East Africa has been booming all year round with major album releases from the top East African artists. This year saw the rise of new artists who skyrocketed to the top of the scene. As we come to the end of the year, here are the 10 best East African albums that graced the scene in 2020.
1. Midnight Train - Sauti Sol
Kenya's favourite boy band, Sauti Sol came through with a soulful masterpiece that is currently still topping East African charts. They joined forces with robust talent on this project with notable collaborations from India Arie, Its Kaskazini, Bensoul, Nviiri The Storyteller, Xenia Manasseh, Okello Mac and Nairobi Horns as well as stellar production from Andre Harris whose presence is greatly felt on the production of the 'Midnight Train' single.
Their art of timeless storytelling as an African tradition intertwined in enjoyable melodies continues to win the hearts of listeners across the globe.
2. I Am Zuchu - Zuchu
Wasafi Records newest member, Zuchu has proven to the be new queen of the scene. Her debut Ep, I Am Zuchu was an instant success from the release of her first single Kwaru. The EP came with two bonus tracks which feature Tanzanian favourite; Mbosso and Taarab queen; Khadija Kopa.
Zuchu is now flying high as Tanzania's best new musician of 2020, with multiple award nominations and career milestones after only months of being in the game .
3. Flowers EP - Rayvanny
Rayvanny continues to be at the top of his game this year. His Flowers EP tugged at the hearts of many during valentines day and beyond with a variety of classic tunes. The 8-track EP features amazing artists such as talented rapper Mr Blue, Mozambican singer Messia Moricoa and Karen, a fellow Tanzanian singer.
Rayvanny made major milestones with this album which earned a Grammy consideration earlier in the year.
4. Harmonize - Afro East Album
Tanzanian heavyweight, Harmonize came through with a major project which he described as "The sound of East Africa because African songs especially, that of East Africa is so special and creative." Harmonize showcases his versatility bringing a fusion of all African Music putting together different styles from Bongo Flava to Afrobeat with major collaborations from his fellow artists.
Some notable collaborations are from stars such as; Burna Boy, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Morgan Heritage, Khaligraph Jones just to mention a few.
5. Nyashinski - Lucky You
Legendary Kenyan rapper, Nyashinski made a successful comeback with this melodic offering.Lucky You is dance-worthy piece of work, infused with Nyashinski’s legendary lyricism making his mark as one never to be forgotten in East Africa's rap game.
6. Story Of The African Mob - Navy Kenzo
After months of teasing, dynamic Tanzanian music duo Navy Kenzo released one of the biggest projects on the continent. The 12-track project is brought to life by a combination of Afrobeats sounds in fusion with Jazz, RnB, Hip Hop and Dancehall influences with notable collaborations from Nandy, Mzvee, Genius Genie, Tiggs da Arthur, King Promise, The Great Eddy and Mugeez.
Story Of The African Mob greatly celebrates African culture by delving into the themes of fashion, art, creativity and the eccentric stories of African people.
7. Just In Love Album - Otile Brown
Kenya's Otile Brown made serious waves in the R&B scene this year with the release of his rhythmic collection. “Just In Love” explores themes of love and the relationship between men and women, while drawing inspiration from a variety of different musical genres, from R&B to Afropop.
Otile Brown established himself as one of Kenya’s most exciting musical prospects teaming up with East African giants; Mejja, Khaligraph Jones, Juma Jux, Meddy and Kidum.
8. Samali - Sheebah
Uganda's celebrated queen dropped her highly awaited fifth music album which rightfully cemented her place at the top of Uganda's music scene. Sheebah expresses the hustle and rise of her musical journey while showcasing her ability to impeccably fuse different kinds of music genres.
Some of the artists that came together for the successful 18-track album are Fik Fameica, Chance Nalubega, King Saha, and International Boy.
9. Leave Me At The Pregame - Maya Amolo
Kenyan singer & songwriter, Maya Amolo topped the R&B charts with her first official EP, Leave Me At The Pregame. Maya takes us on her intimate journey to self healing where her exquisite penmanship explores the themes of self-sabotage, self-realization, toxicity, love and depression as she tries to tackle her daily experience.
Maya Amolo caught the attention of many with her hypnotic melodies and soulful vocals and continues to quickly amass a listenership with this emotionally felt piece of work.
10. Steps - Ibraah
Konde Music Worldwide's first signee, Ibraah established himself as one to watch this year when he brought forth his first EP, Steps. 5-track EP incorporates bouncy rhythmic beats with roots in Bongo Flava and Afrobeat genres, tied together with his melodious voice as his signature style in this project.
Major collaborations on this body of work are with Harmonize, Joeboy and Skiibii who all give a unique twist to the production of this EP.
When the world came to a global standstill, no one had a clue about what the future would hold for a lot of our industries, the music scene included. However, our talented artists worldwide have kept us on our feet, supporting us with timeless music since the very beginning.
For these are more on your favorite East African artists, connect with us through our socials @Notjustok