Top 20 Nigerian Music Artists
Nigeria is home to some of Africa’s top musicians. This has been made possible by the abundance of talent and Nigerian musicians’ capacity to experiment with sound, collaborate with international artists, and create unique music videos.
So, choosing the twenty top Nigerian musicians without bias is difficult given the plethora of recognized performers in various genres across Nigeria, but here we are. The following is a list of the top twenty Nigerian musicians at the forefront of Afrobeats regarding awards and recognitions, notable releases, fan base, and global reach.
Table of Contents
Davido is a well-known musician, composer, and producer. Omo Baba Olowo, Davido’s debut track, did not garner much notice. However, Dami Duro, his second hit from the same album, made him known to the general public. Omo Baba Olowo, A Good Time, A Better Time, and the most recent release, Timeless, are among the artist’s four studio albums.
Davido launched Davido Music Worldwide (D.M.W.) to sign and support other musicians in Nigeria. The Headies Next Rated Award and the B.E.T. Best in International Act Award are two of the 29 accolades that Davido has won. His popular songs and albums have additionally gotten numerous nominations for various awards.
2. Burna Boy
Burna is a singer, rapper, and songwriter. The musician is particularly well-known for his afro-fusion style, which incorporates the musical genres of Afro rhythms, reggae, dancehall, rap, and R&B. The LeriQ-produced 2012 single “Like to Party” served as his breakthrough song and opened the door for his full-length debut, L.I.F.E, the following year. Burna put out two more albums during the following five years and worked with a variety of musicians.
The full-length Twice as Tall, which Burna released in August 2020, became his biggest charting album, peaking at number 54 on the Billboard 200 and performing even better in Europe and Canada. It subsequently won a Grammy for Best Global Music Album.
Wizkid is well known for spreading Afro beats globally and sounding similar to Fela Kuti’s musical style. The iconic singer has released five studio albums: Superstar, Ayo, Sounds from the Other Side, Made in Lagos, and More Love, Less Ego. With 65 awards, Wizkid remains the most decorated Nigerian musician.
More B.E.T. awards have been given to Wizkid than any other African performer. Additionally, he appeared in Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl, which received a Grammy in 2021. Wizkid has solidified his position by applying consistency over the years.
Nigerian singer, songwriter, and rapper Divine Ikubor, better known by his stage name Rema, was born on May 1, 2000. When the song “Dumebi” was released, he became famous. With Jonzing World, a division of Mavin Records, he inked a record deal in 2019. Rema revealed in May 2021 that he would be calling his style “Afrorave,” a subgenre of Afrobeats with influences of Arabian and Indian music. As a result, he has one of the nation’s most devoted fan bases, known as Ravers.
Rema’s debut as a brand ambassador took place in September 2021 when he got into a contract with the beverage giant Pepsi. He is the only African musician with the highest peaking song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That’s pretty nuts for a newbie.
Ahmed Ololade, better known by his stage name Asake, was born in Nigeria on January 13, 1995. He has a distribution contract with Empire Distribution and a recording contract with YBNL Nation. His stage name is a tribute to his mother, Asake, who has the first name. Asake frequently uses fast-paced Afro and Amapiano production. Although he had already begun releasing songs in 2018, his musical career advanced when he dropped the single “Mr. Money” in 2020.
His debut album, “Mr. Money with the Vibe,” later broke numerous world records. In addition, Asake received the Male MVP honor at the Soundcity MVP Awards, hosted at the Eko Convention Center in Lagos in February 2023.
Temilade Openiyi, often known as Tems, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter born on June 11, 1995. She gained prominence after being a part of Wizkid’s 2020 single “Essence,” which peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after the release of the remix version starring Justin Bieber. She received a Grammy nomination for the song.
Future sampled Tems’ voice from her song “Higher” for his single “Wait for U” in 2022, which resulted in her being listed as a featured artist with Drake on the song. As a result, she became the first African artist to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and the second Nigerian artist to top the chart when it debuted at the top of the chart.
7. Kizz Daniel
Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe, better known by his stage name Kizz Daniel, was born in Nigeria on May 1, 1994. In 2014, his debut song “Woju” helped him gain popularity. Kiss Daniel was his previous stage name before he changed it in May 2018.
In 2013, he agreed to a record deal with G-Worldwide Entertainment, but he later parted ways with the label after a highly publicized legal battle and contract dispute. In November 2017, he established the record company Fly Boy Inc.
8. Tiwa Savage
Tiwatope Savage, also known as Tiwa Savage, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress born on February 5, 1980. She has been dubbed the Queen of Afrobeats. She started as a backup singer for performers like Mary J. Blige and George Michael.
Savage joined Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 2009 after finishing her studies at Berklee College of Music and competing on The X Factor UK. Savage relocated back to Nigeria and signed with Mavin Records in 2012 after being motivated by the expansion of the Nigerian music industry.
9. Ayra Starr
Ayra Starr, a Nigerian singer/songwriter, achieved national fame in 2021 by releasing her debut album, 19 & Dangerous, which featured the number-one single “Bloody Samaritan.” When she was signed to Don Jazzy’s well-known Mavin Records label, she spent most of the following year working with musicians like Ladipoe, Kelly Rowland, and Magixx while releasing solo hit singles like “Sability” and “Rush.”
Victony, born Anthony Ebuka Victor on January 5, 2001, is a Nigerian singer, rapper, and composer. Davido, Wizkid, M.I., and Falz were some artists who inspired him as a child. He is a member of Nigeria’s Mainland BlockParty and Jungle Records record labels.
He published the song “Pray” after being involved in a vehicle accident, and the year 2021 began with it being popular. However, he received his most significant break when he collaborated with Mayorkun on the “Holy Father” song in October 2021.
One of Nigeria’s top hip-hop recording artists is Olamide. He sings and raps in both English and Yoruba. Many Nigerian followers of the superstar rapper refer to him as the Street King because he first released street tunes. After releasing Omo To Shan from his debut album, Rapsodi, Olamide gained notoriety in 2011.
The Nigerian hip-hop musician has received 22 honors from the Nigerian Entertainment Honors, B.E.T. Awards, The Headies, and others. Additionally, he is the founder of YBNL nation, home to Afrobeats artists, Asake and Fireboy DML.
12. Fireboy DML
With the release of his debut album, Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps, in 2019, Nigerian artist Fireboy DML achieved breakthrough success. He expertly blended lush Afrobeats with R&B swagger. Before the release of his 2020 follow-up, Apollo, songs like “Jealous” and “Vibrations” helped him become well-known, but it was the Ed Sheeran collaboration “Peru” and its 2022 parent album, Playboy that helped him gain wide-spread recognition throughout the world.
Nigerian Afro-pop singer Joeboy, who had been making waves since his 2019 breakout single “Baby,” solidified his reputation by releasing his 2021 debut album, the forward-thinking and expertly crafted Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic.
Joeboy, whose real name is Joseph Akinwale Akinfenwa, was born and raised in Lagos and immersed himself in music while a student, listening to international hip-hop, trap, R&B, rock, and pop. His first break came after he released a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” to social media. Banku pioneer Mr. Eazi saw the post and signed him to the emPawa Africa project.
Nigerian Afrobeat musician and songwriter Michael Adebayo Olayinka, better known by his stage name Ruger, was born on September 23, 1999. Ruger and D’Prince “Jonzing World Record” agreed to a recording agreement in 2021 that included publishing and distribution deals with Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment’s U.K. division. His first EP, Pandemic, was made available on March 4, 2021. “Afrodancehall,” which combines dancehall and Afrobeats, is how Ruger referred to his music.
15. Omah Lay
Nigerian singer and musician Stanley Omah Didia, better known by his stage as Omah Lay, debuted in 2020 with a vibrant Afro-fusion sound incorporating pop, R&B, hip-hop, and highlife. Boy Alone, his debut album, was released in 2022. He had some success in 2019, creating and producing songs for other singers before releasing two of his tracks, “Do Not Disturb” and “Hello Brother,” which attracted KeyQaad’s attention and led to an offer of a record deal.
Tekno is a hip-hop and R&B musician from Nigeria. The musician studied music at a music school, where he mastered the piano and guitar. After he released Duro, he attained notoriety in Nigeria and other countries. Tekno, however, was forced to take a leave of absence in 2018 due to voice chord damage.
The 30-year-old artist has launched popular tracks since his comeback. He was named Best New Act and Best Pop Extra Video at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards and the 9th Nigeria Music Video Awards.
When the catchy “Away” off his 2020 Oxygene EP gained some attention in both his native Nigeria and North America, afro-fusion musician Oxlade had been steadily ascending for several years. Nevertheless, he persisted in putting in a lot of effort, producing a ton of smooth and rhythmic R&B-infused singles and a follow-up EP, 2021’s Eclipse, before shooting to fame with the massive 2022 smash “Ko Lu Sa,” which peaked at number one in multiple countries.
P-Square, a massively popular Nigerian sibling pop group, became well-known for its upbeat R&B, hip-hop, and dance-oriented style. P-Square gained popularity when it first appeared in the early 2000s. Their albums Get Squared 2005, Game Over 2007, and Danger 2009 all achieved platinum status and produced singles.
They collaborated with rapper T.I. in 2014 for the song “Ejeajo” from the album Double Trouble. Before splitting up in 2016, they also appeared as personalities on the reality competition series Dance with Peter. However, the brothers put their differences aside and reconnected as a musical team in 2021.
Early in the 2020s, Nigerian Afrobeat musician, songwriter, and producer CKay experienced breakthrough success when his song “Love Nwantiti” went viral across the globe. A remixed version with Joeboy and Kuami Eugene, first made available on his 2019 EP CKay the First, became a huge hit in Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, India, and the United Kingdom. It also cracked the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. In addition, it became popular in France, Germany, and Latin America thanks to additional remixes. Early in 2021, CKay released his third EP, Boyfriend, amid this surge in fame. A successful first album followed this.
20. Yemi Alade
Yemi Alade, an Afro-pop singer and songwriter from Nigeria, won the renowned Peak Talent Show in 2009. Later that year, after winning the widely publicized Peak competition, she released her debut single, “Fimisile.” The 2014 release of her debut album, King of Queens, featured the 2013 international hit single “Johnny,” which was produced through a contract with the Effyzzie Music Group.
The album’s reggae, R&B, rap, and Afro-pop blend included several collaborations between renowned producers and special guests, including Phyno and Chidinma. Mama Africa, her follow-up album, came out in 2016 with the singles “Do as I Do” and “Ferrari.” Mama Afrique, a companion EP, was released in 2017.
Alade performs in English, Igbo, Pidgin, Yoruba, French, Swahili, and Portuguese. She is known as “Mama Africa” for her diversity in using many African languages and dress in her songs and music videos. Her music has impacted many African countries and the rest of the world.