The 5 Best Afrobeat/Afropop Albums Of August 2023

Welcome to August’s musical scene, where there was a lot of buzz about a ton of incredible album releases. Some of the biggest names in the business are gracing us with their musical prowess this month, promising to present a wide variety of sounds that will enthrall and resonate with audiences all over the world.

The albums by Burna Boy, Kelvyn Boy, and D Jay are among the most listened releases; each one offers a distinctive musical trip that highlights their particular talent and creative progress. This month’s album releases are expected to be a dynamic celebration of musical genres and styles, with something unique for every listener’s taste, ranging from Afrobeat to Afrofusion, R&B to dancehall.

Let’s embark on a musical journey that defined the sound of September and made a lasting impression on the year’s musical landscape as we delve into the worlds of these albums.

Burna Boy – I Told Them

From the very beginning of his career, Burna Boy has always moved with the disposition of a misunderstood and underappreciated virtuoso. There was the statement-making 2013 debut L.I.F.E – Leaving an Impact for Eternity, controversy-addressing releases like 2015’s On a Spaceship and 2016’s Redemption, and the self-assured groove of 2018’s Outside that re-centred his journey and set the stage for further success on 2019’s era-defining, self-mythologising African Giant.

By the time he won a Grammy for 2020’s Twice as Tall, Burna Boy was already at the forefront of popular African music, regularly being referenced as one of global pop’s most incisive acts. A left turn on 2022’s emotionally charged and personally reflective Love, Damini has done nothing to diminish Burna’s powers, while the resounding success of his Toni Braxton-sampling 2022 hit “Last Last” has only further propped up his international profile.

All of these triumphs have left Burna Boy walking in rarified air and appreciative of sticking to his convictions. In keeping with his penchant for not holding back on his most cogent thoughts, it’s no surprise that the first words uttered on his new album I Told Them… is a cheeky reminder to long-time detractors and onlookers. “It’s fun to tell people something is true, and they doubt—and then they end up seeing it. There’s no greater feeling,” Burna Boy tells Apple Music. “You can go back to my old tweets and stuff. I basically predicted everything that’s happening now. So this is basically that.” Where Love, Damini was primarily a revelatory, genre-bending immersion into Burna Boy’s world, I Told Them… is hip-hop inspired, cocksure, and blunt, offering a glimpse at Burna’s future with backstory from his past.

Whether warning haters not to be surprised by his successes on “On Form” or reeling off said successes on glitzy cuts like “Big 7” and “Sittin’ on Top of the World”, Burna is keen to make it clear that he’s in a new place, and he taps J. Cole for a withering dress-down of his critics on “Thanks”. Still adept at pulling musical influences from all over into a fully realised musical vision, Burna Boy recruits newcomer Seyi Vibez for a cinematic reimagining of street pop on “Giza”. He barely breaks a sweat swapping verses with Byron Messia on “Talibans II”, but the emotional core of I Told Them… comes on “If I’m Lying”, a wispy ballad where he admits to losing control at times over an alluring instrumental by Steel Banglez.

D Jay – Starman

Ghanaian Afrobeat artist and songwriter D Jay, known for delivering captivating solo tracks over the years, has delighted fans by unveiling his highly anticipated studio project. Building anticipation for this release, D Jay offered a glimpse into the album’s essence through the single ‘Amina,’ which is also part of the album. Titled “Starman,” this studio project comprises seven tracks, each showcasing his artistic prowess. Notably, the album stands out for its unique feature: a solo endeavor with no collaborations.

Kwaku DMC – Party in the Jungle

Kwaku DMC has very often shouldered the responsibility of charting a new course for asakaa—the Kumasi-inspired interpretation of drill music that went global near the end of 2020. The slight departure from the underground trap-adjacent flows that had previously brought Kwaku DMC (born Derrick Okyere Brobbey) regional fame on 2020’s “Off White Flow” caught the attention of the late, great American Ghanaian designer Virgil Abloh, leading to a co-sign and creative synergy that continued until the tragic passing of the designer in 2021.
Additionally, “Off White Flow” set the stage for the explosive scene from Ghana’s second city to take the world by storm with a series of gritty cuts like “Condemn”, “Sinner” and “Y3 Y3 DOM”. Kwaku’s 2022 album, Road to the Jungle, was a full-throttle immersion into the life of the rising star in tandem with a close-knit cast of friends and collaborators as they adapted to life in the fast lane while ducking opps and trying to protect their energies. On his new album, Party in the Jungle, Kwaku DMC continues to be forward-thinking and versatile.
Across 13 tracks, King Kong Nyame takes a journey beyond the edge of the sound he helped pioneer, opening its boundaries to influences from Afropop, soul and dancehall to create a new vision for the sub-genre that is both familiar and transcendental.

Kelvyn Boy – For The Kulture

Ghanaian singer, songwriter, and performer Kelvyn Boy is an afrobeats crusader and a household name in the Ghanaian afro-pop and highlife space.

The young singer made waves after making his debut in 2017, dropping a string of singles that outdoored his craft both in Ghana and beyond. His urban sound and distinct approach to his chosen genre set him apart from his peers, seeing him land numerous awards, chart topping singles, and etch his name on the walls of Ghanaian music history.

Now Kelvyn Boy is back again, and this time with a brand new project, his latest EP titled For The Kulture (FTK). For The Kulture is a 7-track offering that sees Kelvyn Boy firmly solidify his stand as a topmost Ghanaian afrobeats talent. For The Kulture houses 7 tracks of infectious blends of afrobeats, highlife, and more – from “Roma” to “Getting Better” to “Anti So”, all through the 7 tracks of the project the singer laces infectious instrumentals with dextrous melodies, creating earworm after earworm of afropop goodness.

With For The Kulture, Kelvyn highlights his tremendous skill and maintains his status as a major musical force – a befitting offering from an artist who has quickly become Ghana’s top global afrobeats export.

Uncle Waffles – Solace

With an unyielding dedication to pushing artistic boundaries and a fervent passion for crafting sonic stories, Uncle Waffles takes a bold step forward with her latest musical endeavor – a fresh and captivating EP titled ‘Solace.’

Building upon the remarkable success of her previous EP, ‘ASYLUM,’ which introduced the chart-topping hit “Yahyuppiyah,” the multi-talented artist, known for her prowess as both a DJ and singer-songwriter, sets out on another enthralling musical journey. ‘Solace’ exemplifies Uncle Waffles’ unwavering commitment to evolving her artistry and crafting intricate sonic narratives that resonate deeply with listeners.

One defining feature of Uncle Waffles’ creative approach is her penchant for collaboration, seamlessly weaving together a diverse array of voices to enrich her musical tapestry. ‘Solace’ continues this tradition, boasting an impressive lineup of guest artists that reads like a who’s who of contemporary musical talent. Collaborators include Manana, Lusanda, Jandas, Vuyo Ndevu, Sbuda Maleather, Murumba Pitch, and more. These collaborations transcend mere features, evolving into dynamic partnerships that elevate each track to new heights of musical expression.

As ‘Solace’ finds its place within Uncle Waffles’ expanding discography, it signifies a notable milestone – the second entry in her musical collection. This achievement not only underscores her unwavering dedication but also serves as a testament to her enduring pursuit of innovation and artistic growth. Each EP serves as a chapter in her ever-evolving musical journey, contributing to the mosaic of her evolving artistry and pushing the boundaries of creativity.

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