Hip Hop and Rap music have been around for 50 years, seeing many shifts in production, distribution, and consumption. The internet is a key driver in helping shape the ever-evolving music industry and with the emergence of DSPs in the music streaming era, modern-day music listenership travels far and wide, reaching its audience almost instantly.
With the growing number of streaming platforms to choose from, Swedish-founded music company, Spotify has become one of the leading and trusted digital music services across the globe. With its user friendly interface, vast music library, personalized recommendations, user-curated playlists and much more, Spotify has helped various African rappers reach global markets and put them on the map.
With thousands of emcees in the African continent alone, here are the top 10 African rappers with the highest monthly Spotify listeners.
Olamide (Nigeria) – 3,540,854
Nigeria’s top indigenous rapper and label CEO, Olamide has been at the top of his game for over a decade and the YBNL boss isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. With 9 studio albums to his name and another on the way, Baddoo as he is sometimes called, has established an exceptional career for himself and cult following of supporters who can’t get enough of his music.
ElGrandeToto (Morocco) – 3,005,015
ElGrandeToto or Toto is a Moroccan rapper who performs in Darija, French, and English and is arguably the biggest artist from the North African country. Having started off in 2016, he seemingly became an overnight success which motivated him to work harder, ultimately reaching Moroccan mainstream success with 2 albums and countless single releases.
Blaqbonez (Nigeria) – 1,770,235
Currently one of the most hardworking Nigerian rappers, Blaqbonez is a master of his craft both in his music, release strategy, and comic personality. His large online following and listenership are a reflection of his star power and a testament to Hip Hop music still having a spot at the top of the Nigerian entertainment industry.
Black Sherif (Ghana) – 1,395,599
Disrupting the Ghanaian music scene and instantly breaking boundaries, the young and talented rapper from Konongo, Ghana, Black Sherif is flying the flag of the black star nation high globally. His unique sound is geared towards creating a mass cult following, with the end goal of creating a global icon.
Wegz (Egypt) – 1,215,472
Ahmed Ali, professionally known as Wegz, is an Egypt-born emcee raising the flag for Egyptian trap and Arabic Hip Hop. Since first starting out, Wegz has been experimental in his music, blending various sounds to create his own, and further promoting the growing Egyptian music scene as a voice for the youth.
ODUMODUBLVCK (Nigeria) – 1,262,026
Currently the most talked-about Nigerian rapper, Odumodublvck is living up to the hype with consistent releases and multiple features, with his hit song, Declan Rice amassing over 6 million streams already. As his debut EP nears completion, it’s safe to say his numbers will keep rising much as his status across the continent.
Nasty C (South Africa) – 1,009,778
Following his entry into the mainstream post the release of his debut album, Bad Hair in 2016, Nasty C‘s star rose to great heights though many had already anticipated it. Formerly David Junior Ngcobo, the 26-year-old rapper is a skilled emcee and one of the best in South Africa, having collaborated with the likes of T.I, Cassper Nyovest, Ari Lennox, Davido, and American Electro-dance music trio, Major Lazer in Junior’s most streamed collaboration, Particula.
Ice Prince (Nigeria) – 885,855
An OG in his own right and former vice president of Chocolate City, Nigerian rapper, Ice Prince has been around well before the streaming era took off and is still buzzing on the streaming platforms having served back to back hits in his prime. With 4 studio albums and an evergreen smash hit in Oleku, the Jos-born emcee bought his “super cool cat” energy to the Nigerian rap scene, paving the way for the new generation of rappers to thrive and be commercially successful.
Saudi (South Africa) – 807,880
Sawfside rapper, Saudi began building a name for himself in 2016 through single releases and crafting a unique sound. He dropped D.R.U.G.S Inc the following year under his former label, Ambitiouz Entertainment where he frequently collaborated with fellow label mates, Emtee and Sjava. In 2018, Saudi was offered the opportunity to feature in Schoolboy Q’s X from the Black Panther Album alongside 2Chainz which earned him international recognition and skyrocketed his listenership.
Marwan Moussa (Egypt) -796,390
Rapper/ producer and songwriter, Marwan Moussa has become one of the main influences in the growth of Egyptian Hip Hop in recent years. He explores the various elements of Egyptian rap and also expands his creativity through his lyrics and music visuals to appeal more to his growing audience.
Honorable mention: Sampa The Great (Zambia) – 712,535
Missing out the top 10 slightly and the only female who came close is award-winning Zambian singer-songwriter & rapper, Sampa The Great. Sampa released her debut album, The Return, following years of soul-searching and personal growth, which earned her many accolades and acknowledgments in the Australian music scene. The Zambian-born and Botswana-raised rapper’s unique musical style landed her an opportunity to have her song, Never Forget feature in the 2022 “Wakanda Forever” trailer – adding to her very long list of wins.