The best afrobeats songs of 2020 were created in studios from Lagos to Johannesburg, Accra to London. Master KG had the biggest song out of the Africa with a surprise gospel-influenced gqom beat single, radios, playlists and airplays were dominated by Omah Lay and Olamide, and Mayorkun finally went from a B-list artist into one who started showing A-list characters.
On exploring afrobeats, you’re bound to hear an exciting but indefinable sound that isn’t quite like anything you’ve come across before. Infectious beats and instrumentals—that is the irresistible rhythm of the afrobeats, this most eclectic sounds in world that has been producing some incredible music and global hits in the recent years. It mixes rap everything from rap and dancehall to R&B and house with African-style rhythms. There’s a whole lot happening at the forefront of African music’s vibrant scene. These are the top 20 afrobeats anthems of 2020 that kept people dancing from the streets of Africa and beyond. Every playlist is crying out for an afrobeats song or two—if you like a track, add it to your library.
20. Olamide feat. Bad Boy Timz – Loading
Released as a single concurrently with its October 8, 2020 parent album, Carpe Diem, Loading sees Olamide good on his promise to create a global afrobeats banger. The dizzying array of viral dance challenges gave the Nigerian rapper his long due global recognition. Viral TikTok dance that even made the song a hit in several countries. Spiritual ginger!
19. NSG – OT Bop
18. Simi – Duduke
That’s why my heart e Dey beat like
Coz na you I choose o
Ayanfe mi ayanfe
I sing for you and I be like
Baby Na you I go pick o
Ayanfe mi Ayanfe
This song—a dedication to her unborn child, and women praying to be mothers. According to the Simi, Duduke, means the beat of a heart or drum. In the song, she uses an afrobeats instrumental beat to describe her heartbeat for her unborn child.
17. Diamond Platnumz feat. Koffi Olomide – Waah!
Diamond Platnumz, the Bongo Flava king recruits Koffi Olomide, the longtime soukous bandleader and a best-selling artist as they show off their solo gems and flaunt their exceptional hit making prowess on afrobeats inspired Waah!. Everyone involved on this song knows what they’re doing and they do it simply well. There is an effortlessness to these twin hurricanes that are all-stars Diamond Platnumz and Koffi Olomide when they at their best and this collaboration showcases well, which the production and visuals matches. Waah! remains our favorite dance video of 2020. Play and dance to this whenever you need good vibes!
16. Burna Boy – Way Too Big
15. Cheque – Zoom
On his debut EP Razor, Cheque broke into the scene with his chart-topping breakout hit Zoom. When it comes to sing-rap in the afrobeats scene, nothing quite matches the incredible fusion of sing-rap and afrobeats music that he so perfected on Zoom.
14. Young T & Bugsey feat. Headie One – Don’t Rush
The legendary duo Young T & Bugsey are pretty much guaranteed to feature on any afrobeats party playlist of 2020, and their classic tune Don’t Rush featuring Headie One couldn’t be a better choice to get people in the mood to dance and have a good time. Don’t Rush remains of the biggest afrobeats inspired songs of 2020, thanks to the “Don’t Rush” Challenge on TikTok & Instagram that exploded on social media.
13. Rema – Woman
Despite being born in year 2000, Rema, the Nigeria native singer, songwriter and rapper has already carved out a successful career in afrobeats music, and Woman is one of his most popular songs and top songs of 2020. And remains the best Nigerian/afrobeats redemption to the South-African birthed Amapiano genre.
12. Naira Marley – As E Dey Go
Naira Marley is amongst the most influential figures in afrobeats right now, and As E Dey Go is one of the best-known songs he has produced so far, and made it to the afrobeats songs of 2020. In a pandemic 2020, this record reaffirmed his presidency as head the leader of the Marlian-theme lifestyle.
11. Omah Lay – Damn
Of all the breakout afrobeats songs of 2020, Damn played in every radio and playlist all over Africa. Making everyone fall in love with the new generation afrobeats sounds. It even had a remix with 6lack, attracting new listeners to the genre.
10. Olamide feat. Omah Lay – Infinity
Prior to the release of Carpe Diem his eleventh studio album of Nigerian rapper, Olamide wasn’t exactly known for his slow-burning, laid-back cuts. But Infinity helped prove his versatility, as he held court with No. 1 hottest Nigerian artist of 2020 that is Omah Lay, whom delivered succinct display of just what make him such all-star MVP in his rookie season in the current afrobeats scene. In the canon of great afrobeats songs, P.Prime produced an instant classic record.
9. Mayorkun – Geng
It only took four months into 2020 for Mayorkun to run amuck on the afrobeats scene with the release of his new single Geng and set the precedent for a new slang with the refrain set awon Geng. The record took life of its own with the Geng challenge on social media, and birthed notable remixes from artists from Africa to the UK.
As one of the hottest Nigerian acts of 2020, a strong case could be made that Mayorkun finished the year as afrobeats’ most hardworking artists in 2020. He followed Geng with several hits including Of Lagos and Betty Butter and Your Body. He became the most potent feature of 2020 in afrobeats music scene. This was proven over and over again with his impressive run as he consistently dominated features while also guaranteeing visibility through streams social media engagements. His list of collaborators in 2020 includes Davido, Lil Frosh, Bad Boy Timz, Chike, Jamopyper, ECool, DJ Kaywise and more. This bread no be agege!
8. Bella Shmurda feat. Zlatan & Lincoln – Cash App
Buckle-up-and-enjoy-the-ride streets rollercoaster, Bella Shmurda’s Cash App is a smash afrobeats banger masquerading as zanku rap rager. By enlisting Zlatan, and Lincoln, the breakout superstar creates a hybrid street team eager to bounce back and secure more bags. Zlatan and Lincoln’s ginger vibe resonated with down-but-not-out hustlers, as it became a top 20 afrobeats hit on our top songs of 2020. The record remains a key piece of Bella Shmurda‘s breakout year.
7. DJ Tunez feat. Wizkid, Adekunle Gold & Omah Lay – PAMI
Having scored a monster contagious hit song with Wande Coal in 2016’s Iskaba, once again Wizkid and Starboy Entertainment’s official DJ proved his hit making prowess with PAMI. All-stars Wizkid, Adekunle Gold and Omah Lay, each of whom delivers succinct displays of just what make them such singular characters in the African music scene. The relentless melodious hook in this modern afrobeats highlife-pop bop from Nigeria and USA based DJ-producer DJ Tunez sounds like it could go on forever, and it should. The track is just as infectious when grooving in your living room or doing house chores, solidifying DJ Tunez as one of afrobeats bona fide hitmakers.
6. Davido feat. Popcaan – Risky
Risky was a viral sensation even before the Nigerian heavyweight superstar, Davido recruited Popcaan, the Jamaican patois crooner to create a smash. Forget everything else for a moment the next time that you listen to Risky and just focus on it being Davido’s and Popcaan at their very best risking it all for big waist and fine face.
5. DJ Neptune feat. Joeboy & Mr Eazi – Nobody
DJ Neptune wasn’t taking no prisoners when he assembled Joeboy and Mr Eazi for this continental hit. Of all the top afrobeats songs of 2020, Nobody played in every club and radio all over Africa and transcended the continent. The song had several versions from Latin to French to the Caribbean, and it even had an Amapiano version. The worldwide remixes demonstrated just how wide-ranging the afrobeats genre is becoming.
4. Wande Coal – Again
With sweet R&B chords, afro-pop drums, and the powerful Wande Coal vocals, Again slid into the top spots on the afrobeats playlists and charts with ease and maintained airplays throughout the year because it’s just a classic afrobeats banger. The Nigerian singer at the top of his game dropping melodic love lyrics with brevity and bravery in harmony. Wande Coal is a legend.
3. Fireboy DML – Vibration
The Nigerian singer and songwriter who really needs no introduction – the hit machine that is Fireboy DML. This afrobeats superstar has a number of massive hits to his name, including Scatter, Tattoo and, of course, the global smash hit Vibration. This track solidified Fireboy’s reputation as the hottest artist in afrobeats right now.
2. Omah Lay – Bad Influence
Omah Lay released What Have We Done in November, capping off a breakout year where his smash single, Bad Influence peaked at Number One on all the 2020 afrobeats charts and playlists. With two projects in his rookie season Get Layd (May 2020), and What Have We Done (November 2020), Omah Lay, the bad body of new skool afrobeats showed he has enough to compete on the genre’s highest levels. And with his strategic collaborations with Olamide, 6lack, and DJ Tunez, Omah Lay proved he was more than capable of leading as well as assisting, as he held the court with some of the genre’s heavyweights. He’s unanimously crowned the Nigerian hottest act of 2020 and the top breakout artist of the year.
1. Master KG feat. Burna Boy & Nomcebo Zikode – Jerusalema (Remix)
Jerusalema was the anthem of 2020. In a year defined pandemic and how preternaturally awful things can actually get — this song served as an uplifting tool to many during the isolation and loss caused by COVID-19 lockdowns. The original Jerusalema was a smash with an upbeat gospel-influenced gqom instrumentals, but the remix lends it additional texture to make it totally delectable. Jerusalema, the global smash hit produced by South African DJ Master KG, sees Nomcebo Zikode and Burna Boy calling for peace and unity in our communities – a world where peace, love, and happiness reign.
It is the biggest and most popular song out of Africa in 2020. The song trended like wildfire on social media and birthed the #JerusalemaChallenge and #JerusalemaDanceChallenge on TikTok and Instagram. Many countries took part in the challenge, including the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Spain, France, Jamaica, Canada, the United States and Israel, of course, in Jerusalem itself.
Views of the song grew in large numbers daily (as we publish this article it has racked up a whopping 300 million views for the song’s occupational playing visual on YouTube).
Jerusalema and its celebratory dance leaves a mark as the song that helped millions of people all over the world cope with the endless uncertainty, tragedy and anxiety of 2020. The song has spawned various covers from all over the world with different instruments and sung in a variety of languages.
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