In the vibrant music industry of hip-hop, Africa stands as an electrifying epicenter of talent and creativity.
From the soul-stirring verses that echo through the bustling streets of Lagos to the intricate rhymes that traverse the peaks of Nairobi, the continent’s rap scene is a diverse and captivating tapestry.
And yet, as global fans and enthusiasts passionately debate over who wears the crown of the best rapper in Africa, who reigns as the most popular, and who stands as the ultimate lyrical genius of East Africa, we embark on a journey to uncover the answers.
Who is the best rapper in Africa right now?
As the beats drop and the bars are laid down, this question reverberates across the hip-hop landscape.
With talents that span across countries and cultures, the competition is fierce.
From Kenya’s Khaligraph Jones, who spits fire with unparalleled intensity, to the poetic genius of South Africa’s Nasty C, the contenders are a testament to Africa’s rap supremacy.
The answer isn’t just about the numbers, but the passion, influence, and authenticity each artist brings to the mic.
Who is the most popular rapper in Africa?
In the era of social media and global connectivity, popularity is often measured in likes, shares, and streams.
But beyond the digital metrics lies the magnetic force of an artist’s persona that attracts fans like moths to a flame.
From Ghana’s lyrical juggernaut Sarkodie to Nigeria’s multi-talented Falz, the journey from underground sensation to continental icon is paved with unparalleled charisma and undeniable talent.
Who is the best rapper in East Africa?
With its rich cultural mosaic, East Africa has birthed rap titans that command attention within their borders and across the continent.
Is it the storytelling prowess of Kenya’s Khaligraph Jones or the undeniable groove of Tanzania’s Bill Nass? Each artist’s unique fusion of tradition and innovation is a testament to the East African spirit that flows through their verses.
As we embark on a whirlwind tour through the diverse landscapes of African hip-hop, prepare to be captivated by the lyrical prowess, cultural resonance, and global impact of these 20 rap luminaries.
From the streets to the charts, from the clubs to the stadiums, their music reverberates through hearts and minds, transcending boundaries and languages.
The debate may rage on, but what remains indisputable is that Africa’s rap scene is a treasure trove of talent waiting to be discovered and celebrated.
Let’s descend into the world of Africa’s 20 Best Rappers and experience the rhythmic magic that defines the continent’s rap renaissance.
Africa’s Greatest Rappers:
1. Khaligraph Jones
Real Name: Brian Robert Ouko
Date of Birth: June 12, 1990
Best Song: “Yego”
Awards/Nominations: Winner of the Best Rap Act award at the African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) in 2020.
A lyrical maestro hailing from Kenya, Khaligraph Jones, whose name is Brian Robert Ouko, has etched his name in the annals of African rap history.
With his hard-hitting verses and gritty delivery, he’s a force to be reckoned with.
From the energetic “Yego” that echoes in the streets to his 2020 AFRIMMA win for Best Rap Act, Khaligraph is a true champion of East African rap.
2. Nasty C
Real Name: Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo
Date of Birth: February 11, 1997
Country: South Africa
Best Song: “SMA (Send Me Away)”
Awards/Nominations: Recipient of the Best International Flow at the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2019.
At just 26 years old, Nasty C, aka Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo, has the world at his feet.
Hailing from South Africa, his versatile flow and introspective lyrics have won hearts far and wide.
With his breakout track “SMA (Send Me Away)” and a BET Hip Hop Award in 2019, Nasty C’s star is only beginning to rise.
Real Name: Michael Owusu Addo
Date of Birth: July 10, 1985
Best Song: “Adonai”
Awards/Nominations: Multiple BET Awards nominations and winner of the Best International Act: Africa category in 2012.
From the vibrant rap scene of Ghana emerges Sarkodie, born Michael Owusu Addo. With a career spanning over a decade, he’s an iconic figure in African hip-hop. His hit “Adonai” remains a classic, and his BET Awards win in 2012 cements his status as a global rap heavyweight.
4. Cassper Nyovest
Real Name: Refiloe Maele Phoolo
Date of Birth: December 16, 1990
Country: South Africa
Best Song: “Doc Shebeleza”
Awards/Nominations: Holder of numerous South African Music Awards (SAMAs), including Record of the Year.
Cassper Nyovest, born Refiloe Maele Phoolo, is a true testament to chasing dreams with unwavering determination.
This South African star has dominated the scene with hits like “Doc Shebeleza” and a slew of SAMAs under his belt. His music entertains and inspires the dreamer in all of us.
Real Name: Kwame Ametepee Tsikata
Date of Birth: November 20, 1982
Best Song: “Me Ne Woa”
Awards/Nominations: Recipient of the Best Rapper and Hip-Hop Song awards at the 2017 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
Ghanaian rapper M.anifest, aka Kwame Ametepee Tsikata, is a poet with a mic.
His soul-stirring track “Me Ne Woa” resonates deeply, reflecting his ability to blend poignant messages with masterful flow.
A Vodafone Ghana Music Award winner, M.anifest is a storyteller who compares to no one in the rap industry.
Real Name: Folarin Falana
Date of Birth: October 27, 1990
Best Song: “This Is Nigeria”
Awards/Nominations: Winner of several Nigerian Entertainment Awards and Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards.
Falz, born Folarin Falana, is a Nigerian sensation known for his witty verses and social commentary.
With tracks like “This Is Nigeria,” he seamlessly weaves humor and insight into his rhymes.
Winner of multiple entertainment awards, Falz’s impact extends beyond music, touching societal narratives and expectations.
Real Name: Ndukong Godlove Nfor
Date of Birth: October 15, 1983
Best Song: “B.A.S.I.C”
Awards/Nominations: Recipient of the Best Hip Hop Video award at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards.
From the vibrant streets of Cameroon comes Jovi, real name Ndukong Godlove nFor.
His track “B.A.S.I.C” embodies his experimental style and innovative sound. The 2015 MTV Africa Music Award winner, Jovi’s rap persona is a fusion of authenticity and creativity.
- Sho Madjozi: South Africa’s Queen of Versatility*
Real Name: Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif
Date of Birth: May 9, 1992
Country: South Africa
Best Song: “John Cena”
Awards/Nominations: Winner of the BET Awards Best New International Act category in 2019.
Sho Madjozi, whose birth-given name is Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif, is a South African rap sensation known for her vibrant energy and unique style.
“John Cena” put her on the global map, leading to a BET Award win in 2019.
Her fusion of genres showcases her boundary-pushing spirit as a mentor to your female rap novices.
9. Nadia Nakai
Real Name: Nadia Nakai Kandava
Date of Birth: May 18, 1990
Country: South Africa
Best Song: “Naaa Meeaan”
Awards/Nominations: Nominated for Best Female Southern Africa at the 2019 AFRIMMA.
Nadia Nakai Kandava who goes by the name Nadia Nakai, is a trailblazing South African female rapper making waves.
Her hit “Naaa Meeaan” is a testament to her fierce attitude and lyrical prowess.
Nominated for Best Female Southern Africa at AFRIMMA, there is no doubt she’s breaking barriers and glass ceilings.
10. Kwesi Arthur
Real Name: Emmanuel Kwesi Danso Arthur Junior
Date of Birth: December 18, 1994
Best Song: “Grind Day”
Awards/Nominations: Recipient of the Hip-Hop Song of the Year award at the 2018 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
Ghana’s voice of the millennial generation, Emmanuel Kwesi Danso Arthur Junior, alias Kwesi Arthur, is a breakout star.
“Grind Day” is his anthem of hustle, earning him the Hip-Hop Song of the Year award at Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
Real Name: Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike
Date of Birth: October 9, 1986
Best Song: “Fada Fada”
Awards/Nominations: Winner of the Best Collabo award at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards.
Phyno, whose real name is Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, is a Nigerian rap icon celebrated for infusing his Igbo heritage into his music.
With tracks like “Fada Fada,” he connects on a cultural level while amassing accolades, including the 2016 MTV Africa Music Award for Best Collabo.
Real Name: Samuel Adu Frimpong
Date of Birth: April 4, 1993
Best Song: “Omo Ada”
Awards/Nominations: Nominated for Best Hip Hop at the 2020 AFRIMMA.
Medikal, born Samuel Adu Frimpong, is a dynamic force in Ghanaian hip-hop.
His track “Omo Ada” has become a street anthem, and his nomination for Best Hip Hop at AFRIMMA reflects his magnetic presence in the industry.
Real Name: Emeka Akumefule
Date of Birth: January 29, 1996
Best Song: “Haba”
Awards/Nominations: Winner of the Best Rapper in Africa title at the 2021 AFRIMMA.
Blaqbonez, real name Emeka Akumefule, is rewriting the rules of Nigerian rap.
With “Haba,” he showcases his signature flair and confidence.
Earning the title of Best Rapper in Africa at AFRIMMA 2021, Blaqbonez is a disruptor and innovator.
14. Bill Nass
Real Name: Bill Nasson Konki
Date of Birth: February 20, 1994
Best Song: “Mazoea”
Awards/Nominations: Nominated for Best Rap Song at the 2019 AFRIMMA.
Tanzania’s own Bill Nass, given the name Bill Nasson Konki, is a lyrical virtuoso.
His hit “Mazoea” captivates with Swahili finesse, earning him recognition and nominations, including a spot in the Best Rap Song category at AFRIMMA.
Real Name: Mthetheleli Sibonelo Malinga
Country: South Africa
Best Song: “Culture Vulture”
Awards/Nominations: Emerging artist with significant potential and impact.
South Africa’s trap sensation, Mthetheleli Sibonelo Malinga alias 25K, is making waves with “Culture Vulture.”
As an emerging artist, his potential is undeniable, promising a fresh and impactful contribution to the rap scene.
Real Name: Jude Abaga
Date of Birth: October 4, 1981
Best Song: “One Naira”
Awards/Nominations: Renowned artist with numerous awards, including Best Hip Hop and Best New Act at the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards.
M.I., real name Jude Abaga, is a pioneer of Nigerian hip-hop.
With timeless tracks like “One Naira,” he solidified his status as a rap icon.
His MTV Africa Music Awards wins and ongoing influence showcases his enduring impact.
Real Name: Olanrewaju Ogunmefun
Date of Birth: August 7, 1984
Best Song: “King Kong”
Awards/Nominations: Winner of the Lyricist on the Roll award at the 2015 and 2017 Headies Awards.
Vector, whose name is Olanrewaju Ogunmefun, is a master of wordplay and storytelling. “King Kong” remains a standout in his discography.
As a two-time recipient of the Lyricist on the Roll award at the Headies, Vector’s lyrical finesse is unmatched.
18. Rosa Ree
Real Name: Rosary Robert
Date of Birth: 21 April 1995
Best Song: “Way Up”
Awards/Nominations: Named Best Female Rapper at the 2019 AFRIMMA.
Tanzania’s Rosa Ree, real name Rosary Robert, breaks barriers as a female rapper.
“Way Up” is a testament to her fearless approach. Crowned Best Female Rapper at AFRIMMA, Rosa Ree is an inspiration to aspiring artists.
Real Name: Sihle Sithole
Date of Birth: 24 November 1999
Country: South Africa
Best Song: “Hold”
Awards/Nominations: Rising star recognized for his impactful contributions to the South African rap scene.
Sihle Sithole, with the stage name Blxckie, is South Africa’s trap prodigy. “Hold” showcases his trap prowess and introspective themes.
A rising star with potential, Blxckie’s influence on the South African rap scene is undeniable.
20. Black Sherif
Real Name: Mohammed Ismail Sherif
Date of Birth: 9 January 2002
Best Song: “Second Sermon”
Awards/Nominations: Emerging artist celebrated for his lyrical dexterity and introspective themes.
Ghana’s youth find a voice in Black Sherif, with his birth name Mohammed Ismail Sherif. “Second Sermon” resonates with its raw authenticity.
As an emerging artist, his impact is profound, heralding a new wave of introspective rap.
These 20 rappers, each with their unique flair, have left an indelible mark on Africa’s rap scene.
Through their music, they illuminate the rich diversity of cultures and perspectives across the continent while pushing the boundaries of the genre.
Their journey is a testament to the power of words and rhythm, and their influence on African hip-hop is bound to resonate for years.