Music is a gift, an art that is capable of making you happy and dance, not to mention it is an opium that can make you forget your sorrows, it is obvious in the Nigeria context. The African music industry is really making waves and gaining grounds day in day out, internationally. It is not like the world didn’t appreciate any content that comes out of Africa, at least we have musicians like Youssou N’Dour from Senegal, Fela Kuti, Seun and Femi Kuti, Salif Keita from Mali, amongst many talents that have one time or still dominate the international stage. But Hiphop or Afro-Pop is really getting popular, although it has open doors to more uninteresting/poor songs that lack content, but few artists have distinguished themselves, those are the musicians that made my list. I came up with this list based on the artist performance, awards and music business savviness throughout 2017.
Topping my list is the amazing David Adedeji Adeleke, better known by his stage name Davido, he is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. After dropping his 2011 single “Dami Duro” which was well-received in-and-out of Nigeria, Davido has been consistent with his act. We actually thought we saw it all in 2016, when he released his EP –Son of Mercy last year, not knowing that the 25year old talented singer will have the world at his feet in 2017. Davido started 2017 with a “FALL”, a single that topped the charts all over the continent for many months and continued with an “IF”, another success for the young star. We got to the mid-year, and the enigmatic Davido dropped another single titled “Pere”, I was beginning to wonder when this young man will stop until he released another hot jam, “DMW” featuring Mayorkun, the fine talented artist he signed into his label. As we began preparing to close the year, Davido released two hot singles, “FIA”(this video had more than 3million views in one week on Youtube), “LIKE DAT” to end the year, not to forget he has been featured in a lot of songs this year, like “What You Want” by Jay Sean among many others.
Davido held an African tour in 2017, tagged 30 Billion Africa Tour, performing in over 7 African countries thrilling fans round the continent. The tour is expected to come to an end on the 27th of December, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
This busy year for Davido didn’t go unnoticed by award organisers in the entertainment industry all over the world. Davido received over 10 top awards this year, his biggest being a recipient of 2 MTV EME Award as Best African and International act, also received MOBO award for best African Artist, as well as the Nigerian Entertainment Award for his song, “If” winning best single award for the year 2017. I trust 2018 will be exciting and wish Davido more reign as king in the music industry in Africa!!!
The phenomenal Star Boy, should be in my number one spot in this top 5, but isn’t there because of a considerable effort from his Nigerian counterpart, Davido. The Star boy, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun better known by his stage name Wizkid, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter, also a label owner.
Wizkid stood out in 2017 with his EP-Album, Sound from the Other Side, released in July 2017, with collaborations from Drake, Major Lazer, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz and Bucie, along with production by Sarz, Diplo, Picard Brothers, Spellz, DJ Mustard, among many industry top names. The Album was sauced with hot tracts like “Come Closer” featuring Drake (with over 50million views on Youtube), “Sweet Love”.
After recording a success from his EP, Wizkid has gone on to release two fine singles, “Everytime” and “Manya”, as well as collaborate with artists like Tiwa Savage.
2017 will be remembered as the year Wizkid grabbed the world by its nuts and said, “I am Starboy Listen to me”, when he performed in the United Kingdom in a sold out concert. Wizkid’s show which was staged in one of the UK’s most iconic venues, the Royal Albert Hall in London was reported to be the first sold out concert by an African act, a statement that was later corrected to be the “first Afrobeat artist to host a sold out show at that prestigious venue’’. Two days to the show, Wizkid already had his tickets sold out. The concert which remained a memorable one in the Music industry in Africa, was streamed live on Wizkid’s Facebook page.
On the award part, Wizkid has a lot of awards to his name this year, from going home with the biggest pie in 2017’s AFRIMA award, to beating DJ Khalid, Drake, Jay Z and other big acts, to win the revered MOBO award as Best International act.
South African recording artist and record producer, is no doubt one of the best rapper from the continent and he has a solid successful 2017. Refiloe Maele Phoolo, professionally known as Cassper Nyovest, released a phenomenal album this year, won numerous awards and headlined sold-out concert, all in 2017. Cassper Nyovest Album “Thuto” went Gold on the day of release and within a few weeks it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa, a great feat. That was not even enough, on the 2nd of December, Cassper announced that 72000 tickets were sold and his concert had an attendance record of 68000 at his successful concert which was sponsored by three big brands, Ciroc SA, SABC 1 and Budweiser.
Like I said, 2017 was certainly a good year for Casper, in the just concluded South African Hip Hop Music Awards, Casper went home with 6 awards, one of which is Best Album award.
Tiwa Savage: The queen of African Music herself, Tiwatope Savage-Balogun, better known by her stage name Tiwa Savage, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, performer and actress. Tiwa’s 2017 might seem to others a cold one, but the diva-mum still has it in her to retain the crown as best female act from Africa. Tiwa released a banger in 2017, a single that topped the chat for weeks and months, titled “Informate” and went on to release “All Over”(with over 10million views on Youtube) and a fascinating one featuring Wizkid, “Ma Lo”. Tiwa featured in Di’Ja’s new track, “Ordinary Day”.
The Mavin signed artist won big at this year’s AFRIMA alongside her counterparts, Wizkid and Davido. She was also nominated at MOBO.
Sauti Sol: This Kenyan afro-pop band, formed in Nairobi by vocalists Bien-Aimé Baraza, Willis Chimano and Savara Mudigi in 2005 had a thrilling and fine 2017, following up on their best year last year. Initially a cappella group, guitarist Polycarp Otieno joined before they named themselves Sauti Sol. With their hit song “Melanin” featuring Patoranking and a thrilling performance at Berlin Germany this year, Sauti Sol are creating a unique brand for themselves, exportable and worthy of making Africa proud globally.
Kindly drop your own list in the comment below.