,’ in which they sing about their respective troubles, and their feelings of gratitude at their subsequent successes and the good things in their lives.
WizKid represents a new generation of musicians hailing from Nigeria, whose voices continue to be raised in optimism and hope, despite the political turmoil that the country has faced in recent years. As an artist who is widely credited as being at the pinnacle of the Afrobeats movement, his album should definitely make it onto your essential playlist this year.
The Amapiano genre emerged in Africa about a decade ago: it’s difficult to pin down style, eclectic, often eccentric, and boundary-pushing. It’s become wildly popular and, in its current carnation, fuses soulful melodies and thought-provoking lyrics with the rawness and repetitive rhythms and rhymes of its earlier days.
A regular on the official South African Music Charts, and one of the most successful and well-respected musicians in Amapiano, Busta 929, needs to be on your playlist this year. If you’re interested in using Amapiano-style music in a post or video content, then you’ll need to ensure that you obtain the right permissions to avoid copyright issues. Alternatively, you could use royalty-free music to steer clear of this potential issue while still getting the exact vibe you want for your video. With the Amapiano genre gaining increasing traction worldwide, incorporating this type of music into your content could give it the edge it needs to stand out from the crowd.
Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Tiwa Savage is a major player on the Afrobeats scene – she was the first female African artist to be contracted by Pepsi to represent their brand. Tiwa’s debut single ‘Kele Kele’ was released in 2010 on the singer’s own label and instantly stormed the charts.
Savage is credited as being one of the most influential Afrobeats musicians active in the industry right now; she sings in English and Yoruba, and her music blends Afrobeats with R&B, pop, and hip-hop. Her singles and albums have been nominated and won a slew of national and international awards, including for Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards.
Before finding fame in her own right, Tiwa Savage provided backing vocals on live tours with superstars including George Michael, Mary J Blige, and Sting.
The influences of Jamaican Reggae and Dancehall can be clearly heard in Burna Boy’s music, which is a must if you’re looking to expand your playlist with some amazing tracks in 2022. After releasing a couple of mix tapes in the early 2000s, Burna Boy hit mainstream success with his debut single. ‘Like to Party,’ which paved the way for his 2013 album, ‘Living an Impact for Eternity’ (styled as ‘L.IF.E’.) which made a huge impact and set the musician on the road to stardom.
Burna Boy’s music regularly tops the African charts, and the artist co-headlined the 2015 Hennessey Artistry series of concerts; he was also the recipient of an MTV Music award in the same year. The musician scooped the Best InternationalAct at the 2019 BET Awards and became the first Nigerian artist to win back-to-back Grammys in 2020.
Boohle, from South Africa, is known for her genre-crossing music that fuses House, R&B, Soul, and Gospel, among many others; she’s one of the leading musicians working in the Amapiano scene, and her tracks are played on heavy rotation across African radio stations.
Boohle’s fans love her expansive, large-scale harmonies and soaring melodies – a testament to her Gospel background (she was part of a Gospel trio as a child, alongside her two sisters) – and her frequent collaborations, which keep her music fresh and innovative as it continually embraces new influences and styles.
The musician’s debut album, ‘Umbuso Wanamynyama’ was released in 2020 – both this record and the singles that have been released in the interim have found significant success in the African music and international streaming charts. Boohle regularly shares stages with superstars of African music, including Emtee, Fifi Cooper, and Doctor Malinga.
If you want to refresh your playlist with some of the most innovative and exciting music coming out of the African continent this year, then any of the artists on the list above will make an epic addition.