WHAT A YEAR IT HAS BEEN!!! It’s that time of the year to recognize the artists who have made an impact musically, domestically and globally. A lot of artists made noise this year with their music, so trust me, I know some of you guys will not like the fact that your favorite artist did not end up on this list. We tried our best to narrow this list based on acts who has made an impact not only with their music but in the industry.
OneTribeMag’s TOP 10 Artists of 2017.
10. Maleek Berry
Producer and singer, Maleek Berry, had some great moments this year. He dropped singles such as “Been Caling“, “Bend it“, “Pon My Mind” and was on everyone’s favorite anthem of the summer, “Juice” with YCEE. He assisted Tiwa Savage with the production to her song “Me & You” from her Sugarcane EP. He was also nominated for Best Male category of the annual MOBO awards. While having a good run in 2017, Maleek Berry is also preparing ahead for 2018. He is gearing up on his forthcoming EP – First Daze of Winter set to be released January 2018. His First Daze of Winter – UK/Europe leg tour is schedule to begin February 2018. He is clearly on a head-start and it won’t be a surprise to see him higher at the end of next year’s list.
9. Burna Boy
Burna Boy is one of the most versatile artist from Africa. His style, swag and sound can’t be duplicated. While some might feel like he should be higher on the list, he was really quiet during the first half of the year. He seems to have form some kind of chemistry with Ghanaian and U.K. music producer Juls, collaborating on tracks like “Rock Your Body” & “Gwarn“. His Singles like “Hallelujah“, “Deja Vu” and “Gba” – were heavy in rotation for hardcore fans but, unfortunately, what is Burna Boy without some kind of controversy? Making the headlines, he was accused of an alleged robbery and battery charge of his fellow artist, Mr. 2Kay at gun point in his hotel room during the ‘Buckwyld N Breathless” concert few weeks ago. Not nice. We all know Burna has one the highest potential out of anyone you can think of, but he keeps holding himself back. Hopefully he can focus more on his music coming 2018.
Mr. Baddo himself, Olamide had a very interesting year. Coming off of an amazing 2016, he continued this year with singles such as “Pepper Dem Gang“, “Love No Go Die“, “Summer Body“, “Wavy Level” and street anthem “WO“. Baddo proved to us once again why he belongs on this list. When he’s not releasing his own music, Baddo still kept his name buzzing all year while jumping on records such as “Augment” with Phyno, “Fine Girl” with Wale, “Carry Go” with Chief Obi, and new street anthem “Ibile” with rookie Zlatan. it is very hard to find an artist as consistent like Olamide in the music biz. He has been able to continue his yearly album ritual in 2017 with his latest album Lagos NaWa for fans to enjoy. It is not an easy feat to drop an album once every year for the last 6-7 year but Olamide does it consistently. Clearly a hardworking somebody.
The Chief, as an album, received positive reviews from music critics. This was a very well put together album as Jidenna introduces himself to the world for the first time. The Chief was a mixture of hip hop and afrobeats sounds used to tell a story of an immigrant growing up in his homeland and in the diaspora. The album produces fan favorite singles such as “Bambi“, and “Little Bit More“. Nine months after the album release, Jidenna came right back with the release of his EP, Boomerang. The six-track project featured guest appearances from Wale, Quavo, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Maleek Berry and Sarkodie. All around great year and an incredible start to a promising career. Lets see what success 2018 will bring for the classic man.
6. Tiwa Savage
Tiwa Savage has had a stellar 2017. She won Best Female at City People Award, AFRIMA, Afrimma respectively this year. After having a slow start musically at the beginning of the year, we are congratulating her nonetheless. Tiwa Savage released her critically acclaimed Sugarcane EP this year. With smash singles like “All Over“, “Ma Lo” Feat. Wizkid, Marvin Records first lady and Roc Nation signee was able to ride off 2017 with her body of work. Sugarcane was easily one of the better EP/ALBUM (whatever you want to call it) that came out this year. The voice + production was a match made in heaven and I’m sure we can all agree she deserves a spot in the top-tier of this list.
What a year for Stormzy. The Ghanaian/U.K rapper’s album, Gang Signs & Prayer, received critical acclaim upon it release. He was able to gain a lot of new and international fans with his album due to him being vulnerable and open about his upbringing. If you haven’t listened to it, i urge you to do so and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Stormzy success story didn’t just end there. At the MOBOs, he picked up three awards including Best Male Artist, Best Grime Artist and Best Album for Gang Signs & Prayer. At the BET Awards he won Best International Act:Europe and Artist of the Year at BBC Music Awards.
The biggest threat to Wizkid & Davido for the top spot is Tekno, unquestionably. He has become a house-hold name in the span of the last 12-18 months domestically. Since 2016, Tekno has proven himself to be a star to be reckoned with. For those who follow Tekno on his IG page, you can see all he does is stay in the studio constantly working on his craft. He has shown us that he is capable of constantly deliver hits back-to-back. His dedication has definitely paid off for him in 2017. He’s had hits such as “Rara“, “Yawa” “BE” “Go” and “Mama” in this calendar year alone. Too many people surprises, he was the producer to Davido biggest single this year “If” (also rumored to have written the song as well) The TripleMG singer is very versatile in his craft and could possibly land on the top spot on next year list. He has done so much this year and can only go higher from here on. He has gotten his recognition domestically, now Tekno is looking for international success. Just recently, we saw him and Drake together in the studio working on something. This is a clear indication of what to look forward too in 2018 with arguably the biggest artist in music. it doesn’t get any bigger and better than this. Maybe we will finally get that album from him 2018. Congratulations are already in order for Tekno in 2018.
3. Mr. Eazi
This was a tough one. A lot of people would have put Tekno above Eazi, except the former didn’t actually release a body of work this year. But alas, it’s your boy Eazzzzzziiiiiiii. Mr. Eazi has been in the headlines this whole year. The singer started off 2017 dropping his mixtape – Life Is Eazi (Vol.1) – Accra To Lagos. The mixtape earned him the status of being the first Nigerian act to land on the US Billboard and Uk World Album charts simultaneously. While promoting his mixtape release, he performed live on The Late Late Show with James Corden – making him the second African act to perform live on the show after Majek Fashek. He appeared on Apple Music’s Up Next artist with host Julie Adenuga on Beat 1 radio. He then-after took it up a notch by performing at Tidal X Brooklyn Charity Concert, sharing same stage with Steve Wonder, Jay-Z, Chris Brown, Cardi B and many more! 3rd Quarter of 2017, he also surprised fans with his smash single “Leg Over” remix Feat. international acts such as French Montana, Ty Dolla Sign & Major Lazer. Pretty good year for Eazi if you ask me. He’s also the butt of some pretty good comedy on social media after his comments about Nigerian & Ghanaian music.
IF YOU NO GET MONEY, HIDE YOUR FACE!!! Davido had a rough year 2016 and most people counted him out. He went back to the drawing board, bounced back 2017 and took the industry by storm. Davido has been the hottest artist throughout the year dropping gems like IF, Fall, FIA and Like Dat. He also embarked on his sold out 30 BillionWorldTour spanning from North America, Europe and Africa. As the award season came around, the DMW record label CEO was there to capture it all. Winning two trophies at the MTV Europe Music Award – Best Worldwide and Best African Act. At the MOBO Awards OBO won – Best African Act, and at the NEA he also captured two more – Afropop Male Act of the Year and Hottest Single of the year for his smash single “IF”.
This was another tough one. Davido has had arguably more hits than Wiz this year, however, he also did not drop a project. Wizkid A.K.A STARBOY has had a great year 2017. Where do we even start from? This was an award season for Wizkid, racking up almost all the awards he was nominated in. His accolades in 2017 includes, a Grammy & Soul Train nods, 3 BBMAs, 1 BET, 1 MOBO, 2 iHeart Radio Awards, 1 ASCAP – just to name a few. Wizkid also became the first afrobeats artist to appear in the Guinness World Record for his contribution to Drake’s hit single “One Dance” – as the most played song on Spotify with well over one billion streams. That is a major milestone. I just hope he has enough space in his crib to keep all his trophies. After the release of his long-awaited EP titled Sounds from the Other Side, it debuted at #2 on the Billboard World Chart. His hit single “Come Closer” featuring Drake now has well over 50 million views on Youtube. Even when he isn’t releasing his own music, his writing skills has enable him to collaborate with some of the biggest artist in the world this year including TY Dolla Sign, Wale, Tine Tempah, Major Lazer, Kranium, Trey Songz, and most recently, Jeezy. Starboy also headlined and sold-out the Royal Albert Hall in London. This isn’t just any small feat. He gave an electrifying performance that night, and those who where there can testify to that. These are some of the things that separates him from the rest of his colleagues. His accomplishments in 2017 as a whole remains rare and impressive, which only helps validates his status as a global ambassador for afrobeats and the contemporary African music scene as a whole. Starboy is clearly all about pushing the limits, breaking barriers and paving the way for other afrobeats acts to emulate his footsteps – just ask Tekno.
Honorable Mentions: Simi, Falz, Phyno Sarkodie, Mayorkun, J Hus, Niniola, Runtown