The 7 best South African-Nigerian collaborations

Some of the finest music ever made between South African and Nigerian artistes. 

Nigerians and South Africans have a long history of collaborating. Although the music from both these nations share very diverse background and sonic compositions, the artistes have always found a way to make it work. 

This list, which cuts across genres – house, hip-hop, R&B, kwaito – and movements is an attempt at representing the beautiful collaborative energy between music practitioners from South Africa and Nigeria. With the history of xenophobia concerning both countries, one should (re)visit these songs, fall in love, and through the power of beautiful music, behold the beautiful prospect of One Africa.


Davido – Tchelete (feat. Mafikizolo) (2014)

After ‘Khona’, South African duo Mafikizolo, made up of Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza, saw their stock rise across the continent. Shortly after, they collaborated with the hottest artiste on the market. 

“Tchelete” is a celebratory lap, full of energy and yet poise. The production, delivered by the trio of Maphorisa, Oskido and Shizzi, provide the perfect sonic world for the melodic variation of the artistes, as the song quickly becomes an anthem – surely, it is delivered in the languages of Yoruba, English, Nigerian Pidgin, Isizulu, and isixhosa. 


AKA – All Eyes on Me (feat. Burna Boy, Da L.E.S., JR)
(2014) 

With the title inspired by 2pac, the song itself draws from the fearless charm of the late great rapper and actor. 

In between a classic Burna Boy hook, the featuring South African rappers deliver verse after verse laced in braggadocio. 

Produced by the gifted South African beat maker Tweezy, the bass-driven song was definitely the summer-themed anthem of 2014. 


DJ Maphorisa – Soweto Baby (feat. Wizkid & Dj Buckz) – Soweto Baby (2015) 

This House-influenced bop is explosive on many levels. Add the masterful performance of Wizkid and his trademark energy which permeates the record and you get a classic. DJ Buckz infuses enough local grit to maximize the song’s crossover hit potential. 


Runtown – The Banger (feat. Uhuru) (2014) 

In the festive period of 2014, as a follow up to his warm Highlife hit “Baby Answer”, Runtown took a very unexpected turn for his next single. 

“The Banger” features South African House titan Uhuru, who sprinkles chants all over the records; alongside Runtown’s prophetic lyrics, a hit was born. Expectedly. 

Years later, on another song featuring another South African A – lister, Runtown would reference the famous refrain of this track – “time no dey!” 


Emmy Gee – Rands and Nairas [Remix] (feat. Ice Prince, Cassper Nyovest, Phyno, ANATII,Dj Dimplez,Ab Crazy) (2014) 

South African-based Nigerian artiste drew on his hybrid cultural orientation by representing both South Africa and Nigeria. On his breakout song, he idolizes the money chase, reiterating the point on its infectious hook. 

For a remix, he features some of the most exciting artistes on both sides, in the process creating the biggest song of his career, and one of the greatest Hip-Hop posse cuts to come out of the continent in recent times. 


Nasty C & Runtown – Said (2007)

Effected by a Coke Studio Sessions,  Runtown and the wonder kid from Durban have proven to have attained an admirable synergy. 

“Said” is a semi-braggadocio (mostly from Nasty) track which hints at the change in fortunes for both artistes. 


Proverb – Promode (feat. Modenine) (2010)

 

Veteran emcees Proverb and Modenine, are considered as something of an elder in the Hip-Hop scenes of their respective countries. For many, the duo are the greatest in their parts of the world due to their longevity, skill and influence. 

In 2010, Proverb acknowledged greatness by featuring Modenine on a track called ‘ProMode’ off his album Write of Passage. 

Much words needn’t be said about this seismic event, as both rappers delivered verses that no doubt, left the air of something special in the studio on its day of record. 

Since then, there has been talk of a collaborative album between the duo. However, no further information has been shared on the project, one were it to happen, would no doubt become a classic.