The Best Nigeria-South Africa Music Collaborations

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Nigeria and South Africa share an interesting relationship. There is a lot of rivalry, as is to be expected of two competing countries who always appear to clash on one front or the other—sports, music, even migration. In music, though, when Nigerian and South African creatives get into the studio together, the results are often incredible. Beyond the talents that both nations possess, this synergy is down in part to having two primary music styles that are different yet uncannily miscible—Afropop and House music. Here are ten of the best times Nigerian and South African creatives combined to make beautiful music. 


Davido, Nasty C – Coolest Kid In Africa

Coolest Kid In Africa appeared on Son Of Mercy, that piece Davido hoped would be the bridge for his experimental crossover to the US. A number of its songs swirled unfamiliar, high-octane genres into small mixes. On CKIA, Davido lines beside South African MC Nasty C on trippy Hip-Hop beats provided by American rap producer, Dun Deal. His guest is right at home in this soundscape, spitting bars about nonstop money while Davido taps into a rarely-seen rap side for his verses. In 2015, Davido was settling into his Omo Baba Olowo era and establishing himself as one of the continent’s best performers. He really was the Coolest Kid In Africa, and this track was the manifesto of how he was set to enjoy that status.

Falz, Niniola, Kamo Mphela, Mpura, Sayfar – Squander Remix 

Falz is a stickler for doing things the right way. After his Amapiano-laced track, Squander, quickly caught on as part of Nigeria’s lockdown experimentation with the South African genre, he thought there was room to take things a step further. For the original, he had featured Afro-house virtuoso Niniola, and recruited Young Willis behind the wheels. For the remix, Falz strengthened the theme of collaboration by partnering with South African creatives, as he added Kamo Mphela and Mpura to the vocal mix and inserted producer Sayfar behind the wheels. The result was nearly a different track from its original, but it succeeds for Falz’s ability to stir these cultures together with so much cohesion. 

Uhuru, Runtown – The Banger 

In the mid-2010s, Uhuru, a musical and production group that was staffed by DJ Maphorisa, Mapiano, DJ Clap and Xeli was the tip of the spear for South African House music, Amapiano’s older cousin. After Khona’s infectious beats spread across the continent to claim victims in Nigeria, Nigerian acts got to the table with the group to engineer some of the finest cross-continental music. This spurred tracks like Duze (feat. Wizkid) and The Sound (feat. Davido), collaborations with Nigeria’s biggest and brightest. Perhaps the most sonically pleasing of these bangers was The Banger itself, where Runtown’s effusive singing and Uhuru’s thumping production come to a perfect marriage.

Emmy Gee, Ice Prince, Ab Crazy, Cassper Nyovest, Phyno, DJ Dimplez, Anatii  – Rands And Nairas Remix 

Emmy Gee calls up a pristine ensemble for the remix of Rands And Nairas, spoiling listeners for choice with so many fire verses to pick from, offered in a variety of flows and languages. Phyno and Ice Prince bring their A-game on the Nigerian side of the line, while AB Crazy, Anatii, Cassper Nyovest and DJ Dimples rep Mzansi. Emmy Gee, himself of Nigerian origins and South African residence, ends up providing the song’s main attraction with an artfully delivered, beautifully strung chorus. “I’ve been popping bottles from Jozi to Lagos”, he says, and when you have the power to assemble talents like these on a single track, it follows that you would have so much fun shuttling both countries.

Kabza De Small, Madumane, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Cassper Nyovest – Sponono

In the great South African-Nigeria Amapiano war of 2022 where fans and artists alike threw hats in the ring to prove which of them had first introduced the genre to Nigeria, this song, Sponono, featured prominently. It was one of the cross cultural invitations extended to Nigerians to explore the budding genre in 2020, and Wizkid and Burna Boy do it justice. DJ Maphorisa (credited here as Madumane, his alter ego) and Kabza De Small’s vision for Amapiano has always been a little less jaunty, more soulful than most, and they play these elements brilliantly here, fashioning a slinky, steady groove where Wizkid, Burna Boy and Cassper Nyovest can enjoy a breezy glide. 

DJ Maphorisa, Wizkid, DJ Buckz – Soweto Baby

Any conversation surrounding Nigeria and South Africa’s music history would be incomplete without Soweto Baby, where Wizkid is recruited to join DJ Maphorisa in ogling over a woman with a curvaceous bodice. There is a lot of cultural exchange going on in the lyrics—Wizkid pining for a girl from Soweto, while DJ Maphorisa sings with gusto about the way she’s shaking her yansh—but underneath it in DJ Maphorisa’s House production is where most of the sonic magic happens. 

Emtee, AKA, Wizkid – Roll Up Re-Up

Emtee’s Roll Up remix released in mid 2015, two months after its original, and for this version the South African rapper ceded the opening verse and chorus to his Nigerian guest. If Wizkid feels in unfamiliar territory on a South African Hip-Hop song, he does not show it, as he cruises comfortably on the trippy beat, even switching to Zulu for a line or two. Late South African rapper, AKA was also along for this remix, and the rap duo take turns closing out the song in all the pomp and swagger it requires. 

Focalistic, Davido, Virgo Deep- Ke Star Remix

Davido is at his best and happiest when he is spreading good vibe, affecting a song’s mood simply by being the effervescent personality he is. On Ke Star, he is given no further job description than to simply insert himself and have fun, and in the process he unlocks the song’s giddy potential. “I dey catch cruise forget”, he sings, after he had already dispensed slang like “Tule joor/ Tule jare” and “Better rest, better rest, better rest”. Not many Nigerians know what “Ke Star” really means, even now, but they don’t need to: Davido’s infectious energy and Focalistic’s seductive production require no translation. It is no wonder that they attempted to recreate the magic a few months later with Champion Sound.

Niniola, Lady Du – I Did It

There is a simple division of labor that guides most Nigeria-South Africa collaborations. Nigerian in the booth crafting melodies, while the South African half of the barter is mostly responsible for providing a bouncy production that sustains the vibe of the record. It is a system that often maximizes the strengths of each creative, so it is easy to see why it is so frequently deployed. Here, Niniola chooses to shake things up. She calls up Lady Du, South African singer for a verse, while Magisticks sits behind the boards to craft one of Nigeria’s best attempts at authentic Amapiano. This combination is icily lethal: somewhere between Niniola’s laid back seductiveness, Du’s sultry whispers and Magicstick’s spunky beats is an irresistible pull to the dance floor.

Lojay, DJ Maphorisa, Kaba De Small and Herc Cut Out The Lights – Canada

The Amapiano explosion of the last few years has engulfed Nigeria particularly hard, to the extent that every other song from Lagos’ stables carries Soweto’s spunky log drums. The genre that was once the X-factor for Nigerian music has become its staple, so that some creatives now need to go the extra mile to stand out. One of the most effective, culturally-appropriate ways of achieving this is by recruiting a South African producer behind the boards. And that is what makes Lojay’s Canada so discernably special. He partners with DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, the self-styled Scorpion Kings, who provide the trippy Amapiano beat over which he can float his signature brilliant writing.