Nigeria is undeniably associated with the global growth and spread of African music, particularly in the popular genres of Afro pop and afrobeats. These genres have become some of the largest in the world, with strong roots in Nigeria. Due to the widespread presence of Nigerians in various parts of the world, we have curated a list of foreign artists who possess Nigerian heritage, and who have made significant contributions in their fields as musicians, songwriters, producers, fashion designers and actors.
It is a common misconception that some of the most famous black artists are African Americans or from other African countries, but in reality, many of these individuals have Nigerian roots through their parents, birth, immigration or nationalization. Although they may not have launched their careers in West Africa, their Nigerian heritage is an integral part of their identity.
At Naijatastic, we are passionate about promoting and showcasing Nigerian and African music to the world. Our goal is to create quality and noteworthy articles that highlight the latest news and happenings in the Nigerian music scene, including the achievements and contributions of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian. We believe that these artists play a vital role in shaping the global music industry and deserve recognition for their talent and creativity.
Here are the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian…
One of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian is the renowned American rapper and composer Nasir Jones, popularly known as Nas. Interestingly, Nas was born to a father of Nigerian roots, Olu Dara, which makes him have strong connections to his Nigerian heritage. Nas’s illustrious musical career began when he was just a teenager, and he quickly made a name for himself in the industry.
His debut studio album, “Illmatic,” is considered by many to be his most iconic and widely recognized work. It received critical acclaim and is still considered a classic in hip-hop music to this day. Throughout his career, Nas has been nominated for a staggering twelve Grammy Awards, cementing his place as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Despite his success, Nas has remained humble and continues to create music that resonates with people from all walks of life.
It’s worth noting that while Nas worked with a producer named Large Professor on his debut album, he didn’t release it to the public just yet. Instead, his first released single, “Live at the Barbeque,” was a special guest contribution to a song by Main Source in 1991. This track helped to establish Nas’s reputation as a skilled lyricist and set the stage for his future success in the music industry.
Skepta is a prominent figure among the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian, as he is not only a British rapper, but also has Nigerian roots. He has made a name for himself in the UK rap scene and is well-known in Nigeria, thanks to his collaboration with Wizkid on the hit song “Bad Energy.” As a grime MC, rapper, and record producer, Skepta has proven himself to be a multi-talented artist. He began his musical journey by temporarily joining Roll Deep with his younger brother Jme before becoming a founding member of Boy Better Know in 2005.
One of the most notable moments in Skepta’s career was his infamous clash with fellow MC Devilman during the video release of Lord of the Mics 2, which became one of the biggest fights in grime history. Despite the setback, Skepta continued to pursue his passion and released his first studio album, “Greatest Hits,” independently in 2007, followed by “Microphone Champion” in 2009. Skepta’s third studio album, “Doin’ It Again,” was released in 2011 through AATW, and it cemented his status as a rising star in the UK rap scene.
The album showcased Skepta’s lyrical prowess and versatility as an artist, and it received critical acclaim from fans and critics alike. Throughout his career, Skepta has continued to push the boundaries of UK rap and grime, collaborating with some of the biggest names in music and inspiring a new generation of artists. As one of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian, Skepta is a shining example of the incredible talent and creativity that Nigeria has to offer to the world of music.
One of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian is Wale, who is of Yoruba descent. He rose to public attention in 2006 with his hit song “Dig Dug (Shake It)” which became well-liked within his local community. Through his continuous production of music for the local market, Wale gained popularity and recognition locally. In the same year, Wale had his first interaction with English DJ and producer Mark Ronson. The following year, in 2007, he signed with Ronson’s label, Allido Records.
This was a significant move for Wale as it opened up opportunities for him to reach a wider audience. During his time with Allido Records, Wale released several mixtapes and made appearances on MTV and various Black American-focused publications. His music gained recognition, and he was featured in various media outlets. One of the notable achievements during this time was when his song “Ridin” was included in the soundtrack of the popular video game, Saints Row 2, in the “That Black Joint” category.
One of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian is rapper Chamillionaire, whose real name is Hakeem Temidayo Seriki. While he was born and raised in the United States, he proudly identifies with his Nigerian heritage. Chamillionaire gained popularity as the founder and founding member of The Color Changin’ Click from 2001 until their split in 2005. In 2002, Chamillionaire began his solo career with regional releases that caught the attention of the Houston rap scene.
He collaborated with fellow Houston rapper and childhood friend Paul Wall to release the joint album “Get Ya Mind Correct”. This marked a significant milestone in his career as it garnered recognition and praise within the local music scene. In 2005, Chamillionaire signed with Universal Records and released his debut album “The Sound of Revenge”.
The album featured his chart-topping and Grammy-winning hit single “Ridin'” featuring Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, as well as other hit singles like “Turn It Up” with Lil’ Flip. This album was a major success for Chamillionaire, as it helped him gain national and international recognition and solidified his place as a rising star in the music industry.
Jidenna, also known as Theodore Mobisson, is a talented rapper and musician of Nigerian descent who has made a name for himself in the American music industry. He is one of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian and is currently signed to Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Records. Jidenna has collaborated with several artists on the label, including Roman GianArthur, St. Beauty, and Janelle Monáe. He is widely recognized for his unique blend of African and American sounds, which he seamlessly combines in his music. In February of 2015, Jidenna released his debut single, “Classic Man,” which featured GianArthur.
The song quickly gained popularity in both the United States and Nigeria and was played extensively on the airwaves. “Classic Man” made an impressive debut on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, where it landed at position number 49. Jidenna’s success as a musician has earned him a place among the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian. His music continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, and he remains a prominent figure in the music industry. With his talent and dedication, Jidenna is sure to achieve even greater success in the future.
Looking for the latest and greatest Nigerian music videos? Check out our post on the top 15 latest Nigerian music videos in 2023 to discover some of the hottest new releases from your favorite artists.
Rotimi is a talented musician and actor who was born in New Jersey to parents of Nigerian descent. He is among the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian and is known for his exceptional skills in both acting and music. With such diverse cultural roots, Rotimi grew up with a deep appreciation for both his Nigerian heritage and American upbringing. As a musician, Rotimi has made waves in the music industry with his unique blend of Afrobeat, R&B, and hip-hop sounds.
He has released several hit singles, including “Love Riddim,” which has amassed over 20 million streams on Spotify alone. His music has been praised for its catchy beats, smooth vocals, and infectious rhythms. In addition to his music career, Rotimi has also made a name for himself as an actor. He has appeared in popular TV shows such as “Power” and “Boss,” as well as films like “Divergent” and “Deuces.” His talent as an actor has earned him critical acclaim and a loyal fan base.
Seal is a highly successful British singer-songwriter who is considered among the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian. He has sold over 20 million records worldwide and has received numerous accolades throughout his career. Seal’s mother, Adebisi Ogundeji, was of Nigerian descent, while his father, Francis Samuel, was Brazilian. Seal spent his formative years abroad where he developed a passion for music.
He later pursued a career in music and has since become a household name. Throughout his career, Seal has won several prestigious awards, including three Brit Prizes, four Grammys, and an MTV Video Music Award. He has also received two Ivor Novello Awards for his compositions, further cementing his status as one of the most talented musicians of his generation. Seal’s music is known for its soulful and emotive qualities, and his voice is often described as rich and powerful.
He has released several hit albums, including “Seal,” “Seal II,” and “Human Being,” which have all been met with critical and commercial success. Aside from his music career, Seal has also dabbled in acting, appearing in films such as “Batman Forever” and “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.” He has also been a coach on the Australian version of “The Voice,” where he mentored aspiring musicians.
8. Tinie Tempah
Tinie Tempah, also known as Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu, is a highly regarded lyricist and rapper who is considered among the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian. Born in England, Tinie is the son of Nigerian Igbo parents and has made a name for himself in the music industry with his unique style and powerful lyrics. Tinie’s music is known for its fusion of hip-hop, electronic, and pop sounds.
He burst onto the scene in 2010 with his debut single, “Pass Out,” which quickly became a massive success. The song topped the UK Singles Chart and sold over 92,000 copies in its first week, solidifying Tinie’s status as a rising star in the industry. Since then, Tinie has released several hit albums, including “Disc-Overy” and “Youth,” which have both received critical and commercial success.
He has collaborated with numerous artists, including WizKid, Jess Glynne, and Zara Larsson, among others, and has been praised for his ability to seamlessly blend different genres and create unique and memorable music. In addition to his music career, Tinie is also known for his fashion sense and has been a style icon for many years. He has been featured in several high-profile fashion campaigns and has been recognized for his contributions to the industry.
The Nigerian music scene is filled with a wealth of talent, including the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian. Among them is Lemar Obika, a well-known English musician whose success story is nothing short of inspiring. Lemar’s journey to fame began when he participated in the pilot season of the British talent show, Fame Academy, where he placed third. This achievement led to widespread recognition, opening doors for him in the music industry.
He soon caught the attention of Sony BMG, signing a record deal with them and releasing five studio albums. Lemar’s music has garnered a significant following, with three of his studio albums being certified platinum or double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). He has sold over two million albums in the United Kingdom and Ireland, a testament to his chart success. Lemar’s music has been a hit with fans, with ten top 20 singles to his name.
Seven of those singles have even reached the top 10, cementing his place as one of the most successful musicians in the UK. In fact, he is widely regarded as the most famous performer to emerge from a talent competition. Despite his English roots, Lemar has undoubtedly made an impact in the Nigerian music industry, earning him a place among the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian. His music has resonated with fans all over the world, and his success story serves as an inspiration to aspiring musicians everywhere.
10. Sade Adu
Sade Adu, who is also known as Sade, is a British singer with Nigerian roots and the lead vocalist of her self-titled band. She has left an indelible mark on modern music, and her legacy continues to inspire generations of artists. Sade is regarded as one of the most influential figures in music, and her immense talent has earned her a place among the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian.
As one of the most successful British female singers of all time, Sade’s contributions to the music industry have been recognized with numerous accolades. In 2002, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the field of music. Then, in 2017, she was promoted to the rank of Commander in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, an incredible feat that reflects the magnitude of her accomplishments.
Born in Ibadan, Nigeria, Sade spent part of her childhood in Essex, England. Her multicultural background has undoubtedly influenced her music, which is characterized by a unique blend of soul, jazz, and pop. Sade’s music has inspired many artists across different genres, particularly in the hip-hop community, where she is widely revered as an icon.
Sade’s music has garnered critical acclaim and commercial success, with her band’s six studio albums selling millions of copies worldwide. Her distinctive voice, coupled with her evocative lyrics and smooth melodies, has captivated audiences globally. Sade’s music is timeless, and her legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians to this day.
Nigerian music is hotter than ever, and there are plenty of new releases and rising stars to discover. If you’re looking for the next big thing in Nigerian music, don’t miss our posts on the top Nigerian artists to keep an eye on this year.
11. Tion Wayne
Tion Wayne, born Dennis Junior Odunwo, is a highly influential rapper and songwriter with Nigerian heritage, making him one of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian. Although an English citizen, Tion’s parents are of Nigerian origin and migrated to England. As a celebrated artist, Tion Wayne has made a significant impact in the music industry, having collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music scene.
He is known for his ability to blend different genres, creating a unique sound that resonates with fans across the globe. Tion Wayne has also made a conscious effort to connect with his Nigerian roots, regularly visiting the country and collaborating with Nigerian artists. His recent collaboration with the popular Nigerian artist, Davido, on the hit track “Who’s True” has further solidified his position in the Nigerian music scene. The song has garnered significant attention globally, further showcasing Tion Wayne’s versatility as an artist.
Tion Wayne’s unique sound has garnered a massive following, and his music has topped charts worldwide. His ability to seamlessly blend various music genres, including rap, R&B, and Afrobeats, has earned him widespread acclaim and recognition. Furthermore, Tion Wayne’s impact extends beyond the music industry. He has used his platform to inspire and empower young people, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, through his work with various community organizations.
One of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian is David Orobosa Omoregie, who is widely known as Santan Dave or simply Dave. He is a British artist with Nigerian roots, and both of his parents hail from Edo state in Nigeria. Dave has gained significant recognition and respect in the music industry for his exceptional creativity and lyrical prowess as an artist.
Dave’s impressive track record includes winning the MOBO Awards, a prestigious recognition in the music industry, which showcases his remarkable talent and artistry. His music is a blend of different genres, including rap, R&B, and grime, making him a versatile artist who appeals to a wide range of music lovers. One of Dave’s most popular and successful songs is “Location,” which features the African giant, Burna Boy.
This song is an exceptional collaboration between two top foreign musicians that are Nigerian and is definitely worth listening to. The track’s infectious beat, catchy chorus, and insightful lyrics make it a fan favorite and a chart-topping hit. Dave’s skillful rap verses combined with Burna Boy’s unique afro-fusion style make “Location” an outstanding and memorable musical masterpiece.
13. Tyler The Creator
Tyler Gregory Okonma, better known as Tyler the Creator, is one of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian, and a renowned rapper, producer, and fashion icon. He is of mixed descent, born to a Nigerian father and an American mother. Tyler’s unique heritage has played a significant role in shaping his identity as an artist, and his music is a reflection of his diverse cultural background.
Tyler’s contribution to American music and fashion has been immense, and he has emerged as an influential figure in both industries. His music is a blend of various genres, including hip hop, jazz, and funk, and he has a reputation for pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. His creative approach to music production has earned him critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base worldwide. Apart from his musical talent, Tyler is also known for his fashion sense and unique personal style.
He has collaborated with several fashion brands and has even launched his own clothing line. His distinctive fashion sense has inspired many, and he has become an icon in the fashion industry. Tyler’s mixed Nigerian-American heritage is a source of inspiration for him, and he has often referenced his Nigerian roots in his music and fashion. His Nigerian heritage has also played a significant role in shaping his perspective on social and political issues, and he has used his platform to raise awareness about various causes.
14. Maleek Berry
Maleek Berry is one of the top foreign musicians that are Nigerian, and a British-Nigerian born singer, record producer, and recording artiste. Born in South London, UK in 1987, Maleek Berry has emerged as one of the most sought-after producers and collaborators in the Nigerian and international music scene. Maleek Berry’s music is a fusion of various genres, including Afrobeat, R&B, and hip-hop, and his unique sound has earned him critical acclaim and commercial success.
He has recorded several hit songs throughout his career, including “Kontrol,” “Eko Miami,” and “Love U Long Time,” which have topped music charts and earned him a dedicated fan base worldwide. In addition to his solo music career, Maleek Berry is also a highly regarded record producer and has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry. He has collaborated with prominent Nigerian artists such as Wizkid, Ycee, Wande Coal, Iyanya, Davido, Runtown, and many others, as well as American rapper Wale.
Maleek Berry’s creative approach to music production has earned him a reputation as one of the best producers in the industry. His ability to infuse various genres and styles into his music has made him a favorite among music fans and industry insiders alike. He has also been recognized for his songwriting skills, with several of his songs becoming fan favorites and chart-toppers.
Maleek Berry’s Nigerian heritage has played a significant role in shaping his music and his perspective on various social and political issues. He has used his platform to raise awareness about various causes in Nigeria, and has inspired many with his commitment to making a positive impact through his music.
To truly understand the impact of Nigerian music in Africa, it’s important to take a closer look at the most popular genres. Check out our post on the most popular genres of music in Nigeria to learn more about the country’s diverse musical landscape.
The top foreign musicians that are Nigerian have made a significant impact on the global music scene, with their talent, creativity, and unique perspectives. They have transcended geographical and cultural boundaries, and their Nigerian heritage has played an essential role in shaping their music and identity.
These artists have not only contributed to the growth and spread of African music worldwide, but they have also become important ambassadors of Nigerian culture and values. As the music industry continues to evolve, it is safe to say that the influence of Nigerian musicians and artists will continue to be felt and celebrated around the world.