AFRICAN ARTISTS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE REST OF 2022
Nigerian superstars Wizkid & Burna Boy, ennobled the afrobeats genre with their win at the 2021 Grammy Awards (and they were nominated again this year 2022,, though lost this time around). And finally, the Congolese rumba has been added, rightly, to the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO.
This year brought more exposure to the country’s different regional styles and propelled many musical talents onto the international stage.
Here is a small selection, carefully curated for you, for African artists who shone in 2021 and who you should definitely watch closely in 2022!
Roga Roga – Congo-Brazzaville
Roga Roga isn’t really what you would call a new kid on the block. He began his career at the end of the 1980s by forming the group Extra Musica in Brazzaville, with childhood friends and musicians from his parish choir. Extra Musica made a name for themselves playing in small bars and at funerals in the early 90s, before recording their first studio album in 1995. Subsequent albums, combining Rumba, soukouss and Ndombolo, brought success growing at Extra Musica, which notably received the prize for Best Central African Group in 2000 for the album ” Shalaï “. The group broke up at the end of the 2000s, but Roga Roga continued this adventure as a solo artist in 2010, before forming a new group under the pseudonym Roga Roga – Extra Musica, and releasing new songs. in 2018.
It is with this new formation that Roga Roga released their new EP, entitled “Bokoko”. The track of the same name, an Ndombolo hymn supported by a catchy synth line, is an ode to African identity and has been an absolute success throughout the region (and beyond), accumulating more than 9 million views. on YouTube .
Akwaboah – Ghana
In his native Ghana, Gladstorm Kwabena Akwaboah Jr is better known by his stage name, Akwaboah. Son and grandson of legendary highlife musicians, Kwadwo Akwaboah and Kwabena Akwaboah, this singer, songwriter and producer wrote his first songs at the age of 10 and made a name for himself by working with many recognized artists, such as Hugh Masekela, Sarkodie, John Legend and many more. His talent for composition earned him the title of Composer of the Year at the 2010 Ghana Music Awards for “Daa ke Daa”, a song he composed for Ghanaian singer Becca. In 2015, Akwaboah composed 8 tracks and produced a full album for famous rap star Sarkodie .
In 2018, he released his first solo album, ” Matters of the Heart “, a marriage of his favorite genres and influences; highlife, afro-soul, afro-pop and afrobeats. Acclaimed by the public, “Matters of the Heart” earned Akwaboah the Album of the Year award at the 2019 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards .
Akwaboah recently released “Lighthouse,” a highly anticipated new EP in which the highlife musician ventures into afrobeats and r’n’b genres.
Oothentik Zeus – Senegal
When he was a teenager in the Dakar region, Oothentik Zeus loved “Galsen rap”, a nickname given to the Senegalese hip-hop scene. He started rapping in 2013, drawing inspiration from some of Galsen’s greatest rap artists of the past 20 years. He soon formed the duo False Twins Boys with his friend Papay Papam. The group soon broke up, but Oothentik Zeus persevered and released their first solo track, “Future Flow”, in late 2014.
On leaving high school, Oothentik Zeus recorded “Bagno Bagn Beug”, a second solo title which allowed him to get noticed on the local scene. He also multiplied freestyles at Nd Music, the studio of an old school friend, which prompted him to release his first mixtape in 2017.
In 2018, he joined the Deff Music Group label thanks to the beatmaker Omzo Beats and started working with him on a new series of freestyles, called “Saleteel”, which made Oothentik Zeus gain popularity.
Oothentik Zeus released his first solo album “ THIAPATHIOLY ” in 2021. The album topped the charts within a week and is already considered one of the most outstanding galsen rap albums of the decade.
FUL – Cameroon
FUL is a young Cameroonian singer who was discovered at the age of 17, when he made an appearance on the TV show “The Voice Afrique Francophone” in 2017. His incredible interpretation of the classic title Ayé by the American-Nigerian singer Davido allowed him to attract the attention of the four coaches of the show. The Franco-Congolese artist Singuila integrated him into his team and led him to the final.
Unsurprisingly, FUL was the first artist signed by Singuila’s Gc Recordz label. He has also regularly shared the stage with him in recent years. In 2018, Singuila also composed Ful’s first hit, “Elle n’a d’yeux qu’pour moi”, followed by the more Afropop title ” On ne s’entendre pas” in 2019.
FUL released “Spirale Infernale” in November 2021, their first EP consisting of seven very romantic RnB tracks. FUL promises a future full of surprises to his fans, including an album filled with local and international collaborations.
Costa Titch – South Africa
Originally from Nelspruit, a small town in South Africa, Costa Titch is a rapper who started his career as a professional dancer, notably for Cassper Nyovest, a South African hip-hop superstar. If he started his career in rap in 2017, it was the title “Nkalakatha”, released in 2019, which allowed him to attract the attention of the national scene.
Released in 2020, his debut album, “Made In Africa”, won him two South African Hip Hop Awards. Influenced by the American rap scene, this album nevertheless pays a vibrant tribute to the history of South African hip-hop. Costa has indeed invited several local legends and sings in Zulu, Sesotho, English, and Afrikaans. In 2021, he released a project in collaboration with his compatriot AKA, titled “You’re Welcome”.
In early December 2021, Costa released Big Flexa, his first foray into amapiano, a hugely popular musical genre in South Africa that combines deep-house, jazz, lounge music, piano melodies, and kwaito rhythms. The track rose to No. 52 on the Apple Music Dance Charts and racked up more than 1.4 million views on YouTube when it was released.
Bruce Melodie – Rwanda
Rwandan artist Bruce Melodie celebrated his 30th birthday this year in March and the 10th year of a career that extends far beyond the borders of his country.
This famous singer, composer, and RnB producer started singing at an early age, first in his parish choir and then as a backing vocalist for various Rwandan artists. “Ndumiwe”, his first album released in 2013, was an instant success. It was quickly followed in 2014 by an acclaimed second album, titled “Ntundize”.
Over the past eight years, Bruce Melodie has also received numerous awards: The Salax Awards named him Best RnB Artist in 2014 and 2019, as well as Best Male Artist in 2016 and 2019. He also won the 8th season of the Primus Guma Guma Super Star music competition in 2018.
During the summer of 2021, Bruce Melodie released “Katapilla”, a new single which earned him the Best Summer Artist award at the Kiss Summer Awards. “Kataplila” was followed by “Sawa Sawa” (featuring Kenyan rapper Kaligraph Jones).
CEF Tanzy – Angola
Considered a pioneer of trap-zouk music in Angola, CEF Tanzy already has an impressive career behind him at only 35 years old. Influenced by American RnB artists like the Boys II Men and Angolan kizomba stars like Paulo Flores, he learned the guitar and honed his voice in parish choirs, then began composing his tunes, encouraged by his brothers, musicians Tony Laf and A’mosi Just a Label.
After years of working on his music through concerts, CEF Tanzy recorded for the first time in the studio in 2008. He released his first album “Botão de rosa” in 2013 and won the award for Best R&B Singer in Angola Music Awards the same year In 2017, thanks to his album “Cartel d’Amor”, he won two awards: Best Male Voice and Best Modern Music during the same Angola Music Awards.
Filled with emotional instrumental parts, his new album The Coach offers 14 tracks oscillating between zouk and r’n’b, and highlights his vocal abilities. Each single from the album was an instant hit: “Mickael Jackson” (released in 2019) has amassed 6 million views on YouTube, while “Tá Falar Tá Fazer”, featuring Anna Joyce (released in May 2021), reached 3 million views so far.
FIOR DE BIOR – Ivory Coast
With a mysterious and humorous personality, Fior 2 Bior made a name for himself in 2017 thanks to parodies and freestyles published on his Instagram account. This got him noticed by Ariel Sheney, the rising star of coupé-décalé (one of the most beloved musical genres in the country), who invited him to join his label AS Record.
In 2019, Fior 2 Bior released their first single “kpokpopouho soualélé” and surprised all their listeners with this track mixing rap, coupé-décalé, and electronic rhythms influenced by Afro House and kuduro. The young artist then released several hip-hop tracks, in which he demonstrated his rapping abilities. But it was when he returned to electronic sounds in 2021 that his notoriety exploded. First of all, thanks to his appearance on DJ Lewis ‘ afro-quirky-house hit, “Aputchou” (7 million views), but above all thanks to “Gnonmi avec lait”. Released in March 2021, this title gives an irrepressible desire to dance. Produced in collaboration with French rapper Niska, it became one of the most listened to titles of the year in Côte d’Ivoire. The video now exceeds 24 million views on YouTube.
Continuing its momentum, Fior 2 Bior did a mini-tour in Europe, following the success of “Gnonmi avec lait”, and has already released several singles, including “Godo Godo” at the end of 2021. Inspired by the coupé-decalé and of kuduro, the title has accumulated a million views on YouTube in just 10 days. Faced with such enthusiasm, it is obvious that we will hear about Fior 2 Bior in 2022.