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Here Are The Top 15 African Hits That Made Our 2023

Here Are The Top 15 African Hits That Made Our 2023

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2023 has been a remarkable year of hits for African music, marked by a continuous explosion of energy and talent. From the first month’s unforgettable releases to the diverse soundscape created by solo artists and collaborations alike, African music has indeed thrived.

Throughout the year, Afrobeats, Amapiano, and everything in between have enjoyed smooth sailing, captivating audiences from Africa to the Americas, Europe to Asia. The innovative sound and captivating visuals, showcased through stunning music videos, have garnered hundreds of millions of views, solidifying African artistes as global hitmakers.

This curated list celebrates the hits that defined African music in 2023. Each track, meticulously chosen for its unique sound, vibrant execution, and cultural significance, embodies the current state of sonic excellence and cultural impact in Africa. These songs are a testament to the vibrancy and infectious energy that have propelled African music to new heights this year.

Here are the top 15 African hits of 2023…

#15. Tyler ICU & Tumelo_za ft. DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA & Tyron Dee – Mnike (South Africa)

Tyler ICU’s Mnike has been omnipresent since its release in late April, captivating audiences both domestically and internationally. The irresistible melodies by Tumelo.za, coupled with the pulsating instrumental co-produced by Nandipha808 and Ceeka RSA, resonated at global events like Afro Nation in Portugal. Boasting millions of streams on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, the scorching track has achieved the highest streaming figures among all Amapiano songs to date.

#14. KCee – Ojapiano (Nigeria)

Derived from the time-honored Igbo musical instrument called Oja, KCee’s Ojapiano created a significant buzz in the initial months of the year. Its vibrant sound resonated with numerous individuals on social media and in real-world gatherings, providing the perfect backdrop for enjoying leisurely moments. Ojapiano exemplifies the possibility of delving into cultural roots to offer a novel dimension to the realm of pop music.

#13. King Promise ft. Young Jonn – Terminator (Ghana)

King Promise delivered the standout Ghanaian Afrobeats track of the year with Terminator. Produced by the ever-reliable Killbeatz, this infectious Afrobeats tune, infused with Amapiano vibes, captivated music enthusiasts throughout the continent and remains a constant favorite.

#12. Ayra Starr – Sability (Nigeria)

Undoubtedly, Ayra Starr showcases remarkable talent. Hailing from Benin but rooted in Nigeria, the singer vividly encapsulates the anxieties of the Gen-Z generation, crafting lyrical poetry woven into vibrant pop music. Despite her diverse artistic influences spanning various geographical landscapes, Sability stands out as one of her most regionally focused tracks. Incorporating an Awilo Logomba sample and delivering impassioned vocals in Pidgin English and Yoruba, the song not only resonated within diverse music communities but also captured the attention of a broad demographic of fans.

#11. Shallipopi – Elon Musk (Nigeria)

Shallipopi was a standout figure in 2023, plotting a deliberate transition from Edo State to the forefront of Nigerian pop culture. His unique style became ingrained in the collective consciousness of listeners across the nation. The pivotal moment for the 23-year-old artist was marked by the release of Elon Musk, a hyperrealist track that delved into the language of online transactions. With his move to Lagos just a few months later, the success of the song laid the foundation for his impending dominance. This ascendancy was solidified by the subsequent launch of an EP and an album titled Presido La Pluto, acknowledging his current status as a cult hero.

#10. Uncle Waffles, Tony Duardo & Justin99, ft. Pcee, Eeque & Chley – Yahyuppiyah (Eswatini x South Africa)

Prior to its official release, Uncle Waffles Yahyuppiyah teaser and accompanying dance routine had already captivated social media. In March, the internationally acclaimed DJ formally unveiled the track as the flagship single for her second EP, Asylum. Waffles’ stellar influence persisted throughout the year, marked by the launch of her third project, a BET Award nomination, performances at Coachella, and headlining her personally curated shows on a global scale.

#9. BNXN ft. Kizz Daniel & Seyi Vibez – Gwagwalada (Nigeria)

Everyone who tuned in to Gwagwalada couldn’t deny its undeniable hit status. BNXN (formerly known as Buju), Kizz Daniel, and Seyi Vibez, each bringing their unique styles to the table, confidently showcased their talents over a masterful Sarz production, creating an unforgettable chapter in the story of Afrobeats. This musical masterpiece, like records before it, etches the name Gwagwalada into musical history by beautifully capturing the essence of cities and places. Whether igniting dance floors or creating an intimate atmosphere in private spaces, Gwagwalada is a beautiful song that effortlessly blends street pop and refined mainstream sounds. Its gentle yet powerful nature highlights the harmonious intersection where these two musical worlds converge.

#8. Adekunle Gold – Ogaranya (Nigeria)

Adekunle Gold’s Ogaranya bursts onto the scene as a 2023 African hit with its infectious blend of party vibes and cultural celebration. The vibrant Afrobeats track, infused with highlife and fuji influences, boasts an irresistible rhythm that gets you moving, while its lyrics champion the spirit of generosity and community, resonating deeply with African audiences. Ogaranya, meaning “a person of wealth and influence who uses their resources to help others,” perfectly embodies Adekunle Gold’s artistic evolution, capturing his signature smooth vocals and genre-bending sound, making it a well-deserved frontrunner in the year’s hottest African releases.

#7. Libianca – People (Cameroon)

In under a year, People has amassed a significant number of listens, securing its place among the most streamed songs in the Afrobeats genre. As Libianca grapples with the challenges and opportunities brought about by this unprecedented success, ownership of the song has been entrusted to the passionate listeners who are captivated by its flawless melody and meaningful message: though we may embody the entirety of our difficulties, we choose not to dwell on them.

#6. Odumodublvck – Declan Rice (Nigeria)

Odumodublvck’s Declan Rice became a 2023 African hit for its irresistible blend of factors: it’s a catchy ode to a rising football star, infusing Nigerian Drill with vibrant Benin street slang, boasts a fire verse, and propelled Odumodublvck to global recognition, all while uniting his community and serving as an anthem for hustlers tackling the industry head-on.

#5. Rema – Charm (Nigeria)

“See body oh,” a lyric presented in the distinctive Rema style, stands out as one of the key phrases of the year. Building on the success of his debut album, Rave & Roses from the previous year, the Nigerian prodigy’s deluxe version of the album includes this track. The song has permeated various facets of popular culture and media, highlighting Rema’s prowess as a top-tier pop hitmaker. It skillfully taps into the emotional and serenading elements that have rightfully earned him his crown as a shining star.

#4. Asake – Lonely At The Top (Nigeria)

Asake’s Lonely At The Top stands out as one of the standout tracks, if not the definitive track, of the year. Building on the success set by the scene-defining Mr. Money With The Vibe, this single emerges from the dynamic sophomore album, Work of Art, where Asake celebrates victories over expansive and intricate musical landscapes. The song delves into the common sentiment experienced by many successful individuals—that achieving genuine emotional connections becomes more challenging when one reaches the pinnacle of their field. However, Asake maintains a triumphant perspective, refusing to be disheartened.

#3. Tyla – Water (South Africa)

Arguably one of the biggest African songs of the year, Water transformed Tyla from a beloved figure in South Africa to an international sensation. This hit garnered acclaim from prominent stages and artists, with its initial breakthrough occurring on TikTok. The song’s intricate chorus vividly portrayed steamy moments ignited by desire and the intertwining of bodies, showcasing a seductive quality that resonated widely on the app and transcended its boundaries. This success underscores Afrobeats’ adaptable nature, seamlessly blending with the sensual nuances of R&B and subtle influences of Amapiano in this particular instance.

#2. Davido ft. Musa Keys – Unavailable (Nigeria)

The irresistibly infectious chorus of Unavailable dominated the airwaves throughout the year. Davido staged an extraordinary comeback with his album Timeless, featuring a collection of hits. This track, which led the pack, gained momentum through a TikTok-fueled dance craze. Davido’s knack for crafting uncomplicated yet memorable experiences stands out as a key strength, and few songs released this year showcase this quality as universally and revitalizingly as Unavailable.

#1. Burna Boy – City Boys (Nigeria)

Urban Dictionary defines a city boy as a male fully immersed in living his optimal life, relentlessly pursuing success without allowing attractive women or any female to hinder his path. Burna Boy enthusiastically embraces this persona in a standout track from his seventh album, I Told Them…. The song features top-notch production, blending sirens and hip-hop kicks seamlessly. Those devoted to the lifestyle would find themselves irresistibly moving to Burna Boy’s captivating and entrancing rhythms, reminiscent of dancing in the style of Rahman Jago. Taking fans across the world on a ride over the summer, City Boys has earned it’s rightful place as the number one song out of Africa in 2023.


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