With it being a few hours till we officially bid the year 2023 goodbye, I am once again back to do what I have done for the past couple of years, to share a recap of the incredible songs that I deemed standouts from this musical year.

Below you’ll find the Best Songs of 2023, cutting across a variety of genres, from energetic street jams to rap cuts, pop, and sensational Amapiano records, as handpicked by me. The main criteria for song selection has been based on a song’s airplay, charting, radio and TV requests, virality on platforms like Tiktok, and overall online performance, in terms of streams and conversations around these particular artists on social media. Also considered is how the song has been able to impact the soundscape as well as career of the artist.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. NANA – Joshua Baraka

If NANA were a person, it would be those who belong to a category that don’t need no introduction since their prominence and works speaks for themselves. As a product of yet another Axon masterclass and earning the title for most exported song of the year 2023 by Spotify, Joshua Baraka’s NANA still stands as the most streamed song this year, having garnered over 3.4Million in audio streams on Spotify alone,  3.4Million for its official music video on YouTube, 1.1Million views on its International remix that featured Bien, King Promise, and Joeboy, thereby further paving his way to an even brighter 2024 ahead career wise.

2. FEEL – Davido

On what is believed to be his best album yet came ‘TIMELESS’, a body of work by Davido.  Bearing only hits and no misses is what this fourth set by the Afrobeats star’s album was, hence making the decision to pick from either UNAVAILABLE (Feat Musa Keys), “KANTE (Feat Fave), NO COMPETITION (Feat Asake), and “FEEL” a tough one, showcasing Davido as a superstar, one ahead of his time. From its captivating lyricism, and exciting production, both audio and video, “FEEL” was that song!

3. CHEKECHA (Remix) – Karole Kasita, Vinka, Winnie Nwagi

Ever wondered what happens when three juggernauts link up? What went down on the CHEKECHA (Remix) is what happens. I mean, there was so much to love about this song. From how Karole Kasita, Vinka, and Winnie Nwagi complemented each other on their verses, to its really appealing music video. The track has not only dominated charts on streaming platforms but also stood out as a party starter the minute its intro played. Of course, knowing Vinka for the hard babe she is when it comes to verses and punchlines, she employed her deep yet captivating voice to add flavor to the track, whose pace and banger potential could already be felt from the set go, thanks to her vocals that were in sync with Karol’s. “CHEKECHA” originally appeared on Karole Kasita’s 2022 “Limited Edition” album.


Asake continued where he stopped from last year, this time dishing out a couple of more bangers, which culminated into a whole album “Work of Art”. “Lonely At The Top”, a single which touches on the loneliness that comes from success connected with listeners, especially as it offered something different from the Amapiano exploration that soundtracked Asake’s mainstream rise, took the world by storm, and has seen some social media users even tag it the Afrobeats song of the year, sparking discussions and comparisons with the rest of the year’s releases.

5. RISK – Vyroota

One of the best and biggest surprises of the year was the success of “RISK”, the mainstream position affirmer for young star Vyroota, who warns us about the risks of being overly deep when we fall or believe in intimacy or love.

6. BAILANDO – Vinka

You may be living under a rock if you don’t listen to this Vinka offering at least twice a week, everyday since it was released. I mean, what else spells a proper party like, “It’s a weekend, eno Tusimbudde?” like ‘Bailando’ did? Exactly. This joins the evergrowing list of bangers Vinka has continued to dish out, this year alone, her name being credited on efforts like ‘Believe’, alongside Dax Vibez, riding shotgun with Winnie Nwagi and Karole Kasita for the Remix of ‘Checkecha’, and ‘Tutu Mama’, on which she lends vocals to the Elijah Kitaka led single.

7. SINGLE AGAIN – Harmonize

Tanzanian Bongo flavor star Harmonize put a spin on Amapiano and delivered an adage of a dope song with ‘SINGLE AGAIN’, recounting on the modern dating scene.

8. FUKUMEAN – Gunna

Best known for his glorious and catchy adlibs, Gunna dropped yet another triumphant anthem in “Fukumean,” and your guess is as good as mine, it was a Tiktok craze, as was his “Pushing P” during its time.

9. NOTHING – Elijah Kitaka

Elijah Kitaka and Vinka’s instant classic and masterpiece was the center of the burgeoning Swangz Avenue male signee’s latest EP ‘Bedroom Essentials’, thereby launching him into mainstream success. The body of work also housed fan favorites “Ndi Wuwo”, “Tippy Toe”, to mention but a few but the one that initially did all the hard work in paving the way was “NOTHING”. This song, guys, was everything, and it later got a remix version featuring Vyper Ranking, Kohen Jaycee, Timothy Code, The Mith, and Wonder JR.

10. FOU DE TOi – ELEMENT EleéeH, Bruce Melodie and Ross Kana.

Talented Rwandan beat smith turned singer, ELEMENT EleéeH teamed up with fellow countrymen Bruce Melodie and Ross Kana and delivered us one monster of an anthem that is “FOU DE Toi”. The thing that captivated me asides the track being so wholesomely arranged was its cinematic visuals, choice of outifts and everything in between that was inspired by Netflix’s hit series “Queen Charlotte”.

11. MNIKE – Tyler ICU & Tumela_za Ft. DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA & Tyron Dee

Coined out of a Zulu word to mean “Give Me”, “Mnike” has been one of those fast-moving Amapiano records of the year. Just like its other counterparts in the genre, the lyrics to “MNIKE” encourage listeners to let loose and have fun, creating a sense of joyful abandon that is infectious. For the number of times of I have heard the various DJs spin this record this year, it is only right that gets a number on here.

12. TERMINATOR – King Promise

‘Terminator” proves why Ghanaian talent King Promise is indeed that Five Star artist he refers to himself as. The song speaks of standing your ground, remaining solid, and unbothered amidst all the false rumours and judgement the public runs over you. ‘Terminator’ varies a perfect formula for a hit; combining the star’s unequivocal voice, catchy lyrics, and a captivating Amapiano beat.

13. SALARY – Ugaboys, Selekta Jeff

Ugandan star producer and music curator lined up with budding duo Ugaboys and blessed us with ‘Salary’, by far another of the most played records all year long. Since release, it’s dominated top hangout spots, enjoying airplay and charts while also getting people to groove. The duo is known for making feel-good bops, with their current one “KUCHAKALA” doing exceptional rounds in the media and everywhere else music gets played.

14. ANTI HERO – Taylor Swift

Released as the lead single on American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album, Midnights (2022) is Anti Hero. On it Taylor expresses her human and normal self who is capable pf having a dark and toxic side. While speaking to Genius, she revelead that this is among her favorite songs she’s ever written. Taylor Swift loves ‘Anti Hero” and so do we.

15. EBISEERA EBYO – King Saha

Widely adored singer, songwriter King Saha’s ‘Ebiseera Ebyo’ on which he narrates his childhood experiences, stories of growing up, and the magic of the good old days was an instant compass anthem.

16. MY BABY – Diamond Platnumz, Chike

Tanzanian kingpin Diamond Platnumz had a string of sizzling singles this year. Many but not limited to “Yatapita,” though “My Baby” on which he features the sultry Chike was a classic piece of song, definitely making it a standout anthem in 2023.

17. BARBIE WORLD – Aqua, Nicki Minaj, Ice Spice

Is it pop? Electronic music? Or hip-hop? The only thing that is certain is that that tune will stand out. Recorded for the “Barbie” film, the track received so much acclaim, including Titkok virality, charting on the Billboard Bot 100, and a pop rewind with many individuals worldwide embracing the color pink (Men inclusive), as well as giving the doll company that produces the Barbie dolls a surge/growth of over 14% in terms of a surge in sales of the iconic doll.

18. RHYTHM & BLUES – Ayra Starr

Continuing what’s been a good year for the MAVIN Records Princess, Afrobeats star Ayra Starr kept the continent on its dancing feet, thanks to ‘Sability’, ‘Ngozi’ (where she’s featured by Crayon) and of course ‘Rhythms & Blues’.

19. TAKE IT SLOW – Vyper Ranking, Winnie Nwagi

Two of the hottest names on the Ugandan music scene traded verses and in so doing, created one of the most iconic music moments this year, with ‘Take It Slow”.  The record was lifted off Vyper Ranking’s ‘The Tryst” EP.

20. CHARM – Rema

Following the success of his catalog, which has for this past year as fronted by his Selena Gomez backed remix of ‘Calm Down’, at this point, it is no secret that whatever Rema touches turns to gold. I mean, look at the “CHARM” impact whenever it gets played out there or the tracks off his “RAVAGE” EP, with the standout being “TROUBLE MAKER”. I mean, who stays seated, when the iconic, ‘See body-oo’ catchy hook plays? Not any one I know of, or at least I am yet to see. That’s the power of the Raver that is Rema’s ‘CHARM’.

21. BABYLON – Patoranking, Victony

Despite arriving late, the joint effort ‘BABYLON” by Patoranking and Victony impacted every corner of streaming platforms, playlists, and DJ sets, as well as radio airplay. This of course would go without saying, it was Victony’s “No Bad Song’ streak continuing to manifest, as he has not missed on any collaboration he’s featured, right from Mayorkun’s ‘HOLY FATHER’, among others. Also released this year was “KOLO KOLO”, on which Patoranking features Diamond Platnumz but we gotta admit, ‘BABYLON’ had us hooked instantly and have since never released us.

22. FLOWERS – Miley Cyrus

Reclaiming girl power amid a candid nonchalant love ecperience, Miley Cyrus sings of loving herself more and finds empowerment in doing all the things her male love interest could have done for her, including buying her flowers, and holding her hand.


The African Giant reigned supreme with his studio album, ‘I Told Them’, and continues to rule not just the charts, the dancefloor, and Tiktok but RIAA certifications too, with every album and every single released. ‘Tested, Approved & Trusted’ just like its title speaks for itself—a bonified banger, without doubt.

Attached is the full playlist to the Top 50 tracks of the year. Did I leave out any? Let me know on socials (@Mugibson).

Album-wise, standout projects have been:

  1. TIMELESS – Davido
  2. 5TH DIMENSION – Stonebwoy
  3. BEDROOM ESSENTIALS (EP) – Elijah Kitaka
  4. WHEN THE SUN SETS (EP) – Shawn Maine
  5. FINALLY (EP) – Mike Mungu