Photo: Alex Loucas
The Best Afrobeats Songs Right Now
Featuring tracks from Burna Boy, Crayon, KiDi, Adekunle Gold, King Promise, Xenia Manasseh, Diamond Platnumz and more.
Afrobeats is one of the biggest cultural movements in the world. Influencing everything from fashion to sports, the music acts as the adhesive, catching on to listeners of all demographics and shaping the scene in Africa with great potential. With the growing number of new Afrobeats releases every month, it becomes necessary to round up the best of the bunch. From singles to new music videos, the continent’s vast expanse will be covered in our "Best Afrobeats Songs Out Right Now" column. Get started below.
Burna Boy "Big 7"
After completing his Love Damini Tour, which began last year, Burna Boy now has the time to release new music. The Nigerian afro-fusion star has hit incredible creative highs in the past half-decade, positioning himself as a global act whose ease with switching between genres has been his defining trait. On the just-released “Big 7,” the artist goes full hip-hop on a summery production that sounds straight from the '90s. Having announced the title of his forthcoming album as I Told Them, the artist is coasting with confidence and this song exquisitely captures that vibe.
Crayon "Ngozi" ft. Ayra Starr
A famed purveyor of bright afropop melodies, Crayon has been on a steady ascent over the years. From imprinting his unique skillset on a section of Nigerian listeners to courting international audiences, it’s a particularly bubbly time for the Mavin Records act. He’s recently put out his debut album, the emotively titled Trench to Triumph, and a striking standout is this duet with label mate Ayra Starr. Their voices melding into each other and sweet, articulated desires sung with palpable ease, it’s a song that makes a strong impression on first listen.
KiDi "Likor" ft. Stonebwoy
Honey-toned KiDi is one of Africa’s brightest lights, a true musician in every sense of the word. The consistent artist reminds his burgeoning fan base again of his talent, on this seductive record with fellow Ghanaian, Stonebwoy. “Likor” is sung in description of seeking highs, an escape out of tortured love. Both artists are in impeccable form: KiDi’s svelte vocals delivering the bittersweet emotions felt in the chorus, while Stonebwoy’s huskier frame melts into vulnerability as he bemoans failed relationships over the warm production.
Adekunle Gold "Soro"
Off Adekunle's fifth album, Tequila Ever After, comes this career-high record. “Soro” reveals Adekunle Gold at his most confident, floating over the lo-fi tinged production with mastery and precision. Even though he’s flitting across topics with the ease of a connoisseur, his pen keeps all the several parts together, his vocals barely straining to pass his message. He compares himself with the highlife legend Chief Osita Osadebe, and hearing the grandiose movement of his rhythm, it’s hard to disagree.
South African singer Tyla has a penchant for sensitivity. Her songs embody her femininity with natural ease, as she sings about topical issues while pushing the genre. “Water” is a combination of afropop, amapiano and afrobeat, the Fela Kuti influence gleaned in the utilization and atmosphere of crowd vocals. She sings of desire, her cadences moving with the watery quality of classic R&B, and how effortlessly these sounds come together testifies to her ability as a brilliant pop musician.
Blaqbonez "Like Ice Spice"
Known for capturing the zeitgeist with his songs, Blaqbonez has again struck gold. The Nigerian act had embarked on a stirring promotional run for “Ice Spice” before its release, but in the aftermath, the song’s quality is audible with every listen. Describing the intense moments he shares with a girl who’s likened to the American superstar the song is named after, it’s a thrill of a record, playful yet sexy and teasing. Blaqbonez’s flow oscillates between conventional afropop techniques and patois, finely layered over the reggaeton inspired production.
King Promise "Terminator" ft. Young Jonn
Since making his entry into the scene, King Promise has delivered a consistent resume of hits. With the “Terminator (Remix),” he’s primed to continue that run, after the song’s original had caught on amidst social audiences and in real spaces. The song’s sugary quality is tempered by the heft of its amapiano drums, as both artists unfurl lyrics and self-confidence and looking out for oneself. It’s a wise song with a catchy hook, and there’s no doubt it would explode both artists to fitting highs in their yet-ascendant careers.
Xenia Manasseh "Anticipate" ft. Karun
Kenyan heavyweights Xenia Manassaeh and Karun collaborate for this iconic record. Sharing a sonic base of R&B, both artists color the record with an urgent but cool sensibility, singing about the innocence of love and what it means for it to be shattered, its pristine vision replaced with more sinister images. “Will you go back there with me?” they sing over the electronic-charged synths, the tension building around them as they plow through the confusion seeking clarity.
Over the years, afropop hasn’t had many musicians with the dynamism of Ruger. Although primarily drawing from the Dancehall tradition, he’s able to move beyond its zesty quality, offering alternate visions of his artistry. As the release of his debut album Ru The World winds closer, the Nigerian act has been oiling the wheels of that moment. “Kristy” works in that role, a sweet tune suffused with a vulnerability Ruger has seldom shown on wax before. He’s in love and in eager display of it, spinning praises in honor of a love interest’s beauty, while the mellow production amplifies the atmosphere, a conduit into intimate moments.
Diamond Platnumz "My Baby" ft. Chike
Tanzanian veteran Diamond Platnumz has delivered countless hits over the years, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. On “My Baby,” the immaculately stringed bongo flava sound inspires the lovely direction of the songwriting, while the feature of Chike only serves to color the record with more sensitivity. It’s a heartwarming record that seems primed to make an impression on wedding organizers and DJs, while the catchy quality of its sections could also be eagerly adapted by TikTok users.
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