This year is serving up some serious tunes from some of your favourite artistes on the continent, with memorable moments and there is more to come.
From West to East and Southern Africa, music across the continent has been rich in sound and quality since the turn of the year and the Pulse Music Writers across Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya with help from South Africa has got you covered.
In no particular order, we have compiled a list of 20 songs that have got Africa grooving so far in 2018 featuring some of the biggest songs since the start of the year.
ALSO READ: Here are the 15 biggest songs of 2018 so far
Sauti Sol – ‘Short N Sweet’ feat. Nyashinski (Kenya)
Sauti Sol is a Kenyan afro-pop band formed in Nairobi by vocalists Bien-Aimé Baraza, Willis Chimano and Savara Mudigi in 2005. Initially an Acapella group, then they were joined by guitarist Polycarp Otieno, to complete the quartet called Sauti Sol.
They released the song ‘Short N Sweet’ in May and it immediately grew into one of the biggest songs in the region.
”Short N Sweet”, is a love collaboration with Nyanshinski and is accompanied by a lovely video that has been viewed over 5M times on Youtube since it was released.
Harmonize – ‘Kwangqaru’ Feat. Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)
Tanzanian singer, Harmonize teams up with his label boss, Wasafi Record and award winning Diamond Platnumz on this heavy joint.
‘Kwangqaru’ is a brilliantly delivered East African combination that blends a mix of Swahili and Yoruba languages to give it a really classy sound.
Sauti Sol – ‘Melanin’ Feat. Patoranking (Kenya)
Released late last year, but fully burned the charts at the beginning of 2018, leading Kenyan group, Sauti Sol team up with Nigeria’s Patoraking on this mellow joint that appreciates the beauty of the African woman.
‘Melanin’ is one joint that will have you falling in love with the dark skin colour of an African lady.
Diamond Platnumz – ‘Iyena’ Feat. Rayvanny (Tanzania)
Diamond Platnumz is one of those artists from East Africa whose music has successfully transcended beyond the region and made himself a household name even in Nigeria.
The talented singer teams up with Rayvanny and the duo provide us with another anthem to give our wedding playlist the perfect vibe.
Vinka – ‘Chips Na Ketchup 4K’ (Uganda)
Swangz Avenue’s member and fast rising singer, Vinka continues her solid run with ‘Chips Na Ketchup 4K’.
The dancehall joint serves as a follow up to her hit single, ‘Love Doctor’, and sees the talented artist topping charts and stamping her name across the continent.
ALSO READ: Here are the 10 best videos of 2018 so far
West Africa (Nigeria)
Wizkid – ‘Soco’ feat Terri, Ceeza Milli and Spotless
Wizkid calls ‘Soco’, the song of the year, and judging by the reaction you get every time the song is played, he may just be right.
Soco which features members of his Starboy imprint is every the anthem at every Nigerian event.
Davido – ‘Assurance’
Fresh from winning the Song of the Year and Artist of the year awards at the Headies 2018, Davido who has regained top form since his back to basics deft move released Assurance with the surrounding drama of unveiling his girlfriend, Chioma, scored another hit that will surely see him win more end of the year awards.
Assurance grew into more than a song, it became a part of our daily prayers, a pop culture word and a trending topic for months.
Wizkid x Duncan Mighty – ‘Fake Love’
For someone, Wizkid regards as a legend, it is no surprise to see the collaboration between the duo grow into one of the biggest songs this year.
‘Fake Love’ is the near perfect piece as Duncan Mighty proves that despite being off the scene for a while, he hasn’t skipped a musical beat.
Olamide – ‘Science Student’
Olamide released a dance machine with this song that also generated some controversy upon its release.
‘Science Student’ is created to take your dance skills to the next level, with the music craftily engineered to help you lose your home training, and it again proves Olamide’s consistent hit-making prowess.
Burna Boy – ‘Ye’
When Nigerians begin to demand that a song is identified as the next national anthem, then you know that the song is a near classic, if not one already.
To Burna Boy’s music, there are layers that are almost not unravelled at first listen, and Ye provides that mystic feel of drawing you into a corner at Fela’s Shrine on a Friday night.
”Ye”, borrows heavily from the late Abami Eda, Fela Anikulapo Kuti‘s, ‘Sorrow, Tears and Blood’, and is brilliant music that is addictive with every listen.
ALSO READ: Pulse Editors Pick – Top songs of 2018
Guilty Beatz – ‘Akwaaba’ feat. Mr Eazi, Pappy Kojo & Patapaa
After taking inspiration from a South African vibe, "Gwara Gwara", mixed with a pinch of Naija flavour, Guilty Beatz went hard on ‘Akwaaba’ (Welcome) song to make it addictive.
Patapaa added more contrast to the song with his viral phrase “Wobete pat pat kelenken”. Whereas Pappy Kojo took over the chorus and finally the ladies man, Mr Eazi, did his magic.
Considering the epic and ground-breaking viral dance videos accompanying the fast tempo Afrobeats song, it was an instant hit.
Shatta Wale – ‘Gringo’
"Gringo" is so far the most talked about song in 2018. Shatta Wale proved himself to the world he is ‘large and in-charge’.
Nobody expected this monster piece from the SM boss, a Ghanaian in Mexico singing with a Jamaican accent. The video is creative. The costuming, settings, lyrics is lit plus the quality is loud. Guess what? He developed his own concept for the video and that’s the reason why the song blew up instantly.
Yaa Pono – ‘Obia Wone Master’ feat. Stonebwoy
Many people labelled the song as a diss song to Shatta Wale following the heated beef between Yaa Pono and Shatta Wale last year.
During their beef, they fired back at each other with hit songs but the latest from Yaa Pono is one of the hottest jam in 2018 so far.
“Why you dey disrespect, when you for give respect”, a verse from Stonebwoy got people talking for weeks, fueling the songs rise on the charts.
Kuami Eugene – ‘Confusion’
Ghana and Ghanaians in the diaspora came to a standstill when Kuame Eugene released "Angela" in 2017. Now, he is getting people ‘confused’ about his enviable talent with his latest banger, "Confusion".
He is making airwaves across the length and breadth of the country with the Afrobeats single. No wonder he has been named ‘Chris Brown‘ of Ghana music.
King Promise – ‘CCTV’ feat. Mugeez & Sarkodie
1.5 million YouTube views in just a week should tell how well King Promise has been embraced by music lovers.
"CCTV" simply informs us about God’s continuous protection, care and love. Having the likes of Mugeez and Sarkodie on the song gave it a complete package.
Prince Kaybee – ‘Club Controller’ (remix) feat. TNS x LaSoulmates, Zanda Zakuza, Bucie, Mpumi, Ziyon, Busiswa, Nokwazi and Naak MusiQ
Prince Kaybee assembled some of South Africa’s biggest house music stars on the remix to his chart-topping hit “Club Controller”.
The song has too many moving parts, and can get jarring, but it’s a fire starter of note, and one that keeps the listener engaged with every successive verse.
Sjava – ‘Abangani’ feat. Emtee & Saudi
Sjava, Emtee and Saudi tell stories of their humble beginnings on this flawless collaboration as they attribute their survival to friendship.
Sjava’s signing references the South African genres, mbhaqanga and maskandi, and he sounds like butter over modern production, and Emtee’s verse is one for the books.
Sun-El Musician – ‘Bamthathile’ feat Mlindo
“Bamthathile” blends house music with Afropop and Afrosoul seamlessly. The song, which is about love gone wrong, portrays emotion, and boasts a catchy hook that makes the song in that it’s sad, but still danceable.
Cassper Nyovest – ‘Ksazoba Lit’
Cassper Nyovest takes inspiration from Migos’, Offset on “Ksazoba Lit” .
Artistically, the song is nothing to write home about, but it does its job, and that’s turning the party up, racking up the numbers, topping charts and the video is brilliant.
AKA – ‘Sweet Fire’
“Sweet Fire” is a staple on South African radio, and it’s not hard to tell why. The song ticks all the boxes for a pop radio hit, it is themed around relationships, samples a classic, and is catchy.
AKA’s breakout with his media personality, Bonang Matheba gave him the right energy to score a hit.
Contributors: Martin Wachira (Kenya), David Mawuli (Ghana)