Rap is one of the popular music genres in Africa. Although Afrobeat is the continent’s biggest sound export, the best rappers in Africa continue to get global recognition. Popular record labels such as Sony and Def Jam are increasingly making inroads in the continent in search of more rap talents.
Who is the best rapper in Africa right now? Unlike other music genres, rappers are diverse and differently skilled. Therefore, it is hard to pinpoint the best rapper at any given point.
10 best rappers in Africa right now
Africa has a lot to offer to those who love hip hop and rap music. If you are a fan, these are the best African rappers to listen to right now.
1. Nasty C
Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo, commonly known as Nasty C, is arguably the best rapper in South Africa. The 23 years old (as of 2020) is also the first rapper from the continent to be under Def Jam and Universal Music Group.
The Durban-born rapper has a diverse discography. Nasty C’s four albums and one mixtape are a testament to his versatility as a wordsmith. However, his 2020 release, Zulu Man with Some Power, is a critically acclaimed album.
Besides his global recognition, Nasty C is a skilled rapper. For example, the 2018’s freestyle on Tim Westwood TV is arguably one of the channel’s best sessions.
2. Khaligraph Jones
Khaligraph Jones is a talented rapper from Nairobi, Kenya. Although the rapper has been in the industry for the past decade, he became a continental superstar in 2016. Since then, Khaligraph has proved his writing prowess, especially when the world is scouting for African talents.
Besides his vast following, Khaligraph is one of the best African rappers, thanks to his wordplay and writing style. Even though his subject matter is repetitive and predictable, the Kenyan rapper has a smart way of retelling stories.
Currently, Khaligraph has one album and several mixtapes. He has also hinted that he is finishing his second album, which is more likely to come out soon.
3. Cassper Nyovest
Cassper Nyovest is a South African record producer and rapper. Although he does not rap in English like most artists, he has managed to keep his continental fans glued to his songs.
His song Doc Shebeleza is considered a blueprint for African rap. Since his 2014 hit release, Cassper Nyovest has consistently put out music that resonates with millions of fans. However, his delivery as a rapper has matured. Cassper’s work has been a testimony of his growth as a musician.
In addition to millions of followers from social media, Cassper Nyovest is the first rapper in Africa to fill a stadium. For most hip-hop lovers, this was a sign that he is one of the best rappers in Africa.
4. Sho Madjozi
Sho Madjozi is a female rapper from South Africa. Thanks to the internet and her biggest song yet, John Cena, Sho is one of the most famous African rappers in the past two years. The hit song opened doors for the young artist to tour the world and launch her career.
Sho Madjozi’s work ethic is unmatched, especially considering she has been in the commercial music space for less than five years. While she has not compiled any work, Sho has many features –some with the best musicians on the continent.
Apart from her skills as a rapper, Sho is famous for her fusion of Swahili and English. Also, her bubble-gum lyrics make her songs comical and memorable.
Born Michael Owusu Addo, Sarkodie is a rapper and entrepreneur from Ghana. Although Afrobeat dominates West Africa’s music scene, the rapper has defined all norms to become a key entertainer in the region. Thanks to his consistency, Vodafone Ghana Music Award gave him the award for “Artiste of the Decade.”
The rapper’s major hits are collaborations with other artists. For example, Adonai featuring Castro is his biggest song yet.
Apart from being a skilled rapper, Sarkodie is one of the richest rappers in Africa. He often shares pictures of his cars and houses on his official Instagram page.
Kiernan Jarryd, alias AKA, is a record producer and one of Africa’s most influential rap artists. While the South African rap star has created many controversies on Twitter in the past few years, his 2020 EP, Bhovamania, has received impressive reviews.
His 2014 album — Alter Ego — is one of the best rap albums by an African rap artist. The singles from the album are culture shapers, especially in a continent that has a young rap industry.
Besides being one of the top African rappers in terms of influence, AKA has been nominated in different global awards. He was one of the nominees for the Best international act in the 2019 BET Awards.
Falz, born Folarin Falana, is a versatile rapper from Nigeria. Unlike most rappers in Africa, he is not afraid to use indigenous sounds in his work. While this approach to creating music has worked against some talented rappers, Falz has successfully created an alternative rap sound.
Even though Falz has been an active musician for decades, his eureka moment happened when he recreated This Is America by the American rapper, Childish Gambino. This is Nigeria was not only entertaining but an essential piece of activism.
Since then, Falz has worked with prominent artists in Nigeria and outside his country. His biggest single yet is Soldier, in which he featured SIMI.
Phyno is a Nigerian rap artist who started recording music in 2003. After gaining a massive following in his country, the artist became a continental star in 2014. Since then, Phyno has released six albums, which are all rap classics. The 34-year-old rapper is rumoured to be working on his seventh album.
Phyno is one of the few African rap artists that consistently use African language in his raps. For example, his biggest song yet, Fada Fada featuring Olamide, is purely in Igbo. His use of language makes him a unique rap artist.
Octopizzo is a versatile Kenyan rapper. Born Henry Ohanga, the rapper is a product of Nairobi’s vibrant rap battles. However, he has evolved from an MC to one of East Africa’s rap icons.
While most rappers are reluctant to experiment with different sounds such as Trap, the Kenyan artiste has used trends in the hip-hop scene to sharpen his skills. All his seven albums are different in terms of sounds and subject matter. His 2020 album — Jungle Fever — fuses Benga with rap.
10. Roma Mkatoliki
Ibrahim Mussa, alias Roma Mkatoliki is a Tanzanian rap artist. He is part of ROSTAM, which is a duo rap group. However, in the last two years, they have been doing a lot of solo projects.
His biggest song, Zimbabwe, was heavily played in continental music channels such as MTV and Channel O. Since then, Roma has released some solo projects and collaborations with Khaligraph and Lady Jay Dee.
While the debate of who is the most skilled hip-hop artist is not ending soon, the best rappers in Africa continue to redefine the rap sound. Some rappers infuse African sounds in their raps, while others use different languages to create music. These factors make African rap one of the best forms of hip-hop to listen to in the 21 century.
Rap is more than just adding a verse to a song. As this art keeps evolving, one thing that is noticeable in every generation is the fastest rappers. As a result, Tuko.co.ke has curated a list of the top 10 fastest rappers in the world.
Many fans differ in opinion when it comes to settling for the fastest rapper. However, the best way to rank fast rappers is by counting the syllables uttered per minute. Find out which rappers have been consistent at dropping more syllables per minute.