In search of the best African albums in 2023? Here you have it! So far, the year 2023 has been filled with vibrant and intriguing African melodies. The early half of the year saw an inflow of African records, some of which were commercially and acoustically exceptional, topping streaming charts and billboards while also setting new ground.
These albums have stood out from the crop, thanks to their genius A&R, public relations, artistic input/intent, and commercial success.
African music is fast taking flight in today’s social media-propelled ecosystem and it can only get better from here.
These are ten of the best African albums 2023 so far;
1. Nomfundo Moh – Ugcobo
South African singer, Nomfundo Moh released one of the most refreshing African sounds in recent times with her Sophomore musical project ‘Ugcobo’. The fourteen-track record is an avant-garde body of work that blends American rhythm and blues sonics with South African traditional music influences. The project is however heinously underrated but an apt representation of the general character of Africans to R&b music. Ugcobo’s acceptance however doesn’t diminish from its artistic genius.
2. Davido – Timeless
‘Timeless’ by Nigerian mega artist Davido is one of the most celebrated and anticipated bodies of works in 2023. Since its release on March 30, 2023, ‘Timeless’ has been able to live up to its hype becoming one of the longest charting albums of the year even setting new milestones in the process, Eg: The first African album to top the iTunes chart ever. The album also made the coveted Rolling Stones Best Album of 2023 (So far) list.
3. Amaarae – Fountain Baby
Amaarae’s ‘Fountain Baby’ has been hailed by many music critics, magazines, podcasts, and blogs. The Ghanaian singer and songwriter explored a lot of sonic experimentation in the critically acclaimed body of work. The sophomore album featured usual collaborators such as Kyusteed and Kz Didit.
4. Fatoumata Diawara – London Ko
Talented Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara dropped a resounding body of work in ‘London Ko’. The fourteen-track record is a pristine and vulnerable oeuvre that explores exotic African heritage storytelling. The body of work features a global combination of musicians with the likes of Yemi Alade, Manifest, Angie Stone, and Roberto Fonseca.
5. Stonebwoy – 5th Dimension
Stonebwoy’s ‘5th Dimension’ is a buoyant body of work that celebrates African pop, dancehall, and Western music influences. The Ghanaian artist’s fifth album is filled with hit singles and sleeper hits. It features the likes of Tiwa Savage, Oxlade, Shaggy, Davido, Dj Maphorisa, Angelique Kidjo, and more.
6. Asake – Work Of Art
The Sophomore body of work of Ahmed Ololade popularly known as Asake is an impressive follow-up from his 2022 Debut. ‘Work of Art’ has received both positive and negative reviews from music critics, with the majority tilting towards the former. The Artistic direction coupled with the sonic quality has made it one of the best African albums of the year so far.
7. Nkosazana Daughter – Uthingo Le Nkosazana
South Africa’s Nkosazana Daughter is one of the continent’s vocal powerhouse in very recent times and her debut full-length body of work ‘Uthingo Le Nkosazana’ proves it. The album is a soulful compilation of the mainstream Amapiano sound and features great African musical minds such as Master KG, Kabza De Small, and DJ Maphorisa.
8. Camidoh – L. I. T.A
Camidoh’s ‘L.I.T.A‘ is one of the vibrant African musical projects of the year 2023. The singer’s debut full-length album is his third studio project in only a year, proof of his work ethic and consistency.
9. A- Q – God’s Engineering 2
Nigerian rapper Gilbert Bani popularly known as A-Q has been a pillar of the Nigerian hip-hop scene in recent years. The rapper’s sixth studio project (excluding ‘Ethos’) ‘God’s Engineering 2‘ is one of the most honest and artistic bodies of work in 2023. ‘God’s Engineering’ is both a commercial and artistic success.
10. Vusi Mahlasela, Norman Zulu, Jive Connection – Face To Face
‘Face to Face’ is a modern-day portrayal of the collaborative works of Legendary South African musician Vusi Mahlasela, and Norman Zulu with Swedish band Jive Connection. The fourteen-track record is a groovy and sweet sonic adventure that greatly explores Jazz and early traditional South African apartheid offerings. An amazing project.