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Top 30 Most Influential Artists In Africa (2023)

The most influential artists in Africa will be decided by their ability to blaze the trail- to start something which will become a trend, and which more artists will follow. That is, after all how to measure influence- one’s ability to shape other’s opinions and decisions.

It could be the style of music and dance, the dress sense, or even the style of marketing and production. An influential artist should be able to start a trend, and make others follow his style of doing things.

Africa has never been short of talent since the days of Fela Kuti and Papa Wemba. It is surely interesting to see those who are filling those shoes today.

Top 30 Most Influential Artists In Africa

 1. Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo is a blessing to Africa; this is the most influential musician in Africa by miles. She is a uniting force for the continent; a fact proven by performing in various African languages including Fon and Yoruba, and also singing in English and French.

Her influence is felt at the United Nations, and in every meaningful organization of the world. She has won the highest music accolades including the Grammy (3 times) and the Polar Music prize which no African has previously won. She has been honored with the rank of Legion of Honor (the highest Merit Award in France), she has also gained similar awards from Luxembourg and Italy.

Forbes Afrique put Kidjo on the cover of their “100 most influential women” issue in 2015, while Times Magazine included her in the Times 100 list for 2021. She is a vocal human rights advocate.

2. Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti is a legendary afro beat musician by his own right; and he is also the son of the man who invented the genre of music Fela Kuti. Femi Kuti is featured on the popular video game Grand Theft Auto IV; he is the radio host.

His rise to prominence began when he joined his father’s Egypt 80 band back in the early 80’s. Armed with the experience he gained, he went ahead to start his own band; the Positive Force back in 1986. Since then he has never wavered as a musical force, and as a social voice, clamoring for the interests of the people.

Femi Kuti has received 6 Grammy Nominations during his career; and he added another one recently for a collaboration with his son Made Kuti. He has received the award of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.

His is one of the strongest voices in Nigeria; his influence cuts across all social strata; and he is a rallying signal for the people.

3. Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a south African music legend; she ruled the airwaves during the late 80’s and early 90’s and even without the technology that is available today, her songs were extremely popular not just in her country but across the continent.

Some of her songs done in the 80’s are still wildly popular today- a thing that is rarely seen in the world of music, and that has been accomplished by very few people. She has taken African music to the world stage; she has performed in even the farthest corners of Europe.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka has since seen the value of using her popularity and influence as a force for good; she is a humanitarian of repute. She is a champion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and malaria. She is also the United Nations Envoy for Africa, as well as an ambassador for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.

She has been named among the top 100 influential women in the world, and has done special performances for top world leaders including former presidents sitting at the world economic forum.

4. Koffi Olomide

Koffi Olomide is from DR Congo; and he is easily the biggest musician in Central Africa. He founded the band Quartier Latin International; which produced top stars such as Fally Ipupa and Ferre Gola.

Perhaps the biggest thing he got right at the beginning of his career was choosing Koffi Olomide as his stage name; which granted him instant access to the audiences of Ghana, Nigeria, Benin republic, Togo, and Ivory Coast. He has been immensely popular as a musician, and he is one of those who have taken African music to the height it enjoys presently.

Koffi Olomide has performed in every meaningful arena in any place in the world where music is appreciated; he has blazed the trail and made Soukous Music popular around the world. Musicians in this genre owe him a great deal.

5. Wiz kid

Wizkid has risen to this height of popularity and influence through an abundance of natural talent, and a lifelong value of hard work. He was brought into the music scene by former boss Banky W, as a small boy with a big dream, but now he has even exceeded that dream.

Wizkid has been in the fore front of Nigerian music for the past ten years; he took the baton from Tu face Idibia, and while his reign is being challenged by Burna Boy, it doesn’t look like he is ready to hand over to anyone just yet.

He has performed at all the top arenas in the world, and has sold out most of them. He has collaborated with many international artists, and has won a Grammy with Beyoncé for the 2021 song Brown Skin Girl.

His social influence has been an unexpected force to deal with for despotic rulers who wish to grind the people beneath their heels; when Wizkid calls the people answer.

6. Burna Boy

Damini Ogulu, A.K.A Burna Boy is a versatile Nigerian artist on a level is difficult to find anywhere in the world. His versatility is evident in the fact that he changes genres from Afro Pop to R&B to Dance Hall to Techno with remarkable ease.

After conquering the Nigerian air waves he turned his attention to the global audience. He adapted his sound to better suit international audiences, and he delivered scintillating performances on stage.

One Grammy Award later, he is arguably the biggest name in Nigerian music, and his influence cuts across Nigerians and Africans in diaspora. He is one of the most sought after musicians in this generation; foreign artists line up to feature him.

7. Davido

David Adeleke is a Nigerian hip hop, Afro Pop, and R&B musician. He has been one of those at the top of the entertainment industry for nearly ten years.

Davido was one of those among the present crop of musicians to take African music international by featuring American artists so as to gain air play in America. He featured Akon and then Chris Brown, and almost won a Grammy in the process.

He has performed in prestigious arenas in London and America, and has won numerous awards both locally and internationally.

He has used his voice for good by resisting unpopular government policies, and fighting for justice and social change.

8. Olamide Badoo

Olamide Badoo is a Nigerian rapper and singer, famous for his use of his native Yoruba Language, as well as for energetic performances in English and Pidgin.

He has been extremely popular because his music appeals to the masses, regardless or education or social status. His music is seem as street music, but interestingly, he has taken that street music to every corner of the Globe.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Olamide Badoo is how he has created a Movement with his music; YBNL Nation is his record label and he has built the careers of so many young artists. In fact, Olamide Badoo is the preferred mentor for any young artist who has any sense, and who wants to do well in music.

9. Sarkodie

Sarkodie is a Ghanaian rapper who is famous for his energetic style of rap which he does in his native Twi Language, and also in West African Pidgin, and also English.

To be clear, Sarkodie is the most popular rapper in West Africa, and one of the most popular on the continent. However, this post is not about popularity, but influence; which is why he is at the 9th position.

Sarkodie is one of the most awarded musicians in Africa, and he is one of those whose music artistry has touched every corner of Africa and beyond. He has performed in all the top arenas in the world, and is a known Champion of African music.

10. Don Jazzy

Don Jazzy is first a record producer and second a record executive before he is an artist; but he is an undisputed heavyweight in music. Don Jazzy rose to prominence in the early 2000’s with D Banj and Mohits Music, and even though that label no longer exists, his popularity has actually increased.

Don Jazzy has been instrumental to the careers of several top artists including Tiwa Savage and Wande Coal, both of whom have come certified international artists.

Don Jazzy is the CEO of Mavin Music; one of Nigeria’s finest music groups, with a host of young talents that can only be challenged by Olamide Badoo’s YBNL Nation. Don Jazzy is an astute talent manager and event planner; he works wonders for talent exposure, and he is certainly among the very top in his business anywhere in the world.

The following is a more complete presentation of the 30 most influential musicians in Africa, as well as their countries of origin.

Rank Artist Country Region
1 Angelique Kidjo Benin Republique West Africa
2 Femi Kuti Nigeria West Africa
3 Yvonne Chaka Chaka South Africa Southern Africa
4 Koffi Olomide Congo Central Africa
5 Wizkid Nigeria West Africa
6 Burna Boy Nigeria West Africa
7 Davido Nigeria West Africa
8 Olamide Badoo Nigeria West Africa
9 Sarkodie Ghana West Africa
10 Don Jazzy Nigeria West Africa
11 P Square Nigeria West Africa
12 Tu Face Nigeria West Africa
13 Fally Ipupa Congo Central Africa
14 Awilo Longongba Congo Central Africa
15 M. I Nigeria West Africa
16 Master KG South Africa Southern Africa
17 Kasper Nyovest South Africa Southern Africa
18 Nasty C South Africa Southern Africa
19 Diamond Platinumz Tanzania East Africa
20 Black Coffee South Africa Southern Africa
21 Alikiba Tanzania East Africa
22 Tiwa Savage Nigeria West Africa
23 Naira Marley Nigeria West Africa
24 Lady Jaydee Tanzania East Africa
25 Zlatan Nigeria West Africa
26 Stonebwoy Ghana West Africa
27 Ice Prince Nigeria West Africa
28 Mafikizolo South Africa Southern Africa
29 Samini Ghana West Africa
30 Flavour Nigeria West Africa



The most influential artists in Africa have grown through the ranks; they have first established themselves as musical giants, and then drawing on the popularity they have gained, they grow in influence not just within their countries but on the continent, and then globally.

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