Retrospective: Afrobeats History Icons Of 2023

by Abigail Agbottah

Afrobeat artists had an incredible and unforgettable year in 2023, making history in Africa and worldwide. Their accomplishment is astounding, and it will go down in history books throughout the world for many years to come.

Here are glimpses highlighting the fantastic impact that some Afrobeats icons created in the year 2023.


Wizkid hit a streaming milestone when he became the first African artist to be honoured with a BRIT Billion award. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) bestows this honour on artists who reach one billion digital streams in the UK.

On July 29 2023, he struck history once more by becoming the first African artist to sell out London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, drawing in an audience of 45,000 fans. It was one of the most recent events in the year that broke records for Afrobeats, a music genre that is still gaining enormous popularity worldwide.

Burna Boy

Burna Boy made history in June when he sold out his show at London Stadium, which has 80,000 seats. He is the first African artist to do so. 

The artist’s accomplishment was revealed on Twitter by the UK stadium management. “Now sold out!! @burnaboy’s record-breaking concert has now officially sold out! What an incredible achievement for the first-ever African artist to solo headline a UK stadium! For those lucky enough to make it, enjoy the show.”

When we thought we had heard it all, Burna Boy achieved yet another historic victory on Saturday, June 10, 2023, when he became the first African artist to perform in the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick-Off Show at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul. Shortly before Manchester City and Inter Milan began the largest club football match, the world-renowned Afrobeat artist took the stage.

Tiwa Savage

In a momentous and spectacular performance, award-winning singer Tiwa Savage, often referred to as “Queen of Afrobeats”, made history on November 26, 2023, when she became the first female African artist to headline the 13,000 Wembley OVO Arena.

While addressing her rise to fame in an interview on The Good Morning Britain program, she recounted how her Nigerian heritage had influenced her music. In response to a question concerning the origins of Afrobeats, Tiwa Savage stated that slaves brought from Africa created all black music, including Hip Hop and Soul, which makes sense given the origin of Afrobeats’ widespread reputation.


With an astounding 30-week run on the Billboard 200, Rema’s debut album “Raves & Roses” has accomplished a remarkable feat. It is now the longest-charting African record ever. Rema’s song “Calm Down” has also achieved notable success, ranking number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, which is the second-highest position among African songs. Rema and Selena Gomez collaborated on this song in a way that was revolutionary. The same Afrobeats song has also been one of the most significant global hits to date. It has notably topped the Billboard US Afrobeats chart, holding the No. 1 spot for an impressive 49 weeks.

Rema celebrated a significant milestone when he was featured alongside the legendary Michael Jordan and other well-known figures like Luka Doncic, Teyana Taylor, Youssouf and Fofana in a Jordan Brand commercial, making history as the first African musician to do so.


As the first female Afrobeats artist to receive a prestigious Grammy award, Tems stole the show at the 23rd BET Awards, which took place on Sunday, June 25, 2023, in Los Angeles. With her contribution to the hit song “Wait for U” featuring Future and Drake, the 28-year-old won the Best Melodic Rap Performance category.


The most listened-to Afrobeats song on Spotify for 2023 is Davido’s track “Unavailable,” featuring Musa Keys, according to statistics that were given to WMV on Tuesday, December 19. 

Likewise, “Timeless,” Davido’s fourth studio album, is currently the most listened-to Afrobeats album on Spotify as of 2023. With an astounding 17,000 copies sold in a single week via SEA (Streaming Equivalent Albums) and TEA (Track Equivalent Albums), the Nigerian singer’s album debuted at No. 37 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart.

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