Top 10 Young Nigerian Artists 2022 - Future of Afrobeats and African Music


Below is a top 10 list of young and talented Nigerian Musicians, that are prepared to take over the Future of Afrobeat.

This list is based on recent form, achievements, awards & streams (monthly listeners on Spotify and total plays on Audiomack are calculated and based on this post date March 28, 2022).


1. CKay


Chukwuka Ekweani, “CKay”, He is signed to Warner Music South Africa. His international hit single “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)” was released in 2019 under his former label Chocolate City.

CKay is definitely the number one young artist, Love Nwantiti is one of the biggest song to ever come out of Africa, with over 235 million views on YouTube. ‘Love Nwantiti’ also charted number 31 on Billboard Hot 100. CKay is ranked 144th in the world on Spotify, he is also the number one artist in Africa that has over 22 million  monthly Listeners on Spotify and he has over 89 million total plays on Audiomack.


2. Tems


Temilade Openiyi “Tems”, In 2021, she debuts number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 alongside Wizkid & Justin Bieber on the song “Essence” by Wizkid, which also earned her a Grammy nomination. She also earned two US top 40 entries on the Billboard Hot 100, with her collaboration with Drake on the song “Fountains” from his album Certified Lover Boy. 

She currently has over 5 million monthly Listeners on Spotify and over 64 million total plays on Audiomack.


3. Fireboy DML


Adedamola Adefolahan “Fireboy DML”, He is signed to YBNL Nation and EMPIRE. His debut studio album “Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps” was released in 2019, following closely was his second album “Apollo” released in 2020. 

Within a year Fireboy released two super albums that earned him 5 awards at the recently concluded 14th Headies award ceremony 2020 / 2021. They are ‘Album of the year’, ‘Best R&B album’, ‘Best Pop Album’, ‘Headies Revealtion’ and ‘Best R&B Single’. For a first-timer, it was quite an achievement. Also, his global hit song “Peru” which he later featured Ed Sheeran, debuts number 79  on Billboard Hot 100 chart. He currently has  over 10 million monthly Listeners on Spotify and over 379 million total plays on Audiomack.


4. Rema


Divine Ikubor “Rema”, He is currently signed to Mavin / Jonzing records. He rose to prominence with the release of the song “Iron Man”, which appeared on Barack Obama's 2019 summer playlist. He was featured by Drake, though the song has not been officially released.

Rema also released 3 wonderful EPs (Rema, Freestyle & Bad Commando) in 2019. He won Headies ‘Next Rated’ in 2019, while receiving the award he called himself the future of Afrobeat. 2022, Rema dropped his first career album titled “Rave & Roses” which features Chris Brown, 6Lack, AJ Tracey & Yseult. The album has charted in 81 countries on Apple music. He currently has over 5 million monthly Listeners on Spotify and over 207 million total plays on Audiomack.


5. Omah Lay


Stanley Omah Didia “Omah Lay”, He gained widespread recognition in early 2020 after his self-produced single, “Bad Influence”, went viral on social media. He is also known for being featured alongside Alpha P on the official Masterkraft's remix of Justin Bieber's 2021 single, “Peaches”, as well as another collaboration with Justin Bieber on “Attention” in 2022.

He also won the Next Rated award at the 2020 Headies Awards. He currently has over 7 million monthly Listeners on Spotify and over 338 million total plays on Audiomack.


6. Buju (BNXN)


Daniel Benson “BNXN” formerly known as Buju. He was signed to Burna Boy’s Spaceship record label. 2021 to 2022 Buju has been featured in so many hit songs, like ‘Feeling’ by Ladipoe, ‘Cold Outside’ by Timaya, ‘Mood’ by Wizkid & ‘Finesse’ by Pheelz. Buju is presently the rave of the moment and the most featured artist in Nigeria right now, with so many hit songs. 

He currently has over 2 million monthly Listeners on Spotify and over 126 million total plays on Audiomack, within a year.


7. Joeboy


Joseph Akinwale Akinfenwa-Donus “Joeboy”. Mr. Eazi record label “emPawa Africa” discovered him in 2017. He came into existence in the music industry with his hit songs “Baby” & “Beginning” which he released in 2019.

Joeboy won Best Artiste in African Pop at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA). He also won the 2021 Headies ‘Song of the Year’ “Nobody” alongside DJ Neptune & Mr Eazi. He has over 2 million monthly Listeners on Spotify and over 364 million total plays on Audiomack. 


8. Bella Shmurda


Akinbiyi Abiola Ahmed “Bella Shmurda”, He rose to prominence with the release of the song “Vision 2020” remix which he featured Olamide, and a follow-up release of his second hit song “Cashapp”.

2020 to 2021 He also released two EPs “High Tension” & “High Tension 2.0”.  He has over 200 thousand monthly Listeners on Spotify and over 396 million total plays on Audiomack.


9. Zinoleesky


Oniyide Azeez “Zinoleesky”. He is currently signed to Naira Marley’s record label Marlian Music. He released his first EP “Chrome Eccentric” in 2020. 

He has over 400 thousand monthly Listeners on Spotify and over 162 million total plays on Audiomack.


10. Ayra Starr


Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe “Ayra Starr”, She is currently signed to Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records.

In early 2021, Ayra Starr achieved mainstream recognition with her eponymous debut EP ‘Ayra Starr’ and its hit track “Away”, paving the way for the release of her first full-length studio album ‘19 & Dangerous’ in August 2021, with the lead hit single “Bloody Samaritan”.  She has over 1 million monthly Listeners on Spotify and  over 85 million total play on Audiomack.


Conclusion:


Unfortunately Emeka Akumefule “Blaqbonez” and Michael Adebayo Olayinka “Ruger” will not be making this list, obviously it is very hard to fix a spot for them.

They are both promising, outstanding & Intelligent. Blaqbonez has two successful EPs “Bad Boy Blaq & Mr Bombastic” and an album “Sex Over Love”. While Ruger also has two successful EPs “Pandemic & The Second Wave” with great hit songs “Bounce, Dior & Snapchat”. If there was a number like 11 & 12 in the top 10 list, then definitely it should be Blaqbonez & Ruger, cause they are also the future of Afrobeat in Nigeria, Africa and the world.

This list is based on recent form, achievements, streams & awards. Most of these Nigerian Artists when they release a song or an EP / album, it will always chart and trend in other African countries, their music space or platforms like Apple music, Spotify and Audiomack.  Some Nigerian Artists do host successful shows in some African countries, win African awards and also break International records. So trust me when i say these young Nigerian Artists are the future of African Music.