R&B Experiences Commercial Resurgence in Africa, Spotify Reports

By  Milcah  Tanimu

R&B music in Africa is witnessing a commercial resurgence, showcasing the adaptability and creativity of African musicians. African artists are infusing traditional R&B themes of love and relationships with their unique cultural and musical influences, redefining the genre.

Spotify, recognizing the growing popularity of R&B in Africa, has partnered with COLORSxSTUDIOS to organize a multi-day R&B writing camp in Nairobi, Kenya. This writing camp, held in the first week of October, brings together artists, songwriters, and producers from Africa and beyond, with Spotify’s flagship R&B playlist, Tantalizers, serving as the platform.

The demand for quality R&B in Africa is evident, with countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, and Uganda registering high R&B listenership on Spotify. Even in francophone and lusophone markets like Côte d’Ivoire and Angola, R&B’s presence is growing across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenya appears to be at the forefront of this resurgence, with Spotify data from the last 90 days showing that Tantalizers playlist receives the most streams from the country, and R&B ranks among the top five genres in Kenya. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, artists like The Weeknd, Chris Brown, SZA, Rihanna, and Beyoncé are among the most streamed R&B artists on Spotify. Additionally, local artists like Xenia Manasseh (Kenya), Baaba J (Ghana), Lloyiso (South Africa), and Bloody Civillian (Nigeria) are resonating with listeners.

Collaborations between international icons and African artists are becoming more frequent, further propelling R&B’s growth. African musicians are also creating global hits among themselves, demonstrating the continent’s musical prowess. Songs like ‘WAIT FOR U’ by Drake, Future, and Tems, ‘Monalisa’ by Chris Brown, Lojay, and Sarz, and ‘Call Me Everyday’ by Chris Brown featuring Wizkid exemplify this trend.

African musicians are blending soulful vocals with traditional African rhythms, Afrobeat elements, and contemporary production techniques, creating a sound that appeals to both local and international audiences. Most R&B streams in Sub-Saharan Africa come from Gen Z listeners aged 18-24, followed by those aged 25-29.

R&B in Africa is thriving, bridging cultural and generational gaps, and demonstrating the universal power of music, regardless of location or age.


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