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Best 50 Albums

The 50 Best African Albums of 2020

African music is at an all time high. In a year that has tried literally every human on earth, 2020 definitely won't be forgotten in a hurry. The global pandemic changed plans and…

  • bounce
  • 22nd August 2022

African music is at an all time high. In a year that has tried literally every human on earth, 2020 definitely won’t be forgotten in a hurry. The global pandemic changed plans and altered fates around the universe, killing age old traditions but also opening new opportunities in different spaces, cue Bounce; our radio project spreading the gospel of good radio programming while projecting the Sound of the Culture globally.

As we wrap up 2020, we’ve worked tirelessly with a team of listeners, writers, curators, analysts and culture enthusiasts to discuss and close what has been a good year for music, especially African music. Our definitive ranking of the 50 best projects released this year features a number of favourites and new comers. This year gave us projects from artistes like Tems,  Aya Nakamura, Omah Lay, Focalistic, Moonchild, Darko and some more dropping gems. Same year gave us giants like Burna upping the ante, Kabza declaring himself King of Amapiano, Wizkid finally dropping MIL, Tiwa blessing us with Celia and Davido giving us A Better Time; if there is anytime to pay attention to African music, it is now.

Folks, simmer through this definitive experience. It’s how we feel and what we think about works from all these talented artistes, ranking each project from 50 to 1. It’s powerful.


50. Cult!

Paybac Iboro

The country is Nigeria, and PayBac iBoro is the poet. He mirrors its eccentricity, humor, and wild story headlines across Cult!, the follow-up to his 2018 opus, The Biggest Tree. CULT! mashes an array of influences, perfectly executed through PayBac’s multilayered vision. A thread of local landmarks (a Chinua Achebe quote, references to Old Nollywood, a scared protester’s voice note) runs through the album as the rapper continually makes rebellious music, cursing politicians and the nation’s politics, middle finger held high. And, on “Boy Band” and “Activ8”, the rapper creates the perfect slow burn soundtrack for a community of contrarians who just want to chill, smoke weed, and have intellectual conversations. – EE




A-Q-MI-The-Live-Report.jpg49. The Live Report

M.I & A.Q

For years, A-Q and M.I. Abaga served different roles within the Nigerian Hip Hop scene. While the J Town elder was the icon who’d most successfully combined lyrical dexterity with commercial acclaim, A-Q led the underground scene, revered for his god-level bars and quick to respond to the rare disrespect from any of his peers. Both rappers extensively worked for the first time in August 2018 when the LAMB album series was produced by Chocolate City and subsidiary label 100 Crowns, led by A-Q and Loose Kaynon. The Live Report was recorded in six days and turned the news-worthy into timeless art. From dissecting the COVID phenomenon (“The Live Report”) to considering their potential deaths (“Braveheart”), A-Q and M.I Abaga apply their elite penmanship to essential topics and, over typically boisterous production from BeatsbyJayy, emerge as elder statesmen with a firm grip on the today’s happenings. – EE