Beyoncé blessed us with "Black is King" and just left us hanging. What are we supposed to do with our lives now, Bey?!
The companion piece to "The Lion King: The Gift” soundtrack gave us big African vibes. From the Nigerian and Ghanaian backdrops to the Afrofusion sounds and the choreography with hints of Gwara Gwara and Zanku, "Black is King" was a celebration of Pan-African culture.
If you want to keep that same energy, but have grown tired of having "The Gift" on repeat (as much as we all love Beyoncé, there are only so many times we can replay "MOOD 4 EVA"), here are 10 African artists you should add to your playlist.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as the continent is overflowing with talented artists, but it's a start to get you on your way to enriching your music library with a bit of African music.
Now go forth and Gbese!
Think of Tiwa Savage as the Beyoncé of Nigeria – she was featured on Queen Bey's song "Keys to the Kingdom," and her star power is undeniable.
The 40-year-old artist used to sing back up vocals for powerhouse singers like Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan before carving out a big name for herself in the Nigerian music industry and on the African continent.
Despite her queendom and large fan base (she has more than 11 million followers on Instagram), Savage remains humble, telling Billboard in a September interview, "I see myself as a new artist again who’s hustling. That’s my mentality. I don’t walk into a room expecting anyone to know who I am. I’m just here to get a seat at the table."
Aside from appearing on "Black is King," Savage most recently released "Koroba" and a music video for "Dangerous Love."
A post shared by Tiwa Savage ⚔️ (@tiwasavage) on Aug 11, 2020 at 3:31am PDT
After Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy is the biggest act to come out of Nigeria, though the man behind the "African Giant" album has seen more commercial traction in the United States than Savage.
Burna Boy, born Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu Rex, began gaining an audience with his debut album, "L.I.F.E (Leaving an Impact for Eternity)," but it was perhaps single "Ye" from his 2018 "Outside" album, that catapulted him to fame.
Since then, the 29-year-old artist performed at Coachella in 2019, was featured as a solo artist on Beyoncé's "Ja Ara E," and has secured a spot on Barack Obama's favorite songs of 2019 list, which some would say is a bigger feat than being nominated for a Grammy (which he was in 2019).
His latest project "Twice as Tall," which was released Thursday, was mostly recorded during the pandemic and produced by the iconic Diddy.
A post shared by Burna Boy (@burnaboygram) on Jul 5, 2020 at 12:50pm PDT
London born Berry, real name Maleek Shoyebi, was one of the voices behind one of 2017's unofficial summer anthems, "Juice."
The 32-year-old artist released an EP titled "Isolation Room" on July 31 – and it has a feature from Tiwa Savage.
Berry is also a producer (he was nominated for producer of the year at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards in 2014) and songwriter so it's no wonder that his songs are fire.
A post shared by Maleek Berry (@maleekberry) on Aug 10, 2020 at 1:13pm PDT
You couldn't walk into a club in 2019 and not hear Davido's "Fall" at one point in the night.
*Sings🎶: "Money fall on you, Banana fall on you, Prada fall on you oh, 'Cause, I'm in love with you ohhhh"*
The single, which was released in 2017, didn't see commercial success until two years later, when it ended up making history by being the longest-charting Nigerian song on Billboard.
"I’m just as surprised as everybody else (at ‘Fall”s belated success)," Davido, real name David Adeleke, told Rolling Stone in an April 2019 interview. "I released almost 10 records after ‘Fall.’ I’d forgotten about ‘Fall,’ basically."
The Atlanta-born, Nigerian-raised artist is right: He's gone on to have other catchy releases like "Risky" and "Blow My Mind," which features Chris Brown. He most recently lent his talents to singer Mayorkun's "Betty Butter."
A post shared by Davido Adeleke (@davidoofficial) on May 13, 2020 at 8:59am PDT
Aside from being an artist, Mdee is a television and radio personality as well as a judge on "East Africa's Got Talent."
The 32-year-old Tanzanian singer studied law at Catholic University of Eastern Africa, but decided to pursue music fulltime after her father died, according to her website.
Mdee sings in both English and Swahili, telling OkayAfrica in a 2019 interview that she does so because the language is "poetic" and the melodies are "harmonious… they just sound great to anyone's ear whether they understand the language or not – so it's very important for me to sing in Swahili."
A post shared by God’s Favorite 💫 (@vanessamdee) on Jul 2, 2020 at 12:56am PDT
Ya Levis is a fairly new artist, but the Congolese singer came out the gates swinging with his 2019 debut EP, "El Mayalove."
His music is mostly sung in French, and even after four years of exchanging "ça va biens" in high school, I haven't been able to decipher the lyrics as of yet. But you don't need to know what he's saying to know that the songs are bangers. The melody, the flow, the instrumentals – we are here for them all.
Levis, 25, was also nominated in three different categories for the African Muzik Magazine Awards in 2019. His father, who died when Ya Levis was 5, inspired him to get into music and his mother, who died in April, was a singer in the church, so he's been immersed in music since childhood.
Ya Levis this year released the single "Snapchat," and is gearing up to release his debut album in 2021.
Madjozi, real name Maya Wegerif,went viral with her single "John Cena" named after the famous wrestler.
During an interview with Kelly Clarkson in November, Madjozi said the song was inspired by her love for Cena.
"I grew up in a very rural area, Limpopo in South Africa, and there was one television in my village where we were growing up and we got to watch two TV shows. One was a local drama called 'Generations,' and the other one was wrestling," she said before adding that if she didn't go by her stage name, she probably would've gone by John Cena.
Madjozi's music and style is a celebration of her Tsonga heritage, and she sings across three languages: Xitsonga, Swahili and English.
A post shared by Maya (@shomadjozi) on Jun 30, 2020 at 9:10am PDT
The first thing you should know about Alade is that she's the genius behind the hit 2014 single "Johnny." Please listen before proceeding.
The 31-year-old Nigerian artist performed at "Global Goal: Unite for Our Future" in June, a virtual concert and summit aimed at raising awareness on the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism.
Aside from being featured in "Black is King," Alade's most recent work is a single she released this month titled "True Love." In true Alade fashion, it is everything.
A post shared by YemiAlade WOMAN OF STEEL (@yemialade) on Aug 12, 2020 at 5:24am PDT
Like Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi performed at Coachella in 2019. Speaking to Billboard in a May interview, Mr. Eazi credited the rise in African music's popularity to a renewed pride in being from the continent.
"There’s also a general wind of appreciation now for what being African is about: 'Hey, I’m African, it’s great to be African, and we’re flaunting it'," he said. "Back in the day, even in the villages you’d hear people singing Céline Dion. But now people are playing 99% Nigerian music because that’s what’s hip."
And Mr. Eazi's music is definitely hip as he blends Ghanaian and Nigerian musical styles.
A post shared by Don Eazi (@mreazi) on Jun 26, 2020 at 7:09am PDT
He's collaborated with Davido, Ne-Yo, Tiwa Savage, Rick Ross and fellow Tanzanian pop star Vanessa Mdee. His music is described as Bongo Flava, a style created in the East African country and influenced by different genres together.
Diamond Platnumz's last album, "A Boy from Tandale," was released in 2018, but he's been dropping singles well into 2020.
A post shared by SIMBA..!🦁 (@diamondplatnumz) on Aug 12, 2020 at 11:11am PDT
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Beyonce's 'Black is King': Burna Boy, Davido, more to stream now