Unfortunately, African artists that don’t move to the US or Europe don’t get as much attention from those huge music markets as they should. It’s truly a shame, but maybe we can set some of that right today.
In this article, we’ll be going over the 20 richest musicians in Africa that you should definitely check out (along with their estimated net worths).
1. Youssou N’Dour – $140 million
Youssou N’Dour might be one of the most famous people in Africa, but he has a very strong case in Senegal for sure. Not only is he an incredible musician, singer, and songwriter, he served as the Minister of Tourism in Senegal for over a year between 2012 and 2013.
He’s partially responsible for developing the Senegalese style of music called mbalax. That genre originates from ndut initiation ceremonies and the music tradition of njuup. He started his music career at 15, touring with the Super Diamond band in West Africa before joining the Star Band in Dakar.
By 1991, N’Dour had opened his recording studio, forming his own label in 1995. Easily one of the most celebrated musicians in African history, N’Dour is also an activist and politician.
2. Akon – $80 million
Look, almost everyone reading this knows who Akon is. He’s produced hit songs like Smack That, I Wanna Love You, and Right Now (Na Na Na) during his incredibly successful career.
But that’s not what makes Akon special in the context of this article. After his career in America, the Senegalese-American singer decided to give back to Africa. On top of starting his record label, he works prodigiously among African countries as an activist, securing funds through his charities and using his own money to help fund projects.
Akon Lighting Africa is a project responsible for helping provide electricity to 15 African countries. His Konfidence Foundation helped underprivileged children on the continent, and he’s working with the Senegalese government to build a tourist city in the country named Akon City, though that project has not materialized.
3. RudeBoy – $60 million
Paul Okoye, better known as RudeBoy, is a Nigerian singer who originally rose to fame in the 2000s as a member of P-Square. His early career saw him performing covers of songs from MC Hammer, Bobby Brown, and Michael Jackson.
After P-Square disbanded in 2017, he released his debut solo tracks like, Fire Fire and Nkenji Keke. 2021 saw him release his full debut album, Rudykillus.
4. Black Coffee – $60 million
Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo, better known as Black Coffee, is a South African DJ who created his own record label, Soulistic Music.
He began his career in the 90s but rose to international acclaim after participating in the 2004 Red Bull Music Academy. A fairly long career has seen him release nine studio albums, winning several awards, which include one from the Grammy Awards.
5. Flavour – $28 million
Chinedu Okoli goes by the stage name Flavour. Originally starting his music career as a drummer in a local church, the Nigerian singer gained international recognition for the hit song Nwa Baby in 2010.
His debut album made him one of the most sought-after musicians in Africa. In total, He’s won twice at the African Muzik Magazine Awards and got a win at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2015, not to mention his success at the Nigeria Music Video Awards.
6. Wizkid – $20 million
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, or Wizkid as he’s better known, is a prominent Nigerian singer and songwriter. He’s become one of the figureheads of the Afrobeats music scene and is generally regarded as one of the most influential African artists of all time. His career started early, releasing an album with the Glorious Five at 11 years old.
By 2016, Wizkid became the first Nigerian artist to be listed on Billboard’s Twitter Last 24 Hours when Drake featured his song, with the single One Dance reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 a few weeks later and holding the spot for a total of 10 weeks.
That song became an international hit, topping the charts in 15 countries. He even won a Grammy Award as a lead artist on Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl, and he’s the most awarded African Artist in the history of the BET Awards. In 2021, Apple Music Awards named him the Artist of the Year (Africa).
7. Koffi Olomide – $18 million
Koffi Olomide specializes in a genre of dance music called the Congolese Soukous. At an early age, he earned a scholarship to study in France, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in mathematics.
In the 70s, he returned to the Congo and joined his mentor’s band, Viva la Musica. His slow-paced Soukas have gained him a solid fan base in both Africa and Europe and won him several awards at the annual Kora Awards Ceremony in South Africa.
8. Burna Boy – $17 million
Burna Boy rose to prominence with the insgle Like to Party in 2012. It was the lead single from his debut studio album and eventually earned him an international contract with Warner Music Group. In 2019, he won Best International Act at the BET awards and was announced as an Apple Music Next Up Artist.
His fourth album, African Giant won the Album of the Year Award at the All Africa Music Awards in 2019 as well, and saw him get a Grammy Nomination for Best World Music Album. Rolling Stone’s 2023 list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time ranked him at number 197.
9. Davido – $16 million
Like Akon, Davido was born in the United States, but he never fell far away from his roots in Nigeria. He blends traditional African music with mainstream pop sounds, eventually becoming one of the most popular artists in Africa. In Nigeria, he’s considered an icon of both their culture and pop music as a whole. Time Magazine crowned Davido as one of the biggest voices in Afrobeats in 2021 as part of their Next Time 100 list.
10. Mr. P – $15.2 million
Mr. P was the other half of the duo P-Square alongside Rudeboy. Like his brother, he began his music career doing cover songs of big pop icons in the US. After P-Square disbanded in 2017, Mr. P released solo singles like For My Head and Cool It Down. In 2021 he was unveiled as a brand ambassador for Adidas.
11. Fally Ipupa – $15 million
Both a successful music artist and UNICEF Ambassador, Fally Ipupa started his career singing in small street groups before being noticed by Koffi Olomide. He stayed with Olomide’s band for seven years before signing a solo deal and releasing his debut album, Droit Chemin. Ipupa has produced several international hits, including Electric Chair, Sexy Dance, and Sweet Life. He’s the highest-viewed Congolese artist in history, and according to Jeune Afrique, he’s one of the 50 most influential Africans in the world.
12. 2baba – $15 million
Known by many names, 2Baba has one of the widest vocal ranges of any African singer, noted for his lyrical depth and longevity. He’s widely considered one of Nigeria’s all-time best musicians, and his solo debut album was responsible for spreading Nigerian culture throughout Africa. Before his solo career, he was a member of the boy group Plantashun Boiz. You’ve probably heard his smash hit single African Queen before too.
13. Sarkodie – $15 million
Sarkodie is a Ghanaian rapper, songwriter, and entrepreneur. One of the most influential music artists in Ghana, he’s earned numerous awards and accolades, including the Vodafone Ghana Music Award for Artist of the Decade. In 2019, he was announced as the first-ever Best international Flow award winner at the BET Hip Hop Awards. In general, he’s one of the most successful African rappers of all time and one of the biggest representatives of the azonto genre.
14. Don Jazzy – $15 million
Though they had a falling out and Mo’ Hits Records is no more, Don Jazzy co-founded the label with D’banj. He’s now the founder and CEO of Mavin Records and one of the biggest music producers in Africa.
15. D’banj – $13 million
Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo is another Nigerian singer, rapper, and co-founder of Mo’ Hits Records alongside producer Don Jazzy. He’s won numerous music awards but is best known for the 2012 single Oliver twist, which fused Afrobeats with electronic dance music and owned the African charts for the rest of the year.
D’banj is also a founder of the Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development. Much of his status as an African artist is used to highlight Africa’s critical issues, focusing on agricultural topics and alleviating poverty.
16. Timaya – $12 million
Timaya is one of the artists responsible for bringing dancehall, hip hop, and soca elements to the Nigerian pop music scene. The king of the Afro-soca genre in Africa, Timaya blends all kinds of elements into his music to create something truly special. Winner of four Headies Awards and a Nigeria Music Award, the future looks bright for Timaya.
17. Banky W – $9 million
Nigerian singer, rapper, and politician Banky W can do it all. Born in the US, he returned to Nigeria at the age of five and was a star in his church choir. He went to school in the US but returned to Nigeria in 2009 to found his record label in Lagos, signing artists like Wizkid, Niyola, and Shaydee.
He did run for a parliamentary seat in the Nigerian government in 2018 but lost that race in 2019. In 2023, he’s trying again, so we shall see how it turns out for him.
18. Jose Chameleone – $6 million
Jose Chameleone is a Ugandan Afrobeat artist who sings in Luganda, English, and Swahili. As part of the Ogopa Deejays, he started his music career in the early 90s.
There are few artists out there who are better at Ugandan folk music, and he also delves into African rumba, reggae, and zouk. The CEO of his own music label, Leone Island, and designated Ambassador of the Busoga Tourism Initiative, Jose Chameleone, is part of the large coalition of African artists trying to reduce poverty and spread disease awareness in Africa.
19. Salif Keita – $2 million
Salif Keita is probably the only true royalty on this list. He was born a traditional prince of Djoliba, a member of the Keita royal family in Mali. Unfortunately, he had albinism, which caused him to be cast out of his family, as the condition is seen as a sign of bad luck. Keita decided to pursue music as a teenager, joining the government-sponsored Super Rail Band de Bamako. He’s had a long and storied music career since he started in the 70s, leaning on traditional African music.
20. Jidenna – $1 Million
Jidenna was born in the US but spent large portions of his childhood growing up in Nigeria, where his father worked as a professor. Signed on to Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Record Label, Jidenna has become a successful artist in the US and one of the few Nigerians making music waves outside of that country. You might be able to recognize his face since he appeared in an episode of the Netflix series Luke Cage, namely episode five of season one.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.