The 20 best Afrobeats albums of 2023

We present the best Afrobeats albums of 2023 in the Afrobeats calendar year of January 2023 to November 2023.

The success of 2022 received a boost in 2023. This boosting was accomplished through streams, concerts, TikTok challenges, and other means. Global award bodies took notice, and award categories catering to the Afrobeats market were created.

It has been a year full of more successes than failures; whatever the Nigerian and perhaps African artists did in 2022 is doubled and sometimes tripled. In the list below, the team at NotJustOK has compiled a list of the top 20 bodies of work released in 2023. It’s a delicate combination of full-length albums and short forms.

From the top-charting Seyi Vibez and Odumodublvck to the unexpected success of Pluto President and then to the Grammy Awards-nominated Davido’s Timeless and Burna Boy’s I Told Them, let us take a deep dig into this prestigious list.

20. Maverick

Artist -Kizz Daniel

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Country – Nigeria

Label – Flyboy INC/Empire Records.

Date of Release – July 27, 2023

Months after the release of the critically acclaimed Barnabas EP, superstar Kizz Daniel makes a return with his fourth studio album, Maverick. With a total of fourteen supporting artists, Kizz Daniel takes the fans through genres like R&B, Afrobeats, and others. At the end of the album, Kizz Daniel’s signature style is restated, and his undying legendary status remains unshakeable. The album features some of the old hits like Buga Won, Cough, Rich Till I Die, and others.

19. Unruly

Artist -Olamide

Country – Nigeria

Label – YBNL Nation/Empire records.

Date of Release – August 8, 2023

Olamide has claimed this album might be his last, maybe for now. After more than a decade of releasing albums, the YBNL founder is taking a back seat, monitoring and supporting his young artists like Fireboy and Asake. Truly, Unruly, was expected to be the finest parting gift. On this album, Olamide brings his sonic arsenal to play as he smartly switches between street music and R&B. He gives the listener the old Olamide and the 2020s version of him. The featured artists all fell into the mid-section of the album, with the previously released Triumphant featuring Ckay leading the pack, swiftly followed by a collaboration with Rema, Asake, and BNXN. The first five and last attacks find the artist solely singing and rapping. Already a legend in the music industry, Olamide has nothing to prove; if anyone was still in doubt, Unruly laid such thought to the bin.

18. The More The Better

Artist -Tekno

Country – Nigeria

Label – Tekno

Date of Release – September 1, 2023

Alhaji Tekno has been in a’see-saw’ relationship with the Nigerian music industry. His years of ill health and negative reviews of his debut album, Old Romance, might have been some of the factors. In 2023, the US-based artist reached into his music box and drafted out an album that became the talk of the town. Correctly titled The More The Better, the album finds the artist leveraging his strength across myriad genres. With fellow artist Ckay being the only featured guest, Tekno subtly makes it known that he is self-sufficient.  The More The Better, adequately shows the mastery of Tekno as a producer and his versatility as a singer.

17. Fountain Baby

 Artist – Amaarae

Country – Ghana/USA

Label – Golden Angel LLC/ Interscope Records.

Date of Release – June 9, 2023

Amaarae is slowly making her way into the next legend in the African music industry. The viral success of Sad Girlz Luv Money, has led to her name coming up in conversations. She has been doubling up with the release of albums, first, The Angel You Don’t Know, and the recent Fountain Baby. It is all shades of enthusiasm mixed with a plethora of sonic experimentation by the artist. No wonder the fans have been lamenting about her omission from the 2023 Grammy list. With the way she is going, Amaarae would get the Grammy Award nod one day.

16. Ru To The World

 Artist – Ruger

Country – Nigeria

Label – Jonzing World Entertainment

Date of Release – Sept 1, 2023

Ruger’s exceptional musical strength and his innate ability to create mega-hits shine through on his debut album. Aptly titled Ru The World, Truly, the left-eye signature patch artist is here to take his craft to the world. He has been doing it since his first eponymous extended play release to the other singles released thereafter and now to Asiwaju and then this album. It has been a rollercoaster of successes, which is cemented with the release of this album. The seventeen-track album only had support from five featured artists who all came through with their A-one delivery.

15. Ravage

Artist – Rema

Country – Nigeria

Label – Mavin Global Holdings/ Jonzing World Entertainment

Date of Release – Oct 27, 2023

The success of the 2022 Calm Down remix continues into 2023; it became the first Afrobeats song to reach a billion streams on Spotify. Superstar Rema attempts to solidify this success with a five-track extended play.  At just fourteen minutes long, Rema delivers a brief project that posits him as a skilled artist and as a musician soon to take up legendary status in the music industry. He is arguably the heir to the legacy of the “big three”; Wizkid, Burna Boy, and Davido.

Rema’s message is loud and clear, he is a music star who is here to stay. The success of “Calm Down” has not come without a cost, and Ravage is a beautiful attempt at solidifying his burgeoning legacy.

14.      Sincerely Benson 

Artist – Bnxn

Country – Nigeria

Label – T.Y.E. / Empire Records.

Date of Release – Oct 4, 2023

The name changed, yet the music kept getting better, like fine wine. Bnxn has had his share of snide comments and abuse from fans and critics. This album became a means for him to level up and put such talk to a dead end. Sincerely, Benson, whose fifteen-track album features just five guests,  perhaps Bnxn seems to be telling the naysayers that he is no longer the guy who leveraged more on collaboration. He works around his strength to score some potential hits on this album. The song Pidgin & English has been regarded as one of the fan’s favourites. Sincerely, Benson is an audacious move by Bnxn, a beautiful and delicate mix of sounds.

13. Planet Pluto 

Artist – Shallipopi

         Country – Nigeria

Label – Plutomania / Dvpper Music

Date of Release – Jul 14, 2023

Except if you are living under a rock, you would have heard, “They call me Shallipopi,” somewhere in Nigeria. With two smash hits under his belt, Shallipopi released his debut extended play, Planet Pluto. Both previously released singles formed the backbone of this EP, Elon Musk, pays tributes to the Billionaire and X owner, Elon Musk while Ex-Convict, addresses Shallipopi’s plight with men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), humorously called them Men in Red. Oba Pluto, which opens the EP features the Edo State legend, Monday Edo, from the title and the theme of the song,  Shallipopi laid unofficial claim to his ‘Pluto’ territory.

12       Thy Kingdom Come 

Artist – Seyi Vibez

Country – Nigeria

Label – Vibez Inc/ Dvpper Music

Date of Release – Jun 23, 2023

Seyi Vibez continues his sonic incursion into the music industry with the release of three bodies of work in 2023. As early as January 2023, the artist already released Memory Card,  In June, he released Thy Kingdom Come, and Vibe Till Thy Kingdom Come. 

The ten-track Thy Kingdom Come, features South African artist Ami Faku, and Nigerian rapper Phyno with the EP producing the top charting Man of the Year, a heartfelt soulful track; a mix of Fuji and Amapiano. This album is the trademark Seyi Vibez album. A slew of genres complement one another on this project.

11.  Eziokwu

Artist – Odumodublvck

Country – Nigeria

Label – Native Records/ Def Jam Recordings

Date of Release – Oct 6, 2023

Odumodublvck is one of the artists who became a force to be reckoned with in the music industry in 2023. Holding on to the success of his single Declan Rice, and other collaborations, the rapper released a mixtape, Eziokwu. It features a slew of collaborators; there are so many that you sometimes feel the mixtape is called a collaborative project. With his hit single Declan Rice, serving as the lead single for the project, Eziokwu is Odumodublvck’s attempt at cementing his place in the music industry. With the recent success of Blood on the Dance Floor, the experiment seems to be working for good.

10. Blessed 

Artist – Mohbad

Country – Nigeria

Label – Imolenization/ ONErpm

Date of Release – June 30, 2023

Blessed, the first project released by Mohbad after his raucous exit from Marlian Music finds the artist going deep into his soul to draft some thought-provoking songs. The samples of the opening track Beast and Peace, are taken from Wande Coal’s Ololufe, the opening laid the foundation for the remaining seventeen, which take the listeners through Mohbad state of mind: his distrust in friends, the enemies surrounding him, and his battle with some of his adversaries. The project is projected to be regarded as a classic in years to come.

9. Gangster Romantic 

Artist – Lojay

Country – Nigeria

Label – Koratori recordings

Date of Release – Mar 3, 2023

GANGSTER ROMANTIC might be called a concept project. It’s a departure from the gentle and loving Lojay on LV N ATTN. This time around, Lojay is more forceful. He requests what he wants and unashamedly calls for sex when he likes. It doesn’t get more “gangster” than this. Lojay sticks to the title of this project through its sultry seven tracks. And he delivers. GANGSTER ROMANTIC restates the versatility of Lojay. After releasing LV N ATTN two years ago,  GANGSTER ROMANTIC depicts Lojay in a fresh dimension. The storytelling, art cover design, lettering, features, mixing and mastering, etc. all spill together to form this beautiful project that looks set to stand the test of time. While fans and critics look forward to the elusive debut album, for now, GANGSTER ROMANTIC stands as an exemplary tentative gift.

8. Rave & Roses Deluxe 

Artist – Rema

Country – Nigeria

Label – Mavin Global Holdings/ Jonzing World Entertainment

Date of Release – Apr 28, 2023

With the increase in streams of the Calm Down remix, Rema and his management deem it fit to leverage such a feat with the release of a deluxe version of his album. This updated album has six new tracks. The six tracks are scattered on the album; perhaps this is just to give the listeners an awesome sound mix. Rave & Roses Ultra is an attempt by Rema to further push his global sonic ambition to a new height.

7.  Trench To Triumph 

Artist – Crayon

Country – Nigeria

Label – Mavin Global Holdings/ Blowtime Entertainment

Date of Release – Jul 21, 2023

Four years after he was introduced to the Nigerian music industry, Crayon finally had his biggest break with Ijo Laba Laba.  The artist has not refrained from gushing about this big moment in his life on X. The release of his Trench To Triumph album further helps in restating his skill as an artist, quenches the narrative of a one-hit maker and in a way wins him more fans. Ngozi, the hit track alongside Ayra Starr, has become the fan’s favourite. On the song,  both artists leverage on each other to score a heartfelt track. Trench to Triumph remains one of the most cohesive albums released in 2023.

6. Body & Soul 

Artist – Joeboy

Label – emPawa African Limited

Country – Nigeria

Date of Release – May 19, 2023

Joeboy, one of the stars of Mr Eazi’s EmPawa initiative, has already made a name for himself. From his 2020 hit Baby, down to Alcohol, and then the single Body & Soul, the artist had his hand full. He remains one of the new generational stars to note in the music industry. Body and Soul, his sophomore album, is a dash between R&B and Afrobeats with the singer delivering a lot of soul-searching tunes. With seven guests on the album, Joeboy still makes it alluring listening to him as he shows the mettle he is made of via his dexterity with sounds and genres.

5. Boy Alone Deluxe 

Artist – Omah Lay

Country – Nigeria

Label – KeyQaad

Date of Release – Jun 15, 2023

Curated on his experience with heartbreak, depression, and anxiety, Omah Lay’s Boy Alone, finds him speaking to a large section of the audience who could relate to the plight he was experiencing. He updated the album with a deluxe version in 2023, which contains six new tracks. Rather than the six tracks being at the end, Omah Lay put them in the opening; this way, the listeners get to hear them first. The introspective Reason, leads the pack as the music stat asks the listeners a lot of Polak questions.

4.  Tequila Ever After

Artist – Adekunle Gold

Country – Nigeria

Label – Def Jam Recordings

Date of Release – Jul 28, 2023

Adekunle Gold kicks off his new deal with Def Jam Recordings with the release of Tequila Ever After, his fifth studio album.  The eighteen-track album features a slew of collaborators. Zinoleesky’s assisted Party No Dey Stop, served as the lead single for this album. Now streamed over 35 million times, the track laid the groundwork for much-needed anticipation for the album. And when it finally arrived, it met the needs of the listeners as AG Baby took the listeners on a fifty-minute journey. This album serves as one of the experimental tools explored by Adekunle Gold in his global intrusion journey.

3.  I Told Them 

Artist – Burna Boy

Country – Nigeria

Label – Spaceship Entertainment 

Date of Release – Aug 23, 2023

Burna Boy has never shied away from being proud of his craft and skill as a musician. He throws snide comments at naysayers and reminds them of their words when new feats are being achieved. He even takes it to a new level by titling his eighth project, I Told Them—an audacious title, you might say. Beyond featuring surprise acts like J. Cole and 21 Savage, the album finds Burna working with his friends and close associates in the music industry, Dave, and Seyi Vibez. It also contains vocal help from members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a group Burna Boy idolises. In I Told Them, Burna Boy addresses a myriad of issues surrounding his artistry, the Nigerian support for his craft, and his relationship with music industry players.

2. Work of Art 

Artist – Asake

Country – Nigeria

Label – YBNL Nation/Empire Records.

Date of Release – Jun 15, 2023

Asake continued his 2022 run into 2023, first with Yoga, and then 2:30, by the time he released Amapiano, featuring his boss Olamide, the tempo was already set for a new studio album. He swiftly followed through with the release of his second studio album, Work of Art. He holds the revered artist Jean-Michel Basquiat as inspiration for the title and perhaps the execution of the album. Lonely at the Top, remains the biggest song of the project. Through this album, Asake makes it known that his 2022 success was never a fluke.

1.  Timeless 

Artist – Davido

Country – Nigeria

Label – DMW/ Sony Music

Date of Release – Mar 30, 2023

Davido embarked on a five-month hiatus from music, but he came back solidly with a new album and titled it Timeless. Critics and fans already judged the album as Davido’s best album. Singles like Unavailable, Feel, and others are already topping charts around the globe. The Timeless tour is still on. Surely, Davido had one of his best runs in 2023. The release of Timeless and its recent recognition by Grammy awards is a further testament to his growth as an artist and a restatement of his skill as a versatile hitmaker.

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