List of the Top 100 African Albums

Earlier this year, Apple Music unveiled their list of the 100 best albums, which received attention for being focused on North American and European music, overlooking African contributions.

Considering this, we asked our readers to help create a top 100 African albums list by sharing their picks through a social media callout.

After compiling the albums with the most mentions, we present below a selection of the top albums, each accompanied by a brief overview to demonstrate the diversity of the list, with no country being featured more than once.

Here are the 100 best African albums ever, chosen by TunesDeck’s readers.

Sun-El Musician – ‘Africa to the World’ [South Africa]

On his first studio album, Sun-El Musician showcases his unique sonic world, drawing from electronic music with original flourishes that create a soulful African sound. The album is a mesmerizing and nuanced journey through an almost dreamy landscape.

Orchestra Baobab – ‘Pirates Choice’ [Senegal]

‘Pirates Choice’ reflects the history and jazz-inflected sound of rumba, displaying the band’s precise arrangement and progressive musical style since their formation at the Baobab club in Dakar.

El Masreyeen – ‘Banat Keteer’ [Egypt]

El Masreyeen’s music revolutionized Egyptian music in the 1970s by focusing on themes relevant to everyday life, sung in Arabic with a minimalist and cool quality perfect for introspective moments.

Burna Boy – ‘African Giant’ [Nigeria]

Burna Boy’s ‘African Giant’ album pays homage to various Nigerian music traditions blending Afrobeat, fuji, reggae, R&B, and rap, establishing itself as a modern classic celebrating the continent’s musical diversity.

Papa Wemba – ‘Emotion’ [Democratic Republic of Congo]

Papa Wemba’s ‘Emotion’ album encapsulates the vibrant Congolese musical styles of rumba, soukous, and ndombolo, creating a passionate showcase of his unique singing and arrangement abilities.

Cesária Évora – ‘Miss Perfumado’ [Cape Verde]

Cesaria Evora’s ‘Miss Perfumado’ album showcases her emotive vocals in the coladeira and morna styles, offering a balance that delves deep into universal themes and the human condition.

Sauti Sol – ‘Afrikan Sauce’ [Kenya]

Sauti Sol’s ‘Afrikan Sauce’ stands out as an album that embodies the soulful essence of East African music, uniting various voices to create a cohesive and magical listening experience.

Richard Bona – ‘Scenes From My Life’ [Cameroon]

Cameroonian artist Richard Bona’s debut album, ‘Scenes From My Life,’ combines autobiographical elements with jazz grooves, offering a blend of ancient wisdom and contemporary knowledge.

Oliver Mtukudzi – ‘Nhava’ [Zimbabwe]

In ‘Nhava,’ Oliver Mtukudzi’s immersive album draws from the griots tradition, leading listeners on a captivating journey with masterful singing and precise musical arrangements.

Black Sherif – ‘The Villain I Never Was’ [Ghana]

**Black Sherif: A Trailblazer in West African Music**

Black Sherif’s music captures the essence of West African music with a fusion of Highlife vocal deliveries and drill-streaked production. His album, *The Villain I Never Was*, showcases his exceptional talent and artistry, making it a timeless classic.

**Fatoumata Diawara: An Intimate Journey through Mali**

Fatoumata Diawara’s self-titled album delves into the depths of personal experiences with intricate sounds that draw from the Southern Mali Wassoulou tradition. Collaborating with talented artists like Toumani Diabate and Guimba Kouyate, *Fatou* brings a rootsy and mesmerizing feel to listeners.

**Kenneth Mugabi: Soulful Reflections of Ugandan Life**

Kenneth Mugabi’s album, *People of the Land*, offers a soulful exploration of life in Uganda. With intimate vocals and grand soundscapes featuring local talents, Mugabi’s music serves as a poignant reminder of the artist’s societal role and the power of music.

**Bombino: Ethereal Sounds of Niger**

Bombino’s album, *Deran*, recorded at a prestigious studio in Morocco, solidifies his position as a renowned guitarist. The album seamlessly blends earthly experiences with ethereal sounds, showcasing Bombino’s technical prowess and grand musical style.

**Tumi and the Volume: Hip-Hop Poetry from Mozambique**

In their debut album, *Live at The Bassline*, Tumi and the Volume, a Mozambican band, infuse poetry slam traditions with jazzy instrumentation. Addressing various social issues, the album propelled the group to hip-hop stardom, setting a high standard for their musical career.

**Alpha Blondy: Iconic Reggae from Côte d’Ivoire**

Alpha Blondy’s album, *Revolution*, embodies his unique take on reggae music, offering insightful commentary on contemporary issues. With a blend of wisdom and infectious grooves, the album encapsulates Africa’s vibrant reggae scene of the 1980s.

**Additional Selected Albums**

– Dadju & Tayc – *Héritage* [French Congolese]
– Spoek Mathambo – *Mzansi Beat Code* [South Africa]
– Bien – *Alusa Why Are You Topless?* [Kenya]
– Khaled – *Sahra* [Algeria]
– Mayra Andrade – *Manga* [Cabo Verde]
– Miriam Makeba – *Pata Pata* [South Africa]
– Kamal Keila – *Muslims & Christians* [Sudan]
– Caiphus Semenya – *Streams Today… Rivers Tomorrow* [South Africa]
– Reniss – *Tendon* [Cameroon]
– Hugh Masekela – *The Boy’s Doin It* [South Africa]
– Mohamed Wardi – *Live in Addis Ababa* [Sudan]
– Kanda Bongo Man – *King of Kwasa Kwasa* [DR Congo]
– Wizkid – *Made in Lagos* [Nigeria]
– Osibisa – *The Very Best of Osibisa* [Ghana-Caribbean-Britain]
– Brenda Fassie – *Memeza* [South Africa]
– Fela Kuti – *Beasts of No Nation* [Nigeria]
– Magasco – *Infinity* [Cameroon]
– Danny Thompson, Ketama, and Toumani Diabaté – *Songhai* [Mali]
– Salif Keita – *Soro* [Mali]1. **Sudan**:
– Jantra – ‘Synthesized Sudan: Astro-Nubian Electronic Jaglara’

2. **Uganda**:
– Eddy Kenzo – ‘Biology’

3. **South Africa**:
– Khuli Chana – ‘Lost in Time’

4. **Guinea**:
– Petit Yero Bantinghel – ‘Mowlanan’

5. **DR Congo**:
– Fally Ipupa – ‘Droit Chemin’

6. **South Africa**:
– AKA – ‘Levels’

7. **Algeria**:
– Aziza Brahim – ‘Mabrul’

8. **Cabo Verde**:
– Tito Paris – ‘Dança Ma Mi Criola’

9. **Senegal**:
– Ismaël Lô – ‘Senegal’

10. **Gambia**:
– Sona Jobarteh – ‘Fasiya’

11. **Mali**:
– Tamikrest – ‘Chatma’

12. **Mali**:
– Amadou & Mariam – ‘La Confusion’

13. **Nigeria**:
– Femi Kuti – ‘Shoki Shoki’

14. **Nigeria**:
– Yemi Alade – ‘Mama Africa’

15. **Nigeria**:
– Rema – ‘Rave & Roses’

16. **South Africa**:
– Freshlyground – ‘Nomvula’

17. **Libya**:
– Amaka Jaji – ‘Tidet’

18. **Cabo Verde**:
– Lura – ‘Di Korpu Ku Alma’

19. **Ghana**:
– Senkulive and Worlasi – ‘World (The Man and The God)’

20. **South Africa**:
– Samthing Soweto – ‘Isiphithiphithi’

21. **DR Congo**:
– Franco Luambo and Tpok Jazz – ‘Franco et le tout puissant OK Jazz’

22. **Nigeria**:
– Styl-Plus – ‘Expressions’

23. **South Africa**:
– TK – ‘Black Butterfly’

24. **Egypt**:
– Mohamed Mounir – ‘Shababeek’

25. **Zimbabwe**:
– Takura – ‘Someone Had to Do It’

26. **Nigeria**:
– Omah Lay – ‘Boy Alone (Deluxe)’

27. **Mali**:
– Boubacar Traoré – ‘Mbalimaou’

28. **Tanzania**:
– Conboi Cannabino – ‘Street Ties’

29. **South Africa**:
– Ladysmith Black Mambazo – ‘Umthombo Wamanzi’

30. **Malawi and South Africa**:
– Blk Sonshine – ‘Blk Sonshine’

31. **Nigeria**:
– Asa – ‘Asa’

32. **Mali**:
– Habib Koité – ‘Afriki’

33. **Nigeria**:
– P-Square – ‘Game Over’

34. **South Africa**:
– Stimela – ‘Out of the Ashes’

35. **Kenya**:
– Sauti Sol – ‘Midnight Train’

36. **Ghana**:
– Ata Kak – ‘Obaa Sima’

37. **Algeria**:
– Bonga – ‘Angola 72/74’

38. **São Tomé and Príncipe**:
– África Negra – ‘Carambola’

39. **Nigeria**:
– Asake – ‘Work of Art’

40. **DR Congo**:
– Awilo Longomba – ‘Karolina’# Top African Albums to Listen To

– **Mondongo** – DR Congo
– **Magic System** – Premier Gaou – Côte d’Ivoire
– **Tiwa Savage** – Celia – Nigeria
– **Waldemar Bastos** – Pretaluz – Angola
– **David Zé** – O Melhor de David Zé – Angola
– **Letta Mbulu** – There’s Music in The Air – South Africa
– **Davido** – Timeless – Nigeria
– **Yondo Sister** – Deviation Sexy Soukouss – DR Congo
– **2Baba** – Grass 2 Grace – Nigeria
– **Thandiswa Mazwai** – Zabalaza – South Africa
– **Youssou N’Dour** – Immigrés – Sénégal
– **Lucky Dube** – Best of Lucky Dube – South Africa
– **Koffi Olomide** – V12 – DR Congo
– **Sarkodie** – Rapperholic – Ghana
– **Christy Essien-Igbokwe** – One Understanding – Nigeria
– **Os Tubarões** – Djonsinho Cabral – Cabo Verde
– **Bongeziwe Mabandla** – Iimini – South Africa
– **TKZee** – Halloween – South Africa
– **Zahara** – Loliwe – South Africa
– **Manu Dibango** – Soul Makossa – Cameroon
– **Sade** – Promise – Nigerian-born
– **Tems** – For Broken Ears – Nigeria
– **Azawi** – Sankofa – Uganda
– **Barnaba Classic** – Love Sounds Different – Tanzania
– **Kabza De Small** – KOA – South Africa
– **MC Cairo** – King Cairo – Liberia
– **Nasty C** – Strings and Bling – South Africa


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