South Africa Spotify Top Albums Of 2023 Wrapped
Someone should get a raise for coming up with Spotify Wrapped. When the music-streaming site Spotify releases its yearly Spotify Wrapped lists, it’s like a musical holiday. Users share and talk about the lists, which is exactly what the company wants. One feature was changed and one was added this year.
You probably already have a strong feeling or a sneaking suspicion about which artist or artists you liked the most this year. But the fun of Spotify Wrapped is being able to prove that. You might cringe if an uncool artist makes it into your top five, or you might feel proud if all of your artists are eclectic indie stars about to go big. You knew them first, after all.
You can find out how many songs you listened to in 2023 on Spotify Wrapped. It also tells you more about the song you listened to the most, like how many times you played it and even when you first heard it. It also makes a mix of your favourite songs.
South Africa Top Albums 2023
Below are the most Streamed Album in South Africa in 2023.
5. Drake, 21Savage – Her loss
One sad thing that always happens with new pop star records is that they are immediately broken down into gossipy bits. Within minutes of the release of “Her Loss,” the new collaborative album by Drake and 21 Savage, Twitter and hip-hop news and gossip sites were aflame: a stray reference to Serena Williams’s husband, nods to old rap industry quarrels, an ambiguous multiple entendre referencing Megan Thee Stallion.
Drake is well aware that this will be friendly. It’s not fan service like Taylor Swift’s Easter eggs, but it shows that they know the metanarrative is important for many viewers, maybe even those who don’t bother to listen at all.
And yes, this is one way to measure an album’s success: how much chatter it engenders. Even the way “Her Loss” was marketed—with fake Vogue magazine covers and fake performances on NPR’s “Tiny Desk” series and “The Howard Stern Show”—showed that the people behind it knew how useful and stupid the way information flows online these days.
But somewhere beneath all of that is the music, which these days ends up being more of an escape from the talking than anything else.
4. AKA – Mass Country
It looked like a hit just a few weeks before the South African rapper AKA (Kiernan Forbes) was killed. He had said he was going to release his new record, Mass Country. Even though he had died, his family chose to honour him by putting out the album on time.
At his memorial service in Johannesburg, fellow rapper and regular collaborator Yanga Chief gave an amazing speech. He talked about a lot of AKA’s artistic process in it. Yanagawa said that AKA knew it took “an army of different elements to make a hit.” To put it another way, the search for Sonic Gold was very careful, very intentional, and very interesting. AKA did what it took to find the best beats, hooks, and people to work with.
The rapper’s fourth record, Mass Country, might have been much worse without all the guest appearances and collaborations. Before the highly expected release, AKA said he wasn’t just a staple in hip-hop but also a huge star in pop music. Some of what you say about yourself is true.
Mass Country is an uneasy mix of different styles, moods, and tastes slapped on top of a lot of different beats, productions, and artists.
AKA cast a wide net to find people to work on his projects. Some of the best rappers in South Africa, like Khuli Chana, Blxckie, Emtee, Nadia Nakai, Nasty C, Sjava, Yanga Chief, and Nigeria’s KDDO, worked together to make what was meant to be a masterpiece or at least a landmark record.
Only a few songs have AKA performing mostly by himself, and when he does, it’s mostly to boost his own ego. In Mbuzi (freestyle), he talks about how great he is and how he is at the top of the hip-hop heap. That he’s “cut from a different cloth” is something he says to people who disagree with him. But in this cool track, South African rapper Thato Soul trashes AKA’s own song. In this case, Thato, not AKA, is the clear beast.
This Latin-inspired track by AKA does better with help from Mozambican hip-hop artist Laylizzy and up-and-coming rapper Weathrd. These people who work with him again make the joint better than average. One of the few times AKA does his chorus without using autotune, he does it. Another time, AKA acts like a passenger on his own ship, while his coworkers are in charge.
It’s hard to make a bad movie when you have such a great group of artists and a string of hits. What about AKA’s part in the artistic process of the album? Putting out darts at a board and hope that something sticks is a lot of what the album sounds like. This makes this set of songs pretty hard to handle.
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3. Metro Boomin – Hero’s & Villains
Heroes & Villains is more than just big-name acts and fireworks, though. It’s a big, detailed song that’s kind of in the middle of being streaming filler and world-building. It’s sad that some of these singers are either getting older and out of the spotlight (Future), changing careers (Travis Scott), or doing time in prison (Young Thug, Gunna). Heros & Villains looks like a collection of psychedelic trap songs and hit singles with cool comic book covers. But it really feels like the last winning gasp from the biggest rappers of the last ten years and their favourite hitmaker producer.
But Heroes & Villains shows that Metro wants to do more than just make hits. Not All Heroes Wear Capes, his 2018 album, was the first time he showed his big picture vision. On that album, his moody, sparse beats got bigger, greater, and more complicated. But when he tried to move away from his signature sound, it showed how limited his skills are: Metro is great at making Metro-style beats but shaky when he steps out of his comfort zone. On Heroes & Villains, he makes more bangers than usual and also takes some fun risks. A symphonic start like Francis and the Lights’? Sure, why not? Mario Winans’ “I Don’t Wanna Know” was changed to include the Weeknd and 21 Savage. Let us do it. Metro is getting a little more creative, but he’s not giving up on what makes his music so appealing in the first place.
At the end of last year, Private School amapiano pioneer Kelvin Momo released Ivy League, a 21-track album that changed the course of his career. He doesn’t move on from his smooth, emotional sound or hedge his bets against the next wave of trap-inspired piano artists on this one. Instead, he goes for a mix of all of them. It’s one of the best amapiano full-lengths to come out at a time when the genre isn’t sure what it’s going to do. There have already been a lot of different versions of amapiano in South Africa, even though the scene is still pretty new. People have also tried to copy and use the sound in other countries. Momo has been a part of every change, and his songs honour the genre for what it was meant to do: express South African tones and textures that go back decades in the country’s jazz, soul, kwaito, and bacardi music past.
My favourite part of Ivy League is the history lesson in the song “Madlamini,” which features Sino Msolo and old and new friends. The nursery song vocal makes South Africa’s township kids feel like they’ve heard it before, but now it’s been updated for people in their 30s. Keys and guitars that are mathematically exact make up “Teka” and “Groove,” while “Shari” is a display of how quickly you can change words. The title track is the best. It’s a 16-minute, colourful, and rich piece that explores amapiano’s journey through its instrumental roots, featuring marimbas and guitars; the progressive percussion that goes beyond the required log drum; a classic vocal refrain; and the addition of sPitori (Pretoria slang), which could be seen as a glimpse into the genre’s future by Ch’cco, the creator of “Nkao Tempela” and one of the most promising artists giving voice to the people.
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The perfect music for “soft life” by Kelvin Momo shows how well he can compose complex instrumentals as a very good pianist and how well he can choose powerful guest vocals. It wouldn’t be a Momo project without Babalwa M’s beauty, and she does that more than once. The two artists show off their always great chemistry by inviting vocalist Sekiwe (who won hearts with Lemon & Herb and Black Motion’s “Uyaxolisa”) to join them on the first track. Aymos also joins them on “Inyembezi,” voicing some of the most popular amapiano songs of all time, such as “Emcimbini” and “Uzozisola.” On the moody and catchy “Asphuze,” the melodic Murumba Pitch duo take the lead. Killer Punch and Mphow_69 close the record with “More Momo.” Momo presents another treasure trove with the help of his all-star cast. As a master of his craft, he continues to push the limits of what amapiano can become. When it comes to amapiano, Ivy League has more defining moments and talks and moves with more eloquence.
1. Sza – SoS
As we already know, SZA is very dedicated to her work. During the public problems she was having with her longtime record label TDE and her major-label partner RCA, she wrote hundreds of songs for SOS, so cutting them down to just 23 is a very restrained move. On the other hand, SOS is a clear record of how much SZA has improved her singing since the beautiful CTRL—how she’s become a more precise lyricist and creative musician. Even though she considers herself to be an R&B artist, she doesn’t care much about genre tropes.
She screams her guts out on the instant classic “fuck you” number “I Hate U” on SOS. There’s also a rough rap track that makes you miss the good old days of real mixtapes (“Smokin’ on my Ex Pack”) and, somewhat surprisingly, a country song with a pop-punk chorus about revenge sex (“F2F”). This can sometimes land in the mushy middle. For example, on “Ghost in the Machine,” her highly anticipated collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, the two of them sing in sync over glitch techno and synthetic harps played by Rob Bisel and Carter Lang, who work together a lot. Also, the song “Special,” which is about body dysmorphia, sounds like she wrote it from a Taylor Swift character, like her loose single “Joni,” but it sounds a bit flat when put next to other songs that do a better job of showing the same feeling.
But woe to her small-time ex-boyfriends. Within the bait-and-switch stalker song “Kill Bill,” she sings, “I might kill my ex/Not the best idea,” putting all of her darkest thoughts on paper while an electric bass gently walks behind her. On a soothing, string-filled ballad fit for a water sign, “Blind” sings “my pussy precedes me” and “You still talking about babies/I’m still takin’ a Plan B.” Another rough acoustic song like “Fade Into You” that was played on an AM radio in Nashville, “Nobody Gets Me,” describes a sexual situation: “You were balls deep/Now we beefin’/And we butt-naked at the MGM, so drunk, screaming’ ‘fuck that.'” She writes really funny songs, and she gives her specific visual setting and honest feelings space and rhythm to make them sound better.
SZA is at her most personal when she shares these insights. She does this with a set of mid-tempo songs that speed up the loping beat with her vocal and emotional changes.
As on the moving breakup song “Gone Girl,” which is played over a warm Rhodes piano and shows off her pure vocal range, she puts herself in the path of classic R&B. “Far” dismisses that idea while looking at what happened after the split: “Too Late” sounds like Janet Jackson in the mid-1980s and asks if the breakup was the wrong thing to do. She almost cries, “I’m far because I can’t trust nobody,” making you want to cry with her and cheer for her to get back on her feet. And on Babyface-produced “Snooze,” a song so rooted in the classics that the outro fades out instead of ending, she remembers how sleepy it feels to be in love before adding a pitch-shifted line that says, “How you threatening to leave and I’m the main one crying?”
SZA still stands on her own terms, even though she is going through a lot of mental pain. A jam by Ol’ Dirty Bastard is at the end of SOS. It was taken from old documentary footage shot by the famous R&B producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. The sample, which was used in “Goin’ Down” on Return to the 36 Chambers, is the perfect way to end her record, which is full of her best work and different styles.
“Give a fuck what you prefer,” she raps over a dirty beat. “I am too deep to go back and forth with a normal jerk.” She seems mature; who among us hasn’t told themselves something like, “Damn bitch you so thirsty,” as she sings on the catchy song “Shirt”? That mix of confidence and naiveté is exactly what has made people love her music and personality so much. The ability of SZA is out of this world, but you may know someone who is a bit like her. It could be you.