I thought that trying to capture the global reach of African music would be relatively easy. I was expecting a quick Google search to yield a list of songs for me to wade through and choose from. What I didn’t realize is exactly how expansive Africa’s music scene would be. African hip-hop and Afrobeats has impacted the music scene around the globe- from Rwandan born artists living and working in Brussels to South African female artists rapping about John Cena. This mixtape is simply a taste of the diversity African artists have to offer.
- Gum Body by Burna Boy feat. Jorja Smith
I decided to open with a relatively familiar artist, if you pay attention to the African music scene. Burna Boy, a Nigerian-born artist has recently been making tidal waves with hits like “Ye” and “Odogwu”. “Gum Body” does not fall short of this list, and he teamed up with Jorja Smith, another up-and-coming artist from the United Kingdom. The pair created an easy, danceable hit perfect for new and old afrobeat lovers.
2. “Solo” by Lous and the Yakuza
Lous and the Yakuza most definitely ranks top 5 with this French-language. Even if you don’t understand French, the song is more than pleasant on the ears and a joy to listen to. While she grew up splitting time between Rwanda and the Congo, Lous and the Yakuza is based out of Brussels, where she moved to try and pursue her passion with music. Still on the rise, “Solo” is one of her more recent and popular songs, landing her squarely on the top of my list.
3. “Redemption” by Kendrick Lamar feat. Babes Wodumo
The release of the Marvel classic “Black Panther” marked a noticeable shift in the consumption of black art and music, and what exemplified this the most was it’s impressive soundtrack. I pulled one of my personal favorites into this playlist. “Redemption is an up-tempo hit by American rapper Kendrick Lamar and South African artist Babes Wodumo. While the song didn’t quite make an appearance in the movie, it’s impression on the soundtrack was a big one, and it became a fan favorite rather quickly.
4. “Black Times” by Seun Kuti feat. Carlos Santana
Seun Kuti, son of hailed Nigerian artists Fela Kuti, does not fail to disappoint with this one. “Black Times”, released in 2017, is an artful call to rise for the black community. His partnership with Carlos Santana, infamous Mexican-American artist, helps to give the song an added musical boost. One of my personal favorites, it takes the 4th place on the global tour list.
5. “John Cena” by Sho Madjozi
I decided to close out the mixtape with this update banger by South African artist Sho Madjozi. At 27 years old, she’s widely regarded as one of the best performers in Africa. Her tasteful performances manage to incorporate the Tsonga culture, from her music to her public image. “John Cena” is an fun, upbeat song that hilariously uses John Cena as a reference for how “rough” or “buff” people want to get towards her. It was almost perfect when, while she was performing on the Kelly Clarkson Show, she was surprised mid-song with John Cena popping up behind her. See the great surprise below!