Brief History of African Rap
The African continent has produced some of the most talented rappers. Rap first came to the Africa in the 1980s and its impact was felt or heard in the music of Senegal in 1985. Interestingly enough, the origin of rap can be traced back to West Africa and the griots who traveled to the different African villages, delivering their messages in the spoken word, nommo.
But of course, Africans took rap music and made it their own and today the distinctive influences of Portuguese flow, Caribbean music and the flavor of the African rhythm can be heard in the music. The African continent has produced a unique mix of rappers whose popularity grow each day.
Top 10 African Rappers – African Hip Hop 2017
Here is a list of the top ten rappers in Africa.
#10 – Casper Nyovest (South African)
Cassper Nyovest, born Refiloe Maele Phoolo is a rapper and record producer out of South Africa. He released his debut album, Tsholofelo on July 18, 2014 which has since been certified platinum. He has released two more albums with his latest being Thuto, released in 2017.
Cassper has been the recipient of several awards and nominations. These awards include Album of the Year, Best New Comer, Best Music Video and Best Single .
#9 – Khaligraph Jones (Kenyan)
Khaligraph Jones, real name Brian Robert Ouko, is one of the most popular recording artistes in Kenya. A very talented artiste, he is able to fluently rap in both Swahili and English. Khaligraph recorded his first song at the age of thirteen and has since recorded over 400 songs. At the age of 19, he won the Channel O Emcee Africa competition and was a Kenyan music ambassador in 2014.
Khaligraph recorded his first song at the age of thirteen and has since recorded over 400 songs. At the age of 19, he won the Channel O Emcee Africa competition and was a Kenyan music ambassador in 2014.
#8 – Ice Prince (Nigerian)
Nigerian, recording rapper and actor Ice Prince came to the attention of Nigerians when he released a remix of Oleku. In 2011, he released his debut album, Everybody Loves Ice Prince. Three years later, he displayed another of his talents when took on a supporting role in the film House of Gold.
Throughout his illustrious career, he has received several nominations and awards. In 2014, he won the Nigerian Entertainment Award for Best Rap Act of the Year and the Ben TV Awards for the Best Hip Hop Artiste of the Year.
#7 – M.anifest (Ghanaian)
M.anifest (Kwame Ametepee Tsikata)is one of the most influential rappers in Ghana. In 2005 he graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Two years later he produced his first solo album Manifestations. Star Tribune recognized this album as one the top five albums of the year in 2007.
Since then he has released four more albums, a number of singles and has worked with top acts such as Erykah Badu and Tony Allen. At the start of 2017, Ghanaians crowned him the Ghanaian King of Hip-Hop after he received the awards for Best Rapper of the Year and Hip-Hop Song of the Year at the Ghanaian Music Awards.
#6 – M.I. (Nigerian)
M.I (Jude Abaga) is one of the most successful recording artistes in Nigeria. He gained the attention of music fans in 2006 with the song Crowd Mentality. His debut album Talk About It (2008) received a lot of attention and further boosted his popularity. His growing popularity saw him assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer of Chocolate City in 2015.
Among the many awards he has accumulated are Best Hip Hop and Best New Act at the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards. Dubbed the Messiah of Hip-Hop in Nigeria, he has helped to launch the music careers of many rappers like Ice Prince in Nigeria. He has gained international record for being a part of the vanguard of Afrobeat and in 2012 was named a UN Goodwill Ambassador.
#5 – ProVerb (South African)
A very talented man, ProVerb is a rapper, TV and radio presenter, a technical and content producer and a real estate agent. ProVerb (Tebigo Thesiko), began his rapping career in 199. His albums, The Book of Proverb, Manuscript and Write of Passage has brought him a lot of attention in South Africa
The rapper also hosts and produces his own show, The Pro-File. South Africans respect ProVerb for being the only rapper who does not include vulgar language in his music. He won the 2015 South African Hip Hop Awards for Hustler of the Year.
#4 – Phyno (Nigerian)
Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, stage name Phyno, raps, sings, writes and produces songs. He first entered the music scene as a producer in 2003 and in 2014 decided to go behind the microphone. His debut album No Guts No Glory, was released in 2014. The singles Ghost Mode, Man of the Year were very popular.
He has gone on to produce two more albums and a number of singles. In 2014, his single Parcel won him the Headies award for the Best Rap Song for the Year. In 2015 he received a nomination from MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Artiste of the Year for his song Himself
#3 – AKA (South African)
Dubbed Prince of South African Rap, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, AKA, is one of the most popular hip hop rappers and record producers in South Africa. He began his solo career in 2009 and has dropped hits like Mistakes and Do It. Awards he has received include the “Best Street Urban Music Album” and “Male Artist of the Year” at the 18th South African Music Awards (SAMA)
AKA album Levels went platinum in South Africa in May 2016. AKA has opened concerts for international rappers like Big Sean, Kanye and Kendrick Lamar. In 2014, he signed a multi-album deal with Sony in 2014. He has receive his third nomination for the Best International Act: Africa for the 2017 staging of the BET Awards.
#2 – Modenine (Nigerian)
ModeNine is an African rapper who spent his early years in London, England before he relocated to Nigeria. His first recorded album, IX Files was not well well received. A mixtape released in 2004 that brought him to the attention of music lovers in Nigeria.
His second album Pentium I boosted his popularity and gave him international recognition. Some of the most popular songs from this album are Rock on and Lagos State of Mind. He has been the recipient of three Channel O Awards and has performed along international artiste and fellow African, Akon.
#1 – Sarkodie (Ghanaian)
Micheal Owusu Addo, Sarkodie, is one of them most popular and celebrated rappers out of Ghana. He has a degree in Graphic design and is the owner of the clothing line, Sark by Yas. He released his debut Album Makye, however, it was his first single, Baby that skyrocketed his popularity.
Samsung Electronics selected him to be their Brand Ambassador in 2012. Among the many awards, he has won is the 2012 BET Awards for Best International Act: Africa. He has performed alongside international artistes such as Miguel, Movado, Trey Songz and Ludacris. He has toured North America, Europe and has performed at many sold-out concerts.