Music has always had the magnetic power of bringing people from diverse places and cultures together. The long history of musical collaborations between African artists has yielded some truly wonderful (and sometimes questionable) results, but like many of us, you’ve probably played around with ideas of which of your favorite artists would sound great together on a song.
Here are a few Pan-African collaborations across different genres that we think could actually work:
Sarz & Gyakie
Born Osaretin Osabuohien, Nigerian beatmaker Sarz stands out as one of the most versatile producers in Nigeria, having worked with a number of diverse artists including Drake, Wizkid, Niniola and Obonjayar. His inventive style of making beats has made him a leader in the worldwide afrobeats movement and, looking to make a lasting impact in the music scene, he is also passionate about creating opportunities for aspiring musicians in Nigeria through his annual workshop – The Sarz Academy. His impressive catalog features countless hits including Wizkid’s Come Closer, Skepta’s Energy (Far Away), Trobul (feat WurlD) and more recently, Monalisa (feat Lojay).
Popularly known as Gyakie, Jackline Acheampong is an Afro-Fusion/Afrobeats singer from Ghana. The 22-year-old, who just recently won the Vodafone Ghana Music Award’s (VGMA) category for Best International Collaboration with her chart-topping track ‘Forever Remix’ featuring Nigeria’s very own Omah Lay, has been dropping impressive music and reached international audiences through her debut EP, SEED which features a mix of Ghanaian highlife, R&B, and heartfelt lyrics.
The combination of Gyakie’s smooth vocals and Sarz’s masterful hit-making skills (and uncanny ability to work with just about any sound) might just be the West African collaboration we’ve been waiting for.
Fave & Shekinah
Chidozie (Fave) God’s favour hasn’t looked back since bursting out on the music scene at 19 with her first single, M.O.M.M.S. which was followed by a freestyle on a beat made by Jinmi Abduls that went viral in 2020 and became her third single, NBU. Her popularity and fame have continued to grow and just last year, she was featured twice on renowned rapper Olamide’s ninth studio album, UY Scuti. With her sweet, melodious voice and hit singles like Beautifully and Baby Riddim, both of which have gained considerable attention, the fast-rising Afro-fusion singer and songwriter is quickly becoming a ‘fave’ in the industry.
Making it all the way to the Top 6 of Season 8 of South African Idols in 2012, Shekhinah Thandi Donnell, popularly known as Shekhinah, is a singer-songwriter from Durban, South Africa whose soulful voice has stolen the hearts of many across the continent and beyond. In 2017, she dropped her much anticipated debut album titled Rose Gold — a multi-genre project that showed off her vocal dexterity. Since then, the contemporary pop and urban R&B singer has continued to extend her reach in the music industry, recently releasing her second studio album Trouble In Paradise, establishing herself even more as a talent worth watching.
Asides from having beautiful voices and exploring similar themes of love, heartbreak, and all the emotions in between, Fave and Shekhinah both know how to make music that is relatable and resonates deeply with their audiences. The two of them on a track could be a perfect mix of love, passion, and soul.
M.anifest & ShowDem Camp
Known professionally as M.anifest, Kwame Ametepee Tsikata is a Ghanaian musician, rapper, and record producer. No stranger to the industry or winning awards, he bagged Best Rapper and Hip-Hop song of the year (Ghana Music Awards; 2017) as well as Best artiste in African Hip Hop award (AFRIMA; 2018). Best known by his fans for his confident delivery and hard-hitting wordplay, M.anifest is able to bounce between English, Pidgin, and Twi, giving his tracks a nice African feel. He has released seven albums since 2007, with his most recent one, Medina To The Universe featuring a number of quality collaborations including Patoranking, Adekunle Gold, and Ladipoe.
Often described as major trailblazers in the Nigerian music scene, Show Dem Camp have consistently been shifting the status quo and pushing the boundaries of what African music can sound like. The musical duo, consisting of Wale Davies (Tec) and Olumide Ayeni (Ghost), has a distinct sound that combines top-tier lyricism, potent punchlines, and infectious West African highlife sounds, making them a fan-favorite across the continent. Big on charting their own paths, their last album The Palmwine Express is a true testament to their caliber.
While we cross our fingers and hope for new albums from both M.anifest and Show Dem Camp, we wouldn’t mind seeing a collaboration between them either. From Ghost’s deadly baritone and rhymes to Tec and M.anifest’s skillful penmanship, this could be a match made in heaven for hip hop fans.
Joey B & BlaqBonez
Joey B, whose real name is Darryl Bannerman-Martin, is an award-winning Ghanaian musician whose music cuts across genres to include Afrobeats, Hiphop, Dancehall, Hiplife, and Highlife. Over the years, he has bagged several impressive awards and nominations including Best Hiplife Video at the 2013 4syte Music Video Awards in Ghana for his first hit single Strawberry Ginger, as well as six nominations for the prestigious Vodafone Ghana Music Awards in 2014 including Best New Artiste of the Year and Most Popular Song of the Year for his third hit single Tonga which featured popular rap artiste Sarkodie. Often humorous in his delivery and always ready to switch things up to demonstrate his versatility, Joey B has collaborated with artists such as Fuse ODG, Mr. Eazi, Falz, and many others.
Blaqbonez, on the other hand, is a talented Nigerian artist who dabbles between rapping and singing. Born Akumefule Chukwuemeka, the star is often praised for his versatility, audacious lyrics, and creatively witty social media content, and has released quite a number of fire projects including Bad Boy Blaq-ReUp which had 7 tracks and featured artists like Boj, Oxlade, Ckay & Ycee, as well as his most recent album Sex Over Love which features hit songs like Bling ft Amaarae & BNXN and Fendi ft Joeboy. All in all, the future looks quite bright for Blaqbonez.
Both laidback, multifaceted and talented, this is one of those collaborations that could produce some pretty creative, vibey, and entertaining results.
Juls & Tayc
With over a million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, Julian Nicco-Annan, better known as Juls, is a Ghanaian producer, DJ, and songwriter. A certified “master of groove”, Juls is not just a skilled beatmaker but is also very good at bringing talent together (considering his long list of high-profile collaborations). Having gifted us hits such as Skin Tight by Mr Eazi, Feel Alright by Show Dem Camp, and more recently True Love, which featured on the platinum Made in Lagos album by Wizkid, it comes as no surprise that Juls is considered a pioneering producer who has played a significant role in pushing Afrobeats to the world.
Julien Franck Bouadjie is a Cameroonian-French singer and songwriter who is more popularly known as TayC (pronounced tay-kee). His silky smooth vocals, impressive songwriting skills, and sultry waist-whining during live performances have all worked to build him a large African and European fan base which has grown steadily each year. Singing mostly in French, Tayc has clearly struck a chord with millions, especially those in francophone or French-dominated parts of Africa and the world at large. But even those who don’t understand a word of his lyrics, still find themselves feeling the vibes and enjoying his music.
So what happens when you combine a deft and daring producer with a sweet-sounding French R&B singer? Well, you’ll most likely get a jam! And if there’s one thing we have learned from similar collabs (remember Bella by MHD ft Wizkid), it’s that music will always be a universal language.
Kabza De Small & Lojay
Often referred to as the “King of Amapiano,” Kabelo Motha, who goes by the stage name Kabza De Small, is a South African DJ and record producer who began his career back in 2009. Considered one of Amapiano’s best-selling musical artists, De Small has received several award nominations and won the 2020 DStv Mzansi Viewers Awards for Favorite DJ and Favorite Rising Star, also bagging the 2021 South African Music Award for album of the year. During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, he released a studio album titled I Am The King Of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust, featuring South African and international artists such as DJ Maphorisa, Cassper Nyovest, Burna Boy, and Wizkid.
Few artists have hit the ground running the way Lojay has since coming into the limelight just 4 years ago. Not one to box himself or his music into one specific genre, the artist — whose real name is Lekan Osifeso Jnr — presents an original sound that includes R&B, electro, and Amapiano undertones built on a solid Afrobeats base. While some might tag it “Afro-fusion”, others describe it as a slightly more “heady” type of music. Either way, the star’s first EP, LV N ATTN, immediately resonated with listeners all over the world, racking up streams in the blink of an eye. But there’s no doubt that it’s the last (but certainly not the least) song on the project, the amapiano-inspired Monalisa that had people across the continent in a death grip! Judging by his recent whirlwind success, it’s clear that Lojay means business and is here to stay.
Having already shown us that he (Lojay) can hold his own on a powerful beat, and considering all the waves Amapiano continues to make around the world, it goes without saying that a collaboration between these two hitmakers would probably be worth the listen.