20 Afro hip-hop musicians you need to have in your playlist

20 Afro hip-hop musicians you need to have in your playlist

African music has been around for many years, and Afrobeat has become global. African musicians have performed globally, including in the US and Europe. Hip hop, on the other hand, has been on an upward trend in Africa since the 1980s due to African American influence. This music genre, however, differs in different parts of Africa, and each country has its style. Importantly, they all retain elements that make the music hip-hop.

What is African hip-hop music?
Photo: @manifestive, @khaligraph_jones, @amgmedikal on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

What is African hip-hop music? African hip hop music is a genre that borrows from African Americans who invented it during the early 1970s in the Bronx, New York. Many African hip-hop artists have claimed fame through their talents in the music genre. The artists have broken many walls to get acclaimed on global and continental stages.

20 Afro hip-hop musicians you need to have in your playlist

Afro hip-hop music has become very popular in the continent. If you are a fan of hip hop and rap music, here are 20 hip-hop African artists you should have on your playlist.

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1. Nasty C

Afro music artist
Nasty C at Huawei Joburg Day 2021 with 947 at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre on October 22, 2021 in Midrand, South Africa. Photo: Oupa Bopape
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 11 February 1997
  • Age: 25 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: South Africa
  • Best songs: Phases, Allow, Legendary, SMA, Black and White ft. Ari Lennox, All In, Eazy, Win Some, Loose Some.
  • Active since: 2013

Nasty C, born Nsikayesizwe David Ngcobo, is a record producer and songwriter. The Durban native is one of the best South African hip-hop artists.

Nasty C became the youngest recipient of the Best Freshman Award at the 2015 South African Hip-Hop Award. Other awards in his name include Best Male Artist, Best Male Album, Best Hip-Hop Album, and songwriter of the year.

2. Falz

Famous African hip-hop artists
Recording artist Falz attends the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Frederick M. Brown
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 27 October 1990
  • Age: 31 years old (as of September 2022)
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Best songs: Soft Work, Soldier ft. Simi, Johnny, Bahd Baddo Badges, Hypocrite, This Is Nigeria, Sweet Boy, Bop Daddy, Gentleman.
  • Active since: 2009

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Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz, is a Nigerian rapper, hip hop artist, actor, and songwriter. His music is not just for entertainment, as seen in his single Moral Instruction, speaking against bad governance. The star has won several worthy awards, including Viewer's Choice Best New International Act at the BET 2016.

3. Khaligraph Jones

African hip-hop artists
Photo: @khaligraph_jones on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 13 June 1990
  • Age: 32 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: Kenya
  • Best songs: Testimony, Juu Ya Ngori, Yes Bana ft. Bien, Wavy ft. Sarkodie, Warena, Mbona, Champez, Sifu Bwana ft Nyashinski.
  • Active since: 2009

Khaligraph Jones, most popularly called Papa Jones, is the face of East African hip-hop. He won the Channel O Emcee African Champion in 2014, earning him the title of Kenyan Music Ambassador. The artist faced hardship growing up in Nairobi's Eastlands, which influenced his music career.

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4. Cassper Nyovest

Afro hip-hop music
Cassper Nyovest performs during the June 16 - Youth Day Celebration concert at Time Square Sun Arena on June 16, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: Frennie Shivambu
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 16 December 1990
  • Age: 31 years old (as of September 2022)
  • Country: South Africa
  • Best songs: Tsholofelo, Refileo, Thuto, Sweet and Short, Any Minute Now, Doc Shebeleza, Confused, Refiloe, 4 Steps Back.
  • Active since: 2013

Refiloe Maele Phoolo, affectionately known as Cassper Nyovest, is a South African hip-hop artist and record maker who rose to fame in 2013. The versatile artist has won 47 awards, including the MVP, Hustler of the Year, Best Video, and Best Digital Sales. He also won the Best Male Act in the South African Hip-Hop Awards show.

5. Sarkodie

Afro hip-hop music
Sarkodie performs live on stage at The o2 Kentish Town Forum on November 24, 2017 in London, England. Photo: Ollie Millington
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 10 July 1985
  • Age: 37 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: Ghana
  • Best songs: U Go Kill Me ft EL, Special Someone ft Burna Boy & AKA, Gunshot ft. Davido, Pon Di Ting ft Banky W, Down On One ft Fuse ODG, Dumsor, Original, Adonai, Painkiller.
  • Active since: 2005

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Sarkodie, the Ghanaian wordsmith, is regarded as one of the best hip-hop artists in Africa. He delivers his songs in his native Twi language and Pidgin English.

He has won awards such as the BET award for the Best International Act and BET's Best International Flow artist in 2019. In addition, the hip-hop star was named Artist of the Decade by the Vodafone Ghana Music Award.

6. Olamide

Famous African hip-hop artists
Photo: @olamide on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 15 March 1989
  • Age: 33 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Best songs: Eni Duro, Woske, Science Student, Love No Go Die, Wavy Level, Summer Body ft. Davido, Don't Stop, Wo, Infinity ft. Omah Lay
  • Active since: 2010

Olamide Adedeji, well known as Olamide, is a Nigerian hip-hop recording artist. He started his career in 2010, and in the same year, he performed at The Hip Hop World Awards. He has dominated the airwaves with hit songs like Eni Duro, Melo Melo, and Shakti Bobo.

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Olamide has been nominated for several awards, including Headies 2022. He won Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEAs) 2016 and City People Entertainment Awards. He is arguably one of the most famous African hip-hop artists on the continent.

7. Sho Madjozi

What is African hip-hop music?
Sho Madjozi performs on stage during the 2019 Afropunk Atlanta on October 12, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Marcus Ingram
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 9 May 1992
  • Age: 32 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: South Africa
  • Best songs: Kona, John Cena, Wakanda Forever, Di Hawks, I Like It ft. Darassa, Idhom, Chumvini, Trickshot
  • Active since: 2010

Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif, known professionally as Sho Madjozi, is a South African hip-hop artist, songwriter, and poet. Madjozi integrates the Tsonga culture into her music and is best known for her hit song John Cena. Madjozi performed at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York and appeared at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg.

8. Show Dem Camp (SDC)

  • Country: Nigeria
  • Best songs: Feel Alright ft. Poe & BOJ, Live, Love, Laugh, Eat ft. Sir Dauda, Respect My Name ft. Ikon, Popping ft. BOJ & Odusi
  • Active since: 2009

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Show Dem Camp (SDC) is a hip-hop group comprising Ghost and Tec. The duo was born in Nigeria, but they moved to Europe and back to Nigeria to pursue music. SDC made its musical debut in 2009 and has remained active since then. Their most notable EP, Clone Wars, continues to do well underground.

9. Kwesi Arthur

Afro music artist
Kwesi Arthur poses in the press room at the 2018 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Aaron J. Thornton
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 18 December 1994
  • Age: 27 years old (as of September 2022)
  • Country: Ghana
  • Best songs: Visa, Fever, Adom, Back on the Wall, Don't Keep Me Waiting ft Kidi, Colours, Nobody, Walk, Grind Day, Free, Devil Knocking, Banjo.
  • Active since: 2009

Kwesi Arthur is one of the new artists coming from West Africa. The musician was born in Tema, Ghana. He was the youngest Ghanaian to have a BET nomination for Best New International Act in 2018. He made his music debut in 2016, releasing their first single, Grind Day. His album, Live From Nkrumah Krom, Vol 2: Home Run, released in 2019, offers listeners a spectrum of his gifts.

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10. Octopizzo

Famous African hip-hop artists
Kenyan hip hop artist Henry Ohanga (aka Octopizzo), who hails from Kenya's largest slum Kibera in Nairobi, speaks in a recording studio in Nairobi on January 16, 2018. Photo: Tony Karumba
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 30 April 1983
  • Age: 39 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: Kenya
  • Best songs: Zikishika, Che Che Ft. Barak Jacuzzi, Another Day, Stay, On Top, Something for You, Tergat Gang, Noma Ni, Nu Afrika, Kanya, Babylon, Plus One, Nikupate, Ringa
  • Active since: 2000

Octopizzo is a Kenyan hip-hop artist from Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. He grew up poor and worked his way up, building one of the best hip-hop brands on the continent. He has inspired millions of young people in Kenya and East Africa. His album, Next Year, is a great listen, combining various genres.

11. Don Bigg

South African hip-hop artists
Photo: @donbiggofficial on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 8 October 1983
  • Age: 38 years old (as of September 2022)
  • Country: Morocco
  • Best songs: Lmeryoula, Ihab Amir, Fhamtini Oula La, La3bine ft La Fouine
  • Active since: 1999

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Don Bigg is the top hip hop artist in North Africa, although he is unknown in the English-speaking world. He is famous for his raw and outspoken style, successfully exporting Moroccan hip-hop abroad. He has performed around Europe and the Middle East several times.

12. AKA

Famous African hip-hop artists
Rapper AKA during the DStv Mzansi Viewers Choice Awards (DStvMVCA) event at the Sandton Convention Centre on August 26, 2017 in Sandton, South Africa. Photo: Frennie Shivambu
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 28 January 1988
  • Age: 34 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: South Africa
  • Best music: Alter Ego, Levels, Touch my Blood, Bhovamania
  • Active since: 2002

Kiernan Jarryd, professionally known as AKA, is a record producer and one of the best hip-hop artists in Africa. His 2020 EP, Bhovamania, was received well by fans and critics. In 2014 he released the Alter Ego album, which is one of the best rap albums by an African artist. AKA got nominations for global awards, one being the Best international act in the 2019 BET Awards.

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13. Phyno

Afro hip-hop music
Photo: @phynofino on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 9 October 1986
  • Age: 35 years old (as of September 2022)
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Best songs: NWA, Never, Link Up ft. Burna Boy and MI, Connect, Ojimo, God's Willing, For the Money ft. Peruzzi
  • Active since: 2003

Phyno is a Nigerian hip-hop artist who has a massive following in Nigeria and Africa. He made his debut in the music world in 2003, and his fame soured in the continent the following year.

Phyno consistently uses African language in his music. For example, his biggest hit, Fada Fada featuring Olamide, is purely in Igbo. His use of indigenous language sets him apart from other artists.

14. Roma Mkatoliki

Afro music artist
Photo: @roma_zimbabwe on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 1986
  • Age: 36 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: Tanzania
  • Best songs: Kijiwe Nongwa ft. Nay Wa Mitego, Hivi ama Vile, Parapanda, Kaka Tuchati, Itoke remix ft. Mauasama, Zimbabwe
  • Active since: 2010

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Roma Mkatoliki is a Tanzanian hip-hop artist and is part of the ROSTAM group. Roma hit the waves with his hit Zimbabwe playing on MTV and Channel O. However, the singer became controversial when the government banned his song Kibamia in 2018.

15. MI ABAGA

African hip-hop artists
M.I. Abaga attends as Killer Mike and Martell Cognac Present Martell HOME LIVE Episode One on April 10, 2019 in Yonkers, New York. Photo: Johnny Nunez
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 4 October 1981
  • Age: 41 years old (as of September 2022)
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Best songs: The Guy ft Praiz, Wings, Hold On ft Larry Gaaga, Efya, More Life, The Front Door, The Inside, The Hate, Crazy, Soldier, Oil
  • Active since: 2015

MI Abaga, a hip-hop artist and record producer from Nigeria, rose to stardom in 2006. His songs are energetic, compared to Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Jay-Z. The star won Best Hip-Hop and Best New Act awards at the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards. In 2010, he got nominated in the Best International Act category at the BET Awards.

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16. M.anifest

Afro music artist
Photo: @manifestive on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 20 November 1982
  • Age: 39 years old (as of September 2022)
  • Country: Ghana
  • Best songs: Ez does It, Manifestations, Africa Represent, Asa, Blue, Sunsum Praye, Someway Bi, No Shortcut to Heaven
  • Active since: 2005

Kwame Ametepee Tsikata alias Anifest is a hip-hop artist, rapper, and musician from Ghana. His single Someway Bi got him third place in the International Songwriters Competition in 2015. He also won The Hip-Hop song of the year at the Ghana Music Awards in 2013.

17. Ladipoe

African hip-hop artists
Ladipoe performs onstage during the 15th Annual Headies Awards at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on September 04, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Paras Griffin
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 29 April 1992
  • Age: 30 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Best songs: Know You ft. Simi, Rap Messiah, Feeling ft. Buju
  • Active since: 2014

Ladipo Eso, also known as Poe, is a Nigerian rapper, singer, pianist, and songwriter. He is among the best African hip-hop artists because of his notable works in the music industry. The artist launched his music career in 2014 and quickly rose to the ranks in the music industry. Poe was the first hip-hop artist to be signed by Mavin Records and he is one of the wealthiest artists in Nigeria.

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18. Nadia Nakai

What is African hip-hop music?
Nadia Nakai at the memorial service of Rikhado Muziwendlovu Chifaro Makhado, better known as Riky Rick at Wanderers Cricket Stadium on March 04, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Oupa Bopape
Source: Getty Images
  • Date of birth: 18 May 1990
  • Age: 32 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: South Africa
  • Best songs: MoneyBack, Naaa Meaan ft Cassper Nyovest, The Man ft. Cassper Nyovest, Imma Boss, Amai, Kreature, 40 Bars
  • Active since: 2011

Nadia Nakai Kandava is a South African Zimbabwean hip-hop artist and television personality. She recently starred in Young, Famous & African, a reality show shot in South Africa. She developed a passion for music at a young age. Family Tree Media records released her first song, Money Back.

19. Medikal

South African hip-hop artists
Photo: @amgmedikal on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Date of birth: 4 April 1993
  • Age: 31 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: Ghana
  • Best songs: Confirm ft. Sarkodie, How Much ft. Kwesi Arthur & Ahtitude, Odo ft. King Promise, Street Code, The Target, Nyame
  • Active since: 2014

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Samuel Adu Frimpong, alias Medikal, is a Ghanaian hip-hop artist born in Accra. He got signed by AMG Business record in 2010. The artist has received the most nominations at the 2017 Ghana Music Awards alongside Sarkodie. In addition, his music has gained him international recognition.

20. Jovi

  • Date of birth: 24 October 1983
  • Age: 38 years old (as of 2022)
  • Country: Cameroon
  • Best songs: Pitie, Bush Faller, Devil no Di Sleep, Pissam, Mentality
  • Active since: 2011

Jovi is a Cameroonian hip-hop artist whose real name is Ndukong Godlove Nfor. Although Cameroon is French, Jovi has also gained fans in English-speaking countries. He has collaborated with famous artists like Akon. He has appeared on Trace TV as one of the best 15 African hip-hop artists.

What is African hip-hop music? African hip hop music is a genre that borrows from African Americans who invented it during the early 1970s in the Bronx, New York.

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Afro hip-hop music in the continent has grown tremendously in recent years. This has made African hip-hop artists gain recognition around the globe, where they have performed. The above list is a must-have on your playlist if you are a hip-hop fan.

READ ALSO: Top 30 richest musicians in Nigeria and their net worth 2022

Legit.ng published an article about the richest musicians in Nigeria. Nigeria's music industry is the biggest in the continent and has penetrated most, if not all, African countries. Nigerian artists are performing on global stages in America and Europe, making them make a lot of money.

The wealthiest musicians, including the so-called "rich kids, " work hard to reach the top. However, success in the industry has not been easy and hard work is the key. Most of the wealthiest musicians in Nigeria started at a young age, and over the years, they have become famous and wealthy.

Source: Legit.ng

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