In 2023, Afrobeats has once again thrived as a musical genre. The Afrobeats music scene has consistently produced exceptional tunes, establishing itself as a musical haven. Reflecting on the year, our Afrobeats artistes have once again gifted us with top-tier music projects. Join us in celebrating the top 10 Afrobeats Albums of 2023, as selected by the music editors and staff writers of Unorthodox Reviews.
1. Davido – Timeless
Despite the unfortunate events that disrupted last year’s initial album release schedule, Davido emerged triumphantly from the trials and tribulations to present a masterpiece. This album, aptly reflecting its title, stands as a timeless work of art, undeniably Davido’s best offering to date. Describing it as a “life-changing” project in his own words, each track on the album exudes nothing but pure fire, with a notable aspect being that most featured talents originate from the local scene. This release distinguishes itself as one of the most successful of the year, not only achieving a record-breaking number of first-day streams on Spotify but also securing the unique position of being the only Afrobeats album to reach the number one spot on the US iTunes chart.
2. Burna Boy – I Told Them…
On Burna Boy’s seventh album, he upholds the elevated standards established by his recent releases, further establishing his legendary status and highlighting his outstanding talent for crafting albums. The album prominently highlights Burna Boy, celebrating his remarkable achievements, confidently addressing doubters and naysayers, and triumphantly declaring, “I Told Them…”. Remarkably, it becomes the first African album to claim the number one position on the UK Official charts.
3. Asake – Work of Art
When it comes to releasing singles, Asake consistently delivers bangers! Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, the same level of quality extends to his albums. Within just two years in the spotlight, he has produced an EP and two albums, all of which are nothing short of exceptional. The “Work of Art” album stands out as a masterpiece in terms of its quality. It not only showcases Asake’s musical prowess but also pays homage to legendary figures like Tunde Baiyewu and Jean-Michel Basquiat. These influences form the core of the album, contributing to its depth and artistic value. Overall, the album is a solid composition from this profoundly talented artiste.
4. BNXN – Sincerely, Benson
“Sincerely, Benson,” BNXN’s inaugural album, is an exceptionally soothing and distinctive creation. In contrast to the prevailing notion of sonic monotony, BNXN has succeeded in finding a sound that not only resonates but also remains consistently effective. Moreover, within the album, he fearlessly explores new sounds, showcasing his versatility. What distinguishes this project is its profound depth. From the album art to the track listing and on each track, there exists a layer of meaning that extends beyond surface interpretation. It encourages listeners to delve deeper into the nuances and hidden messages woven throughout the album.
5. Blaqbonez – Emeka Must Shine
Blaqbonez’s latest project marks a departure from what you might expect from him. In line with his evolution over the years, Blaqbonez seamlessly transitions between various musical styles. While he’s known for his rap background, this album displays his skilled exploration of a wide range of genres, including Afrobeats, Pop, Dancehall, and more. This diverse set of soundscapes not only emphasizes his versatility but also demonstrates his ability to adjust to different musical styles over time.
6. Adekunle Gold – Tequila Ever After
Adekunle Gold’s albums take us on a journey through different phases of his musical growth, and his recent album, “Tequila Ever After,” signifies a shift towards a more mature version of the artiste, focused on celebrating the joys of life. Among the tracks, “Party No Dey Stop“, featuring Zinoleesky stands out as a representation of Adekunle Gold’s growth and artistic progress. This album is a true Afropop masterpiece, ranking among the best works of the year.
7. Olamide – Unruly
Prior to the album’s release, Olamide clearly communicated that it was crafted for “Baddies and Men who love Baddies,” establishing expectations for what was to follow. The album, titled “Unruly,” revealed a more refined Olamide, one who explored R&B more deeply, departing from his usual street-hard and impactful lyrics. This shift toward a more melodic and soulful style showcased Olamide’s versatility as he ventured into new musical territories. Despite this departure, the album maintained the hallmark quality that fans anticipate from the veteran artiste, making “Unruly” a noteworthy addition to his discography and marking his eleventh studio album.
8. Patoranking – World Best
Making his first album release since 2020, Patoranking presented an outstanding work titled “World Best.” The excitement leading up to this release was palpable, as seen in the announcement video featuring the popular actress Osas Ighodaro. Expectations were elevated, with fans and music enthusiasts eagerly anticipating Patoranking’s comeback to treat us once again to his unique sound. Much to the joy of many, Patoranking not only met but surpassed expectations, delivering a classic album that radiates class and artistry.
9. Seyi Vibez – Thy Kingdom Come
Over the course of about 8 months, spanning from late last year to early this year, Seyi Vibez engaged in a prolific series of releases. During this timeframe, he treated his audience to a total of five projects, and each of them secured the top position on Apple Music’s charts. The culmination of this musical journey was his project, “Thy Kingdom Come,” which stands out as one of the finest releases of 2023. Within this album, Seyi Vibez delivered timeless classics like “Man of the Year,” “Karma,” and a plethora of other tracks that have made a lasting impact on the music landscape.
10. Ruger – Ru The World
In his debut full-length album, “Ru The World,” Ruger faced the daunting challenge of upholding the exceptional standard he had established for himself in the music industry. With each previously released track and EP, he consistently produced massive hits, thereby elevating the expectations for his debut album. True to these expectations, Ruger did not disappoint. He unveiled a 17-track masterpiece, skillfully maintaining his lofty status in the music world with finesse and style.