One may wonder what is Afrobeats. To be fair, that is a very good question. In this article, we will show you exactly what Afrobeats is. There has been confusion as to what this genre of music is termed, this confusion brought about questions like “what’s the difference between Afrobeat and Afrobeats”, and “what style of music is Afrobeats”. And “what Afrobeats mean“.
While Afrobeat is a distinctly political, non-commercial style of music while Afrobeats is a 21st-century genre of music originating from West Africa, with Nigeria, Ghana, and the UK playing key roles to see to its emergence and sustainability. In the grand scheme of things, it is Nigeria that has pushed the genre to the summit of global music. The legendary Fela Kuti Anikulakpo was popular for producing quality afrobeat music.
Making sure it is sellable and more importantly profitable. In contemporary music today, Afrobeats has now become the most exportable sound. With the exposure Afrobeats has garnered over the years, sub-genres like Afro-pop, Afro-fusion, Afrobeat—a Nigerian music genre that involves the combination of West African musical styles like; traditional Yoruba music and highlife, and American funk, jazz, and soul impacts, Afroswing—Afroswing, also known as Afro bashment, or less commonly Afrobbean or Afro-trap is a genre of music that developed in the UK. But they are all under the umbrella of Afrobeats. In a simpler definition, one can say Afrobeats is a blend of sounds coming out of Nigeria and Ghana.
Currently, Afrobeats music is being produced and distributed in Lagos, Nigeria, and Accra, Ghana. But with foreign investors coming in, the soundscape may change very soon. Native Nigerian genres like Jùjú music—a style of Yoruba popular music derived from traditional Yoruba percussion, highlife, and hiplife, etc, have now taken shape under the bigger picture which is Afrobeats.
10 Best Afrobeats Artists from Nigeria in 2022
With the stride the genre has made and is still in the business of making, we can easily compile a list or mention the few acts we considered the best afrobeats artists in 2022. These artists through an extraordinary display of hard work, they’ve released some of the finest afrobeats albums we’ve ever listened to. Below is the list of the best afrobeats artists in 2022.
Leading the pack and chief flagbearer of Afrobeats is Wizkid. Wizkid, aka Big Wiz, has always been considered the poster boy of afrobeats music. Wizkid came into the international scene with “One Dance,” but his success as an artist stretched beyond that hit song.
In 2011, Wizkid’s debut album Superstar earned him immediate recognition, with several hit singles emerging from that album. His rise to popularity was evident in 2014 when he became the first Nigerian musician to get over a million followers on the social networking platform, Twitter. Wizkid has always been recognized as the face of the afrobeats genre.
This is because of his ability to make quality afrobeats music. He has been around for more than a decade, which is impressive is his propensity to remain relevant and sought out for. In 2022, Wizkid dropped his fifth studio album, More Love, Less Ego. A thirteen-track album of quality and duality, as he did some remarkable international features that stunned listeners. Songs like; Bad To Me’s, 2 Sugar received much airplay and radio presence.
Wizkid’s More Love, Less Ego made it to Rolling Stone magazine’s top 100 albums of 2022. The album has been widely praised for its quality and duality. More Love, Less Ego also peaked at number 2 and spent 5 weeks on the Billboard World Albums chart.
Grammy-winning Burna Boy is currently the best afrobeats artist in the world. In 2022, he dropped a rather successful album, Love, Damini. Love, Damini succeeded in his Grammy-winning Twice As Tall album. Rolling Stone also named Burna Boy’s “Last Last” as the best Afrobeats song of 2022.
Although Love, Damini has not been nominated for Grammy yet but the album has been seen as peaked at number two (No. 2) on the Billboard World Album chart and spent 25 weeks in the process. 2022 also saw Burna Boy as the No. 1 artiste on multiple streaming platforms including Apple Music, Boomplay, and Spotify. Complex Music also ranked his hit song “Last Last“ as the fifth-best song of 2022.
If we were using hit records alone, Asake would easily be first on the list of the best afrobeats albums in 2022. Asake’s 2022 was all hits, no misses. And the proof is in him selling out his UK tour tickets in five (5) minutes. With him starting from O2 Academy Brixton 5,000-capacity.
What’s more impressive is that he announced another one at the 12,500-capacity OVO Arena Wembley in London and it was sold out. And another one at the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena sold out. All in one day, he sold three (3) different concert tickets something only Wizkid has done before. Still, it is crazy for a debutant in the afrobeats music scene. Notable Asake afrobeats achievements include;
- Most #1 songs in Nigeria (6)
- Most #1 songs on the streaming chart
- Most #1 songs on the radio chart
- Official #1 Album of 2022
- Official #1 Artiste of 2022
Davido who has had a relatively quiet year still achieved some outstanding feats in 2022. In 2012, David Adeleke became famous with his debut afrobeats album OBO—Omo Baba Owolo, he went on to bear the alias, OBO. OBO grew from that album and went on to drop a second afrobeats album, The Baddest. Subsequently, Davido won Best International Act at the BET Awards in both 2018 and 2014, becoming the first African afrobeats artist to receive his award in person on the BET stage. To date, 2017 appears to be the year Davido dominated the industry. It was the year of his popular hit songs; “IF,” “FIA” and “FALL“.
In 2022, Davido is the number one artiste on the radio. He is also the official number-one artiste on television (TV). Davido is also the official number-one artiste on airplay, which includes both radio and television. He also scooped the number one prize for Gospel song with “Stand Strong“.
According to TurnTable Magazine, Davido is the 2022 fourth-best artiste from Nigeria, with over 366 million streams across all streaming platforms. First, second, and third are Asake, Burna Boy, and Buju BNXN respectively. He didn’t release any album as his peers have done but his features; Electricity with Pheelz, and Dada remix with Young John, both producers proved pivotal in ensuring he ranks among the very best of afrobeats artists.
It is also noteworthy that Davido along with Trinidad Cardona and Aisha teamed up to produce the official Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup soundtrack. That must’ve done him a lot of good in global presence.
Kizz Daniel whose last album came in 2020, released a couple of hit singles in 2022. His 2021 afrobeats album, “Barnabas” was widely praised for not having a bad song. Ironically, he dropped an album in 2018, titled “No Bad Songz“. But fast forward to 2022, and Kizz Daniel is still in the thick of things. He dropped a massive hit song in “Buga (Lo Lo Lo)” and a less massive hit song in “Cough (Odo)“.
To put things into perspective, “Buga (Lo Lo Lo)” was popping everywhere. From clubs to Nigerian wedding ceremonies, then Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. On social media platforms, the song was viral on Tiktok.
After the hype died down, Kizz quickly added “Cough (Odo)” to the mix, to intensify his already huge single. TurnTable Magazine has now ranked Kizz Daniel as the fifth-best artiste of 2022 from Nigeria. Just below Davido in the same list.
Formerly known as Buju, BNXN won the Next Rated award at the Headies in 2022. He took home the Bentley and he also reaffirm his status of being a very promising afrobeats artist at the moment. Previous winners of this coveted award have gone on to do great things for afrobeats music. Wizkid, Davido has won this award in the past, but 2022 was BNXN’s year. In 2022, Buju BNXN was all over the place.
From collaborating with UK-based Nigerian producer and rapper, JAE5 and Dave Santan respectively in Propeller to dropping his 7-song extended play, “Bad Since 97”. Although BNXN is notorious for stealing the show on features, his talent and ability to make beautiful, melodious music stands out among his peers.
TurnTable Magazine ranked him third best afrobeats artiste of 2022 from Nigeria, edging Davido who is in fourth place. His total streams are over 367 million across music streaming platforms.
BNXN who has worked with big names like Wizkid, Burna Boy, and Timaya considers himself the best among his peers.
The YBNL/EMPIRE act, Fireboy DML was also phenomenal in 2022. It is in the same year he dropped the remix to his monster hit song “Peru” with UK artiste, Ed Sheeran. The song went on to scoop the number one spot on the US Top Thriller chart, giving Fireboy his first-ever Billboard Hot 100 entry.
Peru also made waves in the UK and it was banging in every club in Nigeria. It is in the same year he performed alongside Ed Sheeran at the prestigious Wembley Stadium.
Fireboy’s “Playboy” album was also released in 2022 and it went on to debut at number 123 on Billboard Hot 200 chart.
“Raves & Roses” was also released in 2022 by Rema. The album debuted at number 47 on Billboard Independent Albums Chart. The remix of his hit single, “Calm Down” with Selena Gomez—a pop star in the US brought him major success across all boards. The Calm Down remix got Rema his first-ever Billboard Hot 100 entry.
And as of the time this article was published, the Calm Down remix by Rema ft Selena Gomez spends its 6th week as a non-mover at #1 on Billboard World Digital Song Sales Chart.
Rema’s Rave & Roses moves to peak Position, which is number 1 on the Billboard Heatseeker Album chart.
“Calm Down” remains at number one on the Billboard US Afrobeats Songs chart for the 18th week, extending its record as the longest-running number 1 in the chart history.
2022 also saw Ckay drop his album titled, “Sad Romance“. The album comprises twelve amazing songs. The last track from the album is a bonus track, “Love Nwantiti.”
According to TurnTable Magazine, Ckay’s “Love Nwantiti” is the number 1 Global Nigerian Song of 2022, having tallied the most global streams by any Nigerian song— it tops the year-end chart for a second consecutive year. Also, Ckay is the number one Global Nigerian Artist of 2022.
Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, and Tems are the only women that have earned a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2022. Oustanding category of women in music Tems is part of. Tems is now the Afrobeats artiste with the highest number of entries on the Billboard Hot 100 with five (5). She’s beaten the challenge that confronted female afrobeats artists for a long time in the 3 years she broke through in the industry.
In 2022, Tems made a global hit with US acts, Future, and Drake titled “Wait For U,” a song that charted on many music platforms around the world. Tems also became the first female afrobeats artsiste to crack the Billboard Artists 100 Chart. A remarkable feat once again. Tems “Free Mind” ranked highest amongst afrobeats songs on the Billboard 100 Best Songs of 2022.
In general, Tems has contributed greatly to the afrobeats movement and 2022 was a rewarding year for her work and efforts.
10 Best Afrobeats Albums of 2022
- Wizkid – “More Love, Less Ego“
- Asake – “Mr. Money With The Vibe“
- Omah Lay – “Boy Alone“
- Burna Boy – “Love, Damini“
- Rema – “Rave & Roses“
- Fireboy DML – “Playboy“
- Ayra Starr – “19 & Dangerous Deluxe“
- Ckay – “Sad Romance“
- Black Sherif – “The Villain I Never Was“
- Portable – “Ika of Africa“
Afrobeats Direction and Future
Without a doubt, ahead of Nollywood films and materials, Afrobeats is arguably Nigeria’s unassailable cultural export since the turn of the millennium.
Sony Music and Universal Music Group opened offices in Lagos, in an attempt to operate here. Coming into the mix is Atlantic Records who have Burna Boy on their roaster. The goal is to sign local artists and ensure the refining of raw talents for global consumption. These label companies have also joined the fight against music piracy in Nigeria and the afrobeats scene as a whole. This fight is for the security of music distribution, legal ownership, and rights.