One of the best parts about being African, besides the food and the parties, is the music. Afro-flavour has crossed oceans and influenced so many music styles. And that’s when it hit me; why isn’t there a list of the hottest singles/albums from artists throughout the African Diaspora? What better way to connect and celebrate how rich in culture the entire African continent is than through music!
The African Diaspora is vast, so this list won’t be all-encompassing. Instead, it will focus more on up and coming acts as well as releases from popular artists that are just too good to miss.
2018 was a great year for Afro-beats. From the One Africa Fest in the Uk to the Shaku Shaku dance craze, the diaspora has been on point! As the year ends, here’s a list of 10 unique albums/singles the African Diaspora blessed us with.
Nakamura: Aya Nakamura has had a breakout year. Her hit single, “Djadja”, off her debut album Nakamura was one of the hottest French songs of the summer. Songs such as “La dot”, “Pompom”, “Copines”, and “Ca fait mal” are fun with great beats to dance to! What makes her success especially touching to me is the fact that she is a dark skinned singer. Dark skinned female singers simply aren’t afforded this type of support in the United States, and to see her singles climbing the French charts, for me as a dark-skinned woman, is amazing!! This is an album you can listen to on repeat, and not only will you perfect your moves, but you’ll also be fluent in French!
“Short n Sweet” by Sauti Sol ft Nyashinski: Sauti Sol is a band from Kenya. They aren’t a stranger to making hits, but Short n Sweet is, in my opinion, one of their best songs to date. The music video is filled with flawless choreography, dark skin representation, and beautiful colors. I listen to this song at least once a day!
La Vie Continue by 4keus: Also originating from France, 4keus is basically the french version of Migos (minus the adlibs). Songs like “C’est Dieu qui donne”, “Mignon Garcon”, “On dit quoi” will make any party lit!
“Energy” by Skepta and Wizkid: Wizkid is one of the hottest acts to come out of Nigeria, and Skepta is an OG on the grime scene. When these two came together, they gave us one of the biggest vibes of 2018.
“Wait” and “Case” by Teni: Teni is a prolific singer and songwriter from Nigeria. She has written songs for some of the biggest Nigerian acts, and in 2018, she really came into her own as a singer. Teni shines on both “Wait” and “Case,” and I can’t wait to see what she does in 2019.
6. Captured by Spice: The queen of dancehall gave us a full length album, and we are grateful! Spice caused quite the controversy with the song “Black Hypocrisy,” but colorism and skin bleaching is something that the black community across the globe needs to talk about and put an end to. For more lighthearted listening “Romantic Mood”, “Walk Out”, and “Genie” all have that signature dancehall beat perfect for practicing your whine and kotch.
7. “So Long” by Nadia Baston: Hailing from Trinidad, Nadia Baston is a vocal powerhouse. Her song “So Long” is a fun song that is sure to get you up on your feet!
8. “Dark Vader” by J Hus: J Hus had an amazing 2017 with songs such as “Did You See” and “Bouff Daddy” blowing up the charts. He had a much quieter 2018, and took a much-deserved break while still managing to give us an EP. His song Dark Vader off his EP Big Spang is a tease of what he has in store for us in 2019.
9. “Ramenez la coup a la maison” by Vegedream: Nicknamed the “African Team”, the French had an amazing year and finally brought the world cup trophy home. This song is an ode to the players and the head coach, Didier Deschamps, that made that victory possible!
10. “Hacia El Amor” by Ibeyi and Emcida: Ibeyi is a French duo made up of twin sisters of Cuban descent. I’ve been a big fan of them since their song “River” came out in 2014, and they’ve only gotten better. They sing in Spanish as well as Yoruba and French, and their fusion of dreamy beats and reggaeton is otherworldly.
I know the Diaspora will be booked and busy in 2019; make sure you look out for the “Sounds from the Diaspora” list every other week in 2019!