29 Best African Rappers
Afro beats, rumba, kwaito, and Afro-pop are some of the sounds that have broken Africa’s borders and helped bring global attention.
Although these beats can be incorporated through singing, rap is one of the most prevalent musical genres putting African music on the map.
Here are the best African rappers.
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It is only fitting to begin this great list with one of the best South African rappers, Nasty C. The 25-year-old is arguably the best rapper in South Africa and has made a name for himself as one of the best in Africa.
Nasty C became famous after releasing Bad Hair in 2016, with the lead single “Hell Naw” making headlines. At the peak of his career, Nasty C got signed by Def Jam and Universal Music Group, making him the first African rapper to be signed under the label.
He also received the South African Hip Hop Awards for Best Freshman, the 16th Metro FM Music Awards for Best New Artist, Male Album, Hip Hop Album, and Song of the Year.
Nasty C is continuously making waves, making Africa proud.
Maya Christinah Xichavo, known by her artist name, Sho Madjozi, is a South African rapper, singer-songwriter, and global sensation.
Musically, although Madjozi raps in English and Tsonga, her signature style of music incorporates lots of Swahili language.
Although she has numerous albums, such as Limpopo Champions League, released in 2018, with lead singles such as “Huku,” Madjozi gained international recognition for her song “John Cena,” based on the famous wrestler John Cena.
Sho Madjozi is a BET Award recipient for Best New International Act in 2019. She is an International Act ready to take on Africa and the world with her impeccable talent.
Born Michael Owusu Addo, Sarkodie is a Ghanaian rapper majorly known for his Azonto genre.
Hailing from West Africa, Sarkodie has made a name for himself amid the afrobeat scene, becoming a significant entertainer and a successful African rapper.
His immense talent has won him several accolades, including BET’s Best International Flow Artist in 2019 and Artiste of the Decade with the Vodafone Ghana Music Award.
Sarkodie is well known for his popular tracks, including, “Makye,” “Sarkology,” “Mary,” and “Black Love.” He has also collaborated with other amazing artists on popular songs, “Down on One” with Fuse ODG and “Adonai” alongside Castro.
Ladipoe is a famous rapper and artist from Nigeria.
He is a member of a Nigerian supergroup, the Collectiv3, created in 2015 to showcase musicians who help move culture and Africanism.
Ladipoe gained recognition after releasing his single, “Feel Alright,” and later, in 2020, he got featured with Simi on the hit song “Know You” under Marvin Records.
Ladipoe is one of the best African rappers owing his talent to his unique music pattern. Since then, he has been able to offer his fan base hit songs each time, including “Running” with Fireboy DML and “Feeling” with Buju.
Brian Ouko Omollo, popularly known as Khaligraph Jones, is a famous Kenyan rapper and artist.
He first gained international recognition with his hit singles “Mazishi” and “Yego.” He has also collaborated with other international rappers, including Sarkodie on “Wavy” and Dax on “Hiroshima.”
Khaligraph Jones is also known to incorporate new and upcoming artists under his wing by showcasing them on the Khali Cartel. Khaligraph is a giant among African music legends. He is signed under the label Blue Ink and shows no sign of slowing down.
Active since 2010, Olamide is a Nigerian rapper and record producer. Ranked as one of the best rappers in Nigeria, Olamide has slowly made a name for himself in the past decade.
He is also regarded as an influential African artist and has been instrumental in launching several Afrobeat artists, such as Phyno and Ice prince.
Some fan favorites include “Motigbana,” with over 33 million views on YouTube. Olamide is also famous for his studio albums, Rapsodi, YBNL, and Baddest Guy Ever Liveth released in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively.
Based on his immense talent and influence in Africa, he was the first Nigerian artist to have an endorsement deal with Ciroc in 2013.
Mohammed Ismail Sherif Kwaku Frimpong is a rapper and singer born and raised in Ghana. He first rose to fame in 2021 after releasing “First Sermon.”
However, Black Sherif gained popularity and recognition after releasing his single, “Kwaku the Traveller,” in 2022. The song topped West Africa’s music charts for weeks. He also released his first album, The Villain I Never Was, in October 2022.
Although Sherif gained popularity in 2021, he shows no sign of slowing down, making him one of the best African rappers today.
Chef I87, born Kondwani Kaira, is a Zambian hip-hop rapper and musician.
He first rose to fame after releasing “I Am Zambian Hip-Hop,” but he has shown an interest in music since he was only five years old. Some of his other works include the “Husband Material” song that has currently amassed over nine hundred thousand views on YouTube.
If you do not know who Chef I87 is, make a point and listen to some of his work.
Since 2004, Nigerian rapper Panshak Henry Zamani, known as Ice Prince, has dominated the Afro beats airwaves for decades, making him one of the best African rappers.
Ice Prince became a notable artist after releasing “Oleku.” His other best works include “Olofofo,” “Feel Good,” “I Swear,” and “Kolo.”
He has collaborated with other artists, including Oxlade, Sarkodie, Phyno, and AKA, to make great music.
Kwame Ametepee Tsikata, born in 1982, is a Ghanaian rapper, musician, and record producer. He is professionally known by his stage name, M.anifest.
M.anifest talents lie in the hip hop, afro beats, and R&B genres, where some of his notable works, including the hit song “God MC,” won him the Hip Hop song of the year at the Ghana Music Awards in 2017.
Additionally, M.anifest has worked with Burna Boy on his song “Tomorrow.” As a business mogul, M.anifest is also a co-founder of Giant Steps, a conference for creative business people.
Another notable African rapper from South Africa is AKA, officially known as Jarryd Kiernan Forbes. He is a music producer, rapper, and singer-songwriter who is putting South African music on the global charts.
His debut album, Altar Ego, and single “Victory Lap” made headlines propelling him to the spotlight.
He is also well known for his other studio albums, including, Touch My Blood (2018) and Be Careful What You Wish For (2017).
AKA continues to produce fan-favorite songs, cementing his position among South Africa’s best rappers of all time.
Skales is a Nigerian rapper and songwriter. His love for music began at a young age, and in 2008, he decided to pursue his journey by entering and winning the Zain Tru Search competition. Later he released his debut single, “Must Shine,” which accorded him much recognition in Lagos and Abuja.
Skales is also well known for his performances in the hit song “Shake Body,” which has more than 37 million views. Other tracks include “My Baby” and “Denge Pose,” among others.
While striving to reach the top, Skales collaborated with other influential acts such as Akon, Tekno, Banky W, and Harmonize. His music is legendary and worth a listen.
Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, professionally known by his stage name, Phyno, is a rapper, record producer, singer, and songwriter from Nigeria.
When releasing his debut album, No Guts No Glory, in 2012, he featured terrific artists, including P-Square, Ice Prince, Olamide, and Omawumi, among other international artists.
His single, “Ghost Mode,” with Olamide, won them the Best Collabo at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards in 2013.
For the multi-talented entertainer, his other notable works include “Fada Fada,” “Connect,” and “So Far So Good.”
Bill Nass, born William Nicholaus Lyimo, is a Tanzanian rapper who has remained active since 2014.
He became famous after releasing “Raha” alongside Naaziz, capturing many Tanzanian and international fans. As a Big Breakthrough artist, Nass also made his studio debut in 2017.
Some of his other notable tracks include “Do Me” in collaboration with Nandy, “Tatizo,” “Chafu Pozi,” and “Sina Jambo.”
He is a great African rapper slowly gaining popularity and putting Tanzanian music on the map.
Officially named Henry Ohanga, Octopizzo is a Kenyan rapper and songwriter deemed one of the best East African rappers alongside Khaligraph Jones.
As a Kenyan, Octopizzo often actively experiments with different sounds, making him unique from the bunch. He is not afraid to sing trap and hip-hop while incorporating Swahili, English, and Mother-tongue language.
He is famously known for releasing hit tracks, including “On Top,” Babylon,” “Noma Ni,” and “TBT,” among others.
He has managed to amass millions of views in each of his songs, putting him on the list of one of the best African rappers.
Nadia Nakai is a South African television personality and rapper. She is half Zimbabwean but readily represents South Africa with her craft.
After her brief stay in Kenya and getting to know Kenyan local rapper Nazizi, she became interested in rap music.
She rose to prominence in 2013 after winning the Shiz Niz Mixtape 101 competition, becoming the first-ever female winner in the competition. She also released her first single, “Like Me,” which did not perform well.
However, in 2016, she released “Naaa Meaan” featuring Cassper Nyovest, which became a hit song, topping the South African Hip-hop charts.
Besides her rap and music career, Nakai is a famous TV personality who has appeared in numerous shows, including the 2022 Netflix reality show Young Famous & African, and she co-hosted the MTV Base hip hop show in 2019.
Also Known as Le Monstre, Jovi is a Cameroonian rapper, sound engineer, record producer, composer, and business mogul.
He began making waves after releasing his debut album, H.I.V., which captured thousands of fans in Cameroon. The french-speaking artist is great at his craft and is best known for releasing singles including “Don 4 Kwat,” “Pitie,” and numerous EPs such as Kankwe Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Puta Madre, and Pressure, among others.
In 2015, the phenomenon rapper was nominated for Best Francophone artist at the MTV Africa Music Award (MAMA).
As a Cameroonian star, Jovi remains one of the African rappers to keep an eye on.
Khulane Morule, popularly known as Khuli Chana, is a Motswako rapper from South Africa. He began working on his talent and craft at a young age and was a member of the Morafe rap group but proceeded to become a solo artist.
Chana gained popularity soon after releasing his album, Motswakoriginator, which incorporates English and Setswana languages.
He was nominated as the Most Valuable Artist and Video of the year at the South African Hip Hop Awards in 2014.
Additionally, he is a brand ambassador of the vodka Absolute in South Africa. Visit his YouTube Channel and enjoy some of his tracks, including “Buyile Buyile,” featuring some other iconic artists,
Mode 9 (Modenine)
Renowned for embodying Afro-hip hop, Babatunde Olusegun Adewale, popularly known by his stage name, Modenine (Mode 9), is a Nigerian rapper and songwriter.
Although he was born in London, the Nigerian is making moves to put Nigerian music on the map. He gained recognition in 2014 after releasing the “Super Human” track featuring Canibus.
Mode 9 is well known for his brilliant lyrics, punchlines, and great messaging in his songs. With numerous albums such as Da Vinci Mode, featured albums, and mixtapes, Mode 9 music has replay value and is worth listening to.
Born Senzo Brikka Vilakazi, Kwesta is a rapper and songwriter from South Africa.
He first began making music at 15 years old when he formed a rap group, Ghetto Fellaz, with his friends.
He later pursued a solo music career and released his debut album Special ReKwest in 2010 and DaKAR in 2013, piquing the South African Hip Hop charts.
One of his famous singles that are currently fan favorites includes “Spirit” featuring Wale, which was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa. Other songs include “Ngud” with Cassper Nyovani, “Mayibabo,” and Ngiyazifela Ngawe.”
King Kotini, also known as Riky Rick, was a famous South African rapper and fashion Icon.
He was one of the genius brains in the South African rap industry and aided many talents, including Cassper Nyovest. Upon releasing his album, Family Values, RiSA certified it Gold, garnering him much fame.
He also released “Sidlukotini” in 2016, which quickly became a fan favorite.
Although he died in 2022, King Kotini will forever be remembered as an iconic African rapper.
Born Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz, is a Nigerian rapper and actor. He began making music in high school after founding a group called The School Boys.
In 2009, Falz rose to fame after releasing his famous “Marry Me” song featuring iconic musicians Yemi Alade and Ladipoe.
Falz released “Wahz Up Guy” in 2011 and other songs that cemented his position in the music industry in Nigeria.
He also released songs such as “Ello Bae” in 2015 that garnered him a nomination for the Best Street Hop Artiste of the Year.
Falz gained his eureka moment after emulating “This is America” by Childish Gambino, making “This is Nigeria” in 2018 that highlighted Nigerian issues promoting activism.
Olanrewaju Ogunmefun, popularly known as Vector, is a recording artist, rapper, and stage performer from Nigeria.
Signing with YSG entertainment, the talented rapper rose to fame after releasing his famous album State of Surprise. It bore great tracks, including “Kilode,” “Mary Jane,” and “Get Down” in collaboration with 2Face Idibia.
The collaboration garnered him a Best Mainstream Hip Hop Video nomination at the 2011 Nigerian Music Video Awards.
Today, Vector is one of Africa’s most influential and greatest Nigerian rappers.
Born Tebogo Sidney Thapelo Thekisho, ProVerb is a South African rapper, television, radio personality, and record producer.
His rapping career began after releasing his first album in 2005, Book of Proverb. Since then, ProVerb has contributed significantly to South African Music through Mzansi music.
To date, Book of ProVerb remains one of his best-selling albums. He is also an accomplished TV and radio personality and is well known for co-hosting Idols SA season 6.
Some of his best tracks include “Proverbs Manifest,” featuring M.anifest.
Born in 1976, Michael Elliot Kwabena Okyere Darko, famously regarded as Obrafour, is a Ghanaian rapper and musician.
He is an extraordinary African rapper due to his unique rap style that incorporates lots of storytelling and Twi rapping.
His most notable albums include Pae Mu Ka, Still Strong, and Love Anthem, released in 1999 and 2018.
Obrafour is a recipient of three Ghana Music Awards, including Rapper of the Year, New Artiste of the Year, and “Pae Mu Ka,” awarding him a Hiplife song of the Year award.
Kwesi Arthur is another Ghanaian artiste popularly known for his impeccable rapping style. Born as Emmanuel Kwesi Danso Arthur Junior, Arthur reached fame in 2017 after releasing his hit song, “Grind Day.”
The rapper’s songs follow the Afro beats and Hip Hop genres. He has received several awards, including a Hip Hop Song of the year award at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
He has collaborated with other notable artists, including Joeboy, in his track “Baajo,” Mr. Eazi, Nasty C, Shatta Wale, and Sarkodie.
Arthur is one of the most successful rappers in Ghana.
The former CEO of Chocolate City record label, M.I Abaga, is a well-known Nigerian record producer and rapper. His official name is Jude Lemfani Abaga, and he was born in 1981.
He became famous after releasing the “Crowd Mentality” song in 2006, which emulated famous rappers’ styles, including Kanye West and Jay-Z.
In 2008 he released his breakthrough album, Talk About It, which won him the Best Hip Hop Artist and Musician of the Year at the Modemen Awards 2008.
Abaga is also a 2009 Best Hip-Hop MTV Africa Music Awards recipient illustrating how great he is at his craft.
As a record producer, M.I Abaga produced some of his label mates’ albums during his time at Chocolate City. A notable album entails Ice Prince’s Everybody Loves Ice Prince. For 13 years at the label, he made sure to make a difference.
Another South African artist making headlines in Africa is Refiloe Maele Phoolo, professionally known by his stage name, Cassper Nyovest.
Nyovest is not just a rapper but a record producer, boxer, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in South Africa, Cassper began his music with his former hip-hop group Childhood Gangsta in 2004.
Years later, in 2013, he started his solo career by releasing his first song, “Gusheshe,” which has over 1.4 million views on YouTube. His other notable works include “Doc Shebeleza,” which garnered Cassper positive remarks and popularity.
He has continued to consistently put out great music that reverberates with lots of fans, making him one of the best rappers in Africa.
Ending this list is Reggie Rockstone, the English-born Ghanaian rapper.
Having remained active from 1990 to 2023, Reggie Rockstone, born Reginald Yaw Asante Ossei, has lived continuously in Ghana since pioneering the Hip-life movement.
Rockstone rap style incorporates the Akan language precisely, mixing Asante Twi and English in his lyrics.
He first rose to fame as a dancer in the 80s. However, rapping in Akan allowed him to release great classics, including “Sweetie Sweetie” and “Nightlife in Accra” from his first album Makaa! Maka! In 1997.
Rockstone is a Kora Award recipient for the Best African Video he released with Shaggy. He is also known for the “Chukku Chakka” track featuring famous Jamaican singer Beenie Man.
Whether or not you understand some of the languages in his music, Rockstone’s music is fantastic.
Top African Rappers, Final Thoughts
Rap has existed in Africa for decades since the 80s. It is more than adding a verse to a song; it is an art that has kept evolving over the decades and is noticeable in every generation of artists.
Africa is prosperous with rappers from the early twenties to late 50s and from different countries. Despite rapping in their own cultural languages or English, the best African rappers are making waves in their home countries and beyond their borders.
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