Why you should care
Because these artists have millions of fans, even if you haven’t heard of them.
When it comes to pop music in Africa, Nigeria dominates (sorry, Kenya), and if a song is popular in Lagos or Abuja, there’s no doubt it’s also blasting from matatus in Nairobi, clubs in Cape Town or local bars in southwest Madagascar. And now Nigerian dance music is getting play off the continent too. Take Davido, who performed at this year’s SXSW in Austin and just signed a global deal with Sony Music Entertainment. Or the 26-year-old Ayo Jay, who recently collaborated with American rapper Fetty Wap. Wizkid — the Justin Bieber of the Nigerian music scene — is featured on Drake’s latest album. “He’s nauseatingly popular and quite versatile,” says Nigerian-American Monzi Oni, whose teenage cousin in Lagos recently asked her if it was OK to love someone you’ve never met. Jay Z and Akon are also looking to Nigeria for talent. More than a few Nigerian stars are signed to Akon’s Konvict Muzik label, and there’s speculation that Jay Z sent his cousin to scout new talent for Tidal.
Our playlist includes songs by these artists and more: some classics, like “African Queen,” by 2Face; a couple by Nigeria’s Beyoncé, Tiwa Savage; and a handful of dance beats by brothers Peter and Paul Okoye, otherwise known as P-Square. If you were on the continent anytime around 2012 or 2013, you likely have a soft spot for the duo’s “Chop My Money,” which has more than 29 million YouTube views. There’s also a new track, “Festival,” from New York–based Kahli Abdu, and one by Major Lazer featuring Wizkid that we couldn’t do without. Happy listening.