SA Afro Pop Music is Taking Over the World

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Afro pop music is having a moment right now, with artists like Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Mr Eazi leading the charge. Here’s why this genre is taking over the world.


Afro-pop music from South Africa is taking over the world. The genre has produced some of the biggest hits in recent years, and its unique sound is quickly gaining popularity with music fans around the globe.

Afro-pop is a fusion of traditional African sounds with modern pop sensibilities, and the results are often infectious and irresistible. The genre has produced some of the biggest hits in recent years, including “Wololo” by Latin Grammy winner Daddy Yankee, “Maka Maka” by Congolese superstar Fally Ipupa, and “Themba” by Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie.

With its mix of catchy melodies and authentic African flavor, it’s no wonder that Afro-pop is gaining a global following. So if you’re looking for something new and exciting to listen to, be sure to check out some of the best Afro-pop artists from South Africa.

The Birth of Afro Pop

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti is considered the father of Afrobeat, and his influence on modern music is undeniable. Kuti was born in Nigeria in 1938 and was exposed to a wide range of music while growing up. He began playing the saxophone at a young age and went on to study music at the Trinity College of Music in London. It was during this time that he began to experiment with fusing traditional Nigerian music with jazz and funk. The result was a unique sound that came to be known as Afrobeat.

Kuti was a political activist as well as a musician, and his music often reflected his social and political views. He was arrested numerous times by the Nigerian government for his outspokenness, but he continued to make music that spoke to the people. In 1997, he was awarded the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, cementing his place in music history.

Today, Afrobeat is enjoyed by people all over the world, and its influence can be heard in many different genres of music. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out some of Kuti’s classic albums like “Expensive Shit” and “Africa 70.”

Paul Simon

Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American musician, singer, songwriter and actor. Simon’s musical career has spanned seven decades with his fame and commercial success beginning as half of the duo Simon & Garfunkel (originally known as Tom & Jerry), which was formed in 1956 with Art Garfunkel. Simon was responsible for writing nearly all of the pair’s songs including three that reached number one on the U.S. singles charts: “The Sound of Silence”, “Bridge over Troubled Water” and “Cecilia”.

With his 1986 album Graceland, Simon introduced South African musical style to a wider audience. Starting in the 1990s,Simon began a successful solo career, releasing studio albums that featured contributions from a wide range of artists including Brian Eno, Sting, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Yaakov Levy. His work frequently explored African-influenced music and drew on his life experience growing up in New Jersey as part of an ethnically diverse lower middle-class family.

In May 1965, he married actress and singer Peggy Harper; they had one son, Harper Simon (born October 7, 1972), before divorcing in 1983. His second marriage was to actress Carrie Fisher in September 1992; they had no children and divorced in July 2003.

The Rise of Afro Pop

Angélique Kidjo

Angélique Kidjo is a Beninese singer-songwriter, actress, and activist who is considered one of the best Afro pop artists in the world. She has won multiple Grammy Awards and is known for her powerful vocal range and her ability to fuse traditional African music with elements of Western pop music. Her music is often political, and she has been an outspoken critic of the government of Benin. She has also been a UNICEF goodwill ambassador since 2002.

Youssou N’Dour

Youssou N’Dour is a Senegalese singer, songwriter, composer, occasional actor, businessman, and politician. In 2004, Rolling Stone described him as, “perhaps the most famous singer alive” in Senegal and much of Africa. From April 2012 to September 2013, he was Senegal’s Minister of Tourism.

N’Dour was born in Dakar to a Wolof mother and a Serer father. His mother was a market vendor who sold vegetables in the streets of Dakar. N’dour’s paternal grandfather was a photographer who had left the village of Lima in Grand-Bassam in Ivory Coast to find work in Dakar. He sings mostly in Wolof but is also proficient in other languages including French, English and Arabic.

N’Dour started performing at age 12 on instruments including congas and early on won reputation as a talented singer. He was discovered by the general public when he sang with Orchestre Baobab after winning an amateur radio singing contest on radio Dakar made his professional debut two years later with his own band Super Étoile de Dakar which rose to prominence playing Afro-Cuban rhythms mixed with traditional Senegalese mbalax drumming and call-and-response vocals.

The New Wave of Afro Pop


Afro pop music has been taking the world by storm and Nigerian singer Wizkid is one of the artists leading the way. Born in Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria, Wizkid (real name Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun) grew up surrounded by music. His father was a Christian traditionalist who loved highlife music and his mother was a fan of R&B and afrobeats. From a young age, Wizkid was exposed to a wide range of influences that would later shape his sound.

After releasing a couple of singles, Wizkid shot to fame in 2010 with the release of his debut album, Superstar. The album’s lead single, “Holla at Your Boy,” became an instant hit in Nigeria and across Africa. Since then, Wizkid has gone on to release several more successful singles and albums, cementing his place as one of the biggest names in afro pop.

Wizkid’s music is a unique blend of afrobeats, R&B, pop, and hip-hop that is sure to get you moving. If you’re looking for something new to add to your playlist, be sure to check out Wizkid’s latest album, Sounds from the Other Side.


Davido is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born in Atlanta and raised in Lagos, Davido studied business administration at Oakwood University before Dropping out to make music. He rose to prominence after releasing “Back When”, the lead single from his debut studio album Omo Baba Olowo (2012), which was certified 6 times platinum by the Recording Industry of Nigeria (RIN).

In 2013, Davido won the Next Rated award at The Headies. Between 2015 and 2016, he released the singles “How Long”, “Dodo”, “The Sound”, and “Gbagbe Oshi”, all of which peaked within the top 10 of the Billboard World Digital Songs chart. In April 2020, Davido surpassed Wizkid as Africa’s most streamed artist on Spotify. On 15 July 2020, he became the first African artist to amass one billion streams for a single song on Apple Music with his 2017 hit song “Fall”.


In conclusion, it is evident that SA Afro Pop music is quickly gaining popularity all over the world. The genre has a unique sound that is appealing to many people, and it seems that the trend is only going to continue. With more and more artists beginning to gain recognition, it seems likely that SA Afro Pop music will only become more popular in the years to come.

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