2021 will remain a legendary year in Afrobeats and also for Nigerian Artists. The post meltdown year that had businesses changing strategy, artists reinventing to stay alive and so many succumbing to the pressure.
Here’s a list of the top ten Nigerian artists in 2021. These artists were able to impact the music culture the most within Nigeria and they also had the most popular hits of the year.
TOP 10 NIGERIAN ARTISTS 2021
Ladipoe is arguably the most successful rapper of 2021. He rode a wave of some of the biggest collaborations in 2021, crowning it with a mid-year EP which launched through the mavin launch engine ensured that his artistry did not go by unnoticed again.
Great year for Ladipoe, hope he gets loads of headies for his massive hit with Buju; Feeling.
9. Adekunle Gold
Adekunle Gold gets huge credits for his successful rebranding, and forging a new peak with HIGH. It seemed like the final stamp on his new sound and definitely gives him a straight shot into this list.
Ruger is D’Princes’ protege, and he had a really great year with his Pandemic EP which housed one of the best sleeper hits of the year. Bounce literally chased a lot of songs of the top spot at different times in the year.
From being a newcomer with a debut EP, all Ruger needed was 2021 to become one of the best new African superstars.
7. Ayra Starr
Arya Starr is undoubtedly the most commercially viable newcomer of 2021. Her sound is as unique as it is relatable and makes her song hit across genres, gender, and age. Everyone feels good when Arya’s Bloody Samaritan comes on; whether it’s on a radio, the TV, a streaming platform, or a random occasion. She definitely deserves a spot here.
6. Burna Boy
Truth be told, Burna had a quiet year in Nigeria. His songs had a really difficult time on the charts amidst the numerous classics that dropped in such a short amount of time.
He was mostly on tour, expanding his audience base and building his image as the proper black pop star. His singles; Question, Ballon D’Or & even a feature with Polo G all got the usual buzz but never really propelled his career any further. It’s safe to say Burna is on this list because he kept his sword in the sheath all year long really.
Davido is the only African artist who can go for a whole year without dropping a track and still remain one of the most listened to musicians across Africa. His A Better Time discography is a plethora of bangers at a time when the world needed some calming music but it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that Davido still had a great year.
He stayed top the charts with Ke Star, Adekunle Gold’s massive hit; High and his only dropped single- Champion Sound later at the end of the year.
Buju was on a roll in 2021 and this is a fact! He had one of the most successful years of his career, and closed it out with one of the most talked about headline shows of the year.
The strength of Buju’s collaborations in 2021 was heavy. If Headies had a MoneyMaker award category, it’ll definitely go to him considering the amounts of artists he brought to life within a year alone. He definitely deserves the 4th spot here.
The only reason why CKay gets a consolation with the third spot despite his massive year with Love Nwantiti is the simple fact that the song wasn’t released in 2021. Although it did impact Nigerian culture and became one of the biggest songs of the world in 2021, it still remains a 2019 record that surpassed all of CKay’s 2020 Africa’s Boyfriend discography.
Tems may be a newcomer to the international scene, but her presence on Wizkid’s mega-hit track, Essence, and Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album when combined with the American success of her EP.
She definitely locks down the second spot. Where she killed it for me in 2021 was her Indie/Major label deal with Since ‘93/RCA.
Wizkid undoubtedly holds down the top spot with his Made In Lagos album & Essence’ crack of the Billboard Hot 200, 100, & 10. An unprecedented feat in the history of Nigerian & African music.