Famous South African musicians 2021: Top 20 greatest artists

Famous South African musicians 2021: Top 20 greatest artists

The past decade has seen diversity in Mzansi music. It has also propelled the cropping up of new and sensational artists. This list of famous South African musicians will fill you in on the individuals making moves in the industry. It is intriguing to note that most of them are young men and women moving the country through their talent.

Famous South African musicians
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

South Africa is home to some of the most fearless individuals who do not hesitate to express themselves through art. As a result, indigenous music genres have grown and spread to other continents. Amapiano music, for instance, draws its roots back to the country, and to think that it has become an international craze is intriguing. The best part about it is the new line of artists who have grown through it. This list of the most famous South African musicians 2021 highlights the most talented individuals.

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Famous South African musicians 2021

It is impeccable to think that young South African artists are receiving worldwide recognition. The best part about it is that these are new artists who have worked hard to express themselves through music. This list provides the names of the individuals whom you ought to keep tabs on.

1. Master KG

Master KG
Who is the best artist in South Africa 2020? Photo: @masterkgsa
Source: Instagram

Who is the most popular musician in South Africa? South African record producer and musician Master KG is arguably 2020's most impressive artist. He took the world by storm when he released his Gospel upbeat, Jerusalema, featuring the talented Nomcebo Zikode. The track was followed by the influential #JerusalemaChallenge spawned by dance moves from countries worldwide.

The hit earned him the MTV Europe Music Awards, NJR Music Awards in France, Feather Awards, and African Muzik Magazine Awards. To add to it, he signed a deal with Elektra France. He also solidified his brand internationally when he made it into Jayz's Tidal playlist.

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Apart from cementing his name among famous South African musicians, he has received recognition from renowned artists like Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, and Jason Derulo.

2. Nasty C

Nasty C
South African singers male 2020. Photo: @nasty_csa
Source: Instagram

At the beginning of 2020, South African rapper Nasty C inked a deal with Def Jam Recordings, which significantly impacted his career. He leads the pack of forward-thinking rappers emerging from South Africa.

Nasty C released Zulu Man With Some Power, an album that earned him a spot among the best South African artists 2020. Since its release, Zulu Man With Some Power was considered one of the most respected albums on the local hip hop scene. It features top artists like Rowlene, Lil Gotit, Ari Lennox, Tellaman, and T.I. Billboard described it as South Africa’s best bet for a mainstream crossover.

Nasty C has received accolades for his talent and is considered an asset in the Mzansi music scene. In 2020, Spotify recognised him as the most streamed South African artist of the year.

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3. Kabza De Small

Kabza De Small
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @kabelomotha
Source: Instagram

Kabelo Motha, popularly known as Kabza De Small, is one of the most influential South African artists and would easily pass for the best. Most people refer to him as the King of Amapiano and the pioneer of the genre.

Kabza De Small sums up as a DJ and producer. His signature style is known to be melodic, lively, and contagious music. He is a champion of an unsurmountable melody that crosses over into other continents, gaining acceptance from people who do not know him.

Kabza De Small has bagged the South African Music Award for Best Produced Album and 2020 DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards. It is not by chance he is top on this list.

4. DJ Maphorisa

DJ Maphorisa
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @djmaphorisa
Source: Instagram

Themba Sokowe, popularly known as DJ Maphorisa, is another pioneer of Amapiano music. He has been making big moves ever since the genre took root in the country. His story might seem like an overnight success since one of his hits, Phoyisa, has been played all over Mzansi and even received a mention from EFF's Julius Malema. However, his legit fans can attest that he has been on the scene for quite some time.

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Over the past decade, DJ Maphorisa has been creating music and believes it took that much time to build the masterpiece he is. His decision to work with Kabza De Small has earned him a new legion of fans, and he believes their hard work propelled their success.

When they dropped their Scorpion Kings album, it received immense support and liking from fans, something the duo had not anticipated.

DJ Maphorisa has earned himself a new title in the music scene, the man with the Midas touch. It is not by chance DJ Maphorisa is on this list.

5. Prince Kaybee

Prince Kaybee
South African singers male 2020. Photo: @princekaybee_sa
Source: Instagram

Prince Kaybee, a South African house artist, made an impression in 2020 with his hit song, Uwrongo. The hit made it to number one on several Mzansi radio stations and Radiomonitor's South Africa Top 100 chart for a couple of weeks. The jam, which featured Ami Faku and Black Motion, attained gold status two months after its release.

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In 2020, Prince Kaybee took home the Male Artist of the Year Award for his album Re Mmino during the South African Music Awards. His hit, Guguglethu, also propelled him to bag the Favourite Song of the Year at the DStv Mzansi Viewer's Choice Awards.

6. DJ Black Coffee

DJ Black Coffee
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @realblackcoffee
Source: Instagram

Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo, better known as DJ Black Coffee, is a talented, multi-faceted DJ and one of the most famous male artists in South Africa. He is an award-winning DJ, record producer, singer, and songwriter.

DJ Black Coffee boasts of close to three decades' worth of experience in the industry and is not new to the South African Music Awards. In 2016, he bagged a BET Award in the Best International Act: Africa category.

DJ Black Coffee released his sixth studio album, Subconsciously, in February 2021, and it has so far been embraced by Mzansi. He holds a record of working with renowned international artists like David Guetta.

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7. Cassper Nyovest

Cassper Nyovest
South African singers male. Photo: @casspernyovest
Source: Instagram

Refiloe Maele Phoolo, known to many as Cassper Nyovest, is a talented Mzansi songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in North West, he is considered one of the most famous artists in South Africa.

Cassper Nyovest has significantly impacted the country's hip hop industry. His latest hit, Nokuthula, has received immense love from fans. Being one of the most famous male musicians in South Africa, Cassper has also helped discover new artists.

8. Elaine

South African female musicians
South African singers female. Photo: @elaineofficial
Source: Instagram

The melodic Elaine is slowly claiming her spot as one of Africa's R&B voices. At the tender age of twenty-one, she has wowed the continent with her voice at an era when most artists prefer to resort to autotune.

Elaine caught the world by storm when she released her banger, You're the One, in 2019. The song earned her the spot as one of the most streamed artists in South Africa. Her debut EP, Elements, was a powerful introduction showing off her hypnotic voice and touching lyrics about love and relationships. Elaine significantly revived the love for R&B music and is currently signed to Columbia Records in the USA.

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9. Amu Faku

Amu Faku
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @ami_faku
Source: Instagram

Five years ago, Amu Faku had no clue she would be a household name in Mzansi and command such a huge following. Currently, she is one of the most sought-after female sensations in the country, taking the not-so-much-exploited Afro-soul genre. Amu Faku has worked with notable artists such as Black Motion, Prince Kaybee, Blaq Diamond, and Sun-El Musician.

One of her best hits is Into Ingawe, and the banger was certified double platinum by RISA. It also secured the seventh position on Deezer's top -10 tracks in South Africa. Another top-performing hit that she released is Inde Lendlela, and it received a gold plaque from RISA in June 2020. In July 2020, she was recognised as one of the most streamed female artists on Spotify in the country.

10. Kwesta

Kwesta
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @kwestadakar
Source: Instagram

Senzo Brikka Vilakazi, professionally known as Kwesta, is a renowned South African rapper and songwriter. Thirty-two-year-old Kwesta is less than two decades old in the music industry, and his brand is cemented in the country. He is known for his rhythm and rhyme and his distinct baritone voice.

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So far, he has released four albums and worked with established artists like Wale, and his music has been beautifully received and propelled him to bag awards. One of his most recent hits, I came, I saw, which he featured Rick Ross, received immense feedback from Mzansi.

11. AKA

South African artists
South African artists. Photo: @akaworldwide
Source: Instagram

Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known to many as AKA, is an established South African rapper, record producer, singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. AKA has been in the music scene for close to two decades and has so far released four albums that have seen him bag awards.

His latest hit, Finessin, came out about four months ago, and it has received so much hype in the country. He has been privileged to work with admired artists like Burna Boy.

12. Blaq Diamond

Blaq Diamond
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @blaqdiamond150
Source: Instagram

Blaq Diamond is a musical Afro-pop duo that has taken the Mzansi music industry by storm. Their first album, Inqola, earned them a nomination at the South African Music Awards. Their second album, Umuthi, came out in 2019, and one of the hits, Ibhanyonyi, earned the duo an award at SAMA.

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In November 2020, the duo released another banger, SummerYoMuthi, and South Africans do not seem to have had enough of the song. In less than three months, it has fetched close to six million views on YouTube. At this rate, Blaq Diamond might be the country's new craze!

13. DJ Tira

South African music
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @djtira
Source: Instagram

Mthokozi Khathi, professionally known as DJ Tira, is a Mzansi DJ, record producer, and Kwaito artist. He rose to prominence in 2000, although he has been on the scene for almost three decades. He is regarded as one of the founders of Gqom music.

So far, he has released four studio albums, and his most recent one, 21 Years of DJ Tira, came out in 2020, and it was certified platinum by RISA. Some of the most remarkable hits in the album include Uyandazi and Nguwe.

Apart from growing his music, DJ Tira is known for discovering and helping young artists. He has collaborated with Nomcebo Zikode, Q Twins, Makhadzi, to mention a few.

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14. Focalistic

Focalistic
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @focalistic
Source: Instagram

Lethabo Sebetso, popularly known as Focalistic, is another famous Mzansi artist who made big moves in 2020 that impacted his career. He is a recording artist and entertainer who made his debut in music in 2016.

Ke Star was one of his platinum singles, and it featured the talented Vigro Deep. The Amapiano hit received enthusiastic support from the country and beyond.

15. Vigro Deep

VIgro Deep
Famous South African artists. Photo: @vigrodeep_za
Source: Instagram

DJ Vigro Deep is another sensation who is making big moves in Amapiano music. He has worked with famous artists in the genre. He significantly contributed to DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small's album, Scorpion Kings. To crown it all, he is an award-winning DJ.

16. Semi Tee

Semi Tee
Who is the most popular musician in 2020? Photo: @semi_tee
Source: Instagram

Tumeolo Ramila, popularly known as Semi Tee, is a talented artist affiliated with the Amapiano hit, Labantwana Ama Uber, which features Miano and Kammu Dee. He has also worked with Focalistic in hits such as Mercedes. He also featured in Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa's Lorch hit.

17. Nomcebo Zikode

Nomcebo Zikode
South African singers female 2020. Photo: @nomcebo_zikode
Source: Instagram

When she started her music career, Nomcebo Zikode did not imagine 2020 would be her year of breakthrough. The talented and fierce sensation featured in Jerusalema, the chart-topping single that the world cannot get over.

In 2020, she released her first disco album, Xola Moya Wam, and has received immense love from Mzansi. In 2020, Nomcebo Zikode bagged the best female award at the KZN Entertainment Awards.

18. Mafikizolo

Mafikizolo
South African music. Photo: @mafikizolo_africa
Source: Instagram

Mafikizolo is a South African duo that was formed in 1996. With nine studio albums, the award-winning duo is known to release one banger after the other. In 2020, they blessed their fans with Ngeke Balunge and Thandolwethu, hits that fans could not get enough of.

19. Snotkop

Snotkop
South African music. Photo: @snotkop
Source: Instagram

Francois Henning, popularly known as Snotkop, is a South African singer and rapper of Afrikaans. He has more than ten albums to his name and more than two decades' worth of music experience. His most recent hit, Pens En Pootjies, has earned him close to five million views on YouTube. Snotkop is also a recipient of the best Sokkie Dans Album during the 18th SAMA Awards.

20. Sun-El Musician

Sun-El Music
Famous South African artists. Photo: @sunelmusician
Source: Instagram

Sanele Sithole, famously known as Sun-El Musician, is a well-known Mzansi DJ, producer, and songwriter. He rose to fame in 2016 after the release of Akanamali, a jam he worked on alongside Samthing Soweto. He has released two studio albums, and Into Ngawe, a hit he released in 2019, was certified gold and later double-platinum. Ubomi Abumanga is one of his latest projects, and it features Msaki.

This list of famous South African musicians is a testament to the growth in the music industry. It is also proof of how much the country has propelled the growth of talented artists.

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