Afrobeats Fresh Picks: Wizkid, Tyla, PsychoYP, Seyi Vibez, Kizz Daniel & More

Afrobeats Fresh Picks: Wizkid, Tyla, PsychoYP, Seyi Vibez, Kizz Daniel & More

Music

It’s been a year of incredible growth in the world of African music.

Music from every corner of the African continent, from West Africa’s contemporary, vibrant Afrobeats supergenre to South Africa’s groovy, bubbling amapiano scene, has continued expanding its reach across the globe, while further embedding itself in the U.S. pop market. Rema & Selena Gomez‘s “Calm Down” and Tyla‘s “Water” both became top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The Grammys, MTV Video Music Awards and American Music Awards added new categories honoring African music. And Uncle Waffles became the first amapiano act to perform at Coachella, while Burna Boy became the first Nigerian act to headline a U.S. stadium during his stint at NYC’s Citi Field.

And we wanted to honor the breadth of work by the continent’s established and emerging stars this year by sharing our individual favorite African songs (with an accompanying Spotify playlist) and albums of 2023, which can be found below.

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Heran’s Favorite African Songs of 2023

  1. Tyla, “Water”
  2. Davido feat. Musa Keys, “Unavailable” 
  3. Libianca, “People”
  4. Amaarae, “Princess Going Digital” 
  5. Teni, “No Days Off” 
  6. Adekunle Gold with Zinoleesky, “Party No Dey Stop”  
  7. Crayon & Ayra Starr, “Ngozi” 
  8. Victor Thompson & Ehis “D” Greatest, “THIS YEAR (Blessings)” 
  9. Ruger, “Tour”
  10. Muzi, “eMtunzini” 

Dan’s Favorite African Songs of 2023

  1. Davido feat. Morravey, “In The Garden”
  2. Teni feat. ODUMODUBLVCK, “Devil Dance”
  3. Olamide, “Problem”
  4. Asake, “2:30”
  5. BNXN, Kizz Daniel & Seyi Vibez, “GWAGWALADA”
  6. Khaid, “Jolie”
  7. King Promise, “Terminator”
  8. Tiwa Savage, Ayra Starr & Young Jonn, “Stamina”
  9. Lil Kesh, “Bus Stop”
  10. Libianca, “People”

Heran’s Favorite African Albums of 2023

  1. Amaarae, Fountain Baby 
  2. June Freedom, 7 Seas
  3. Bloody Civilian, Anger Management 
  4. Tay Iwar, Summer Breeze 
  5. Teni, TEARS OF THE SUN
  6. Davido, Timeless 
  7. Asake, Work of Art 
  8. Burna Boy, I Told Them… 
  9. Spinall, Top Boy 
  10. Bnxn, Sincerely, Benson 

Dan’s Favorite African Albums of 2023

  1. Davido, Timeless
  2. Teni, TEARS OF THE SUN
  3. Olamide, Unruly
  4. Asake, Work of Art
  5. Kizz Daniel, Maverick
  6. Spinall, Top Boy
  7. Lil Kesh, Rhythm & Tunes EP
  8. Joeboy, Body & Soul
  9. Amaarae, Fountain Baby
  10. Burna Boy, I Told Them…

And check out our last Fresh Picks of 2023, while keeping up with the hottest new Afrobeats releases before the year is over with our Spotify playlist below.

Tyla, “Truth or Dare” 

Ahead of her self-titled debut album, Tyla invites an old flame, who wants to reignite what they once had now that he sees how hot she’s become, to play a tantalizing game of “Truth or Dare.” “So let’s play truth or dare, dare you to forget/ That you used to treat me just like anyone/ Truth or dare? Is it true you care? Now that you can see the love from everyone,” she sings in the tongue-in-cheek chorus. But the shuffling beat from the scorching amapiano-infused R&B record feels like Tyla is inviting her past lover onto the dancefloor to win her back. Regardless, it’s Tyla who emerges victorious.  

Victor Thompson, “Stallion”   

After blessing listeners with his and Ehis ‘D’ Greatest’s viral, inspirational anthem “THIS YEAR (Blessings),” the Nigerian gospel singer gives thanks to the One who’s given him the strength to conquer this year with his debut album Blessed. On its opening track “Stallion,” Thompson delivers a message of resilience over a buoyant beat that can inspire listeners to bounce back from any hardships they might be enduring. “I’m a stallion/ And I ride on like a champion/ ‘Cause my Father, He has won it all/ And I no fit fall,” he croons with grace.  

PsychoYP feat. ECEE, Rhoma BTW & Zaylevelten, “LEAN!”   

From the deluxe version of his Osapa London album, the Nigerian alternative rapper talks his shit on the electrifying cut “LEAN!” Over menacing horns and a punchy bassline that could start mosh pits all over the continent and beyond, PsychoYP flexes that he has “forty mil in four different accounts” and other luxuries that make him untouchable, while up-and-comers ECEE, Rhoma BTW and Zaylevelten show off their distinctive flows that all seamlessly blend into the stimulating sonics of “LEAN!”  

Libianca, Oxlade & Chlöe, “Mistaken”   

Following the success of her breakout hit “People,” Libianca continues using her stirring, soul-baring vocals to unload the “baggage that I’ve been carrying for my whole life,” she said in a press statement, with her debut EP Walk Away. On the highlight track “Mistaken,” the Cameroonian American singer-songwriter is pondering whether the man she’s preoccupied with is truly worth her time, with Oxlade playing the man in question, taunting her for being so obsessed with him. But Chlöe reforms from her old ways of being desperate for love from a man who never deserved her, ending “Mistaken” on a high note of resilience.  

Wizkid feat. Wande Coal, “Ololufe”   

Wizkid surprise-dropped his first project of 2023 at the tail-end of the year with the four-track EP S2. On the opening track “Ololufe,” the Grammy-winning superstar links back up with renowned hitmaker Wande Coal (following Wiz’s feature on “Ebelebe” from Coal’s Legend Or No Legend album earlier this year) for an amapiano banger, filled with energetic shakers and audacious percussion that can get every party started this Detty December. But Wizzy’s tender-hearted profession of his love for his darling, paired with Coal’s featherlight melodies, remind listeners that “Ololufe” is also a love song — and that feeling in and of itself is exhilarating.

Zinoleesky, “Sakara”

Zinoleesky’s lyrics have always tended towards the raw, and this year-end single is as introspective as they come, as he sings about struggling to keep his head above water in a world of constant judgment and comparison. But it’s the emotion in his voice that stands out — rarely has he dipped so deeply to convey his feelings beyond just his words, and it makes this song stand out amid his catalog.

Seyi Vibez, “Different Pattern”

Seyi Vibes has proven to be a chameleon when it comes to his sound, yet his particular flow and vocals always make his songs distinctly his own. “Different Pattern” is a perfect example, combining Highlife instrumentation with his multi-layered vocal delivery to make something that seems odd on paper function seamlessly in practice. It’s a fitting way to bookend a banner year for the young street artist, who held things down from beginning to end with a string of worthy projects in 2023.

Chike & Mohbad, “Egwu”

From the single artwork, to the production, to the lyrics and the melodies, everything about “Egwu” serves as a tribute to the late Mohbad, who died suddenly and tragically in September at the age of 27. Over an almost orchestral backdrop and with a gorgeous hook, the song turns on a line from Mohbad that serves as a thesis statement: “Music no need permission to enter your spirit.”

Sarz, Asake & Gunna, “Happiness”

The second single off Nigerian super-producer Sarz’s forthcoming album sees him tap into the talents of two bonafide stars of 2023 in Asake and Gunna over a major-keyed guitar-based beat. Asake carries the track with his infectious delivery reminiscent of some of the themes on his Work of Art album from the summer, while Gunna comes through with a breezy verse that nods to the good life. 

Kizz Daniel, “Too Busy to Be Bae”

Kizz Daniel caps a big year, bookended by the release of his single “Rich Til I Die” and highlighted by his latest album, Maverick, with a new single about the downsides of a suffocating relationship. But despite the subject matter, he can’t help but craft a catchy hook for the earworm single.

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