The Role of African DJs in the Rise of African Music: Spinning African Music to the Top

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African DJs are taking African music global. Whether it’s at a birthday party, wedding ceremony, the night club, a local bar or on the radio station, you know one man you can’t do without. The one man spinning the wheels and driving your moods to the desired destination. They call him the DJ, which is in fact the acronym for Disc Jockey.

In today’s music, the DJ has become a personal friend to music lovers. He’s the one who can make you kick back and soften those rough edges, remnant of a hard day’s work. Or make you decide that even though that body is tired, you just must shake your booty to an irresistible mix of music. He’s like a barman with your drinks; a mixologist of melodies. Intoxicating you with good music. Because of this simple touch of a good DJ on a person, he can touch many lives by influencing people’s taste of music. Artists know that without this man, it would be much harder to spread their flows about.

Today, we Africans have more reasons to be proud of our music. Especially, the Naija’s Afro beats. We know that the new sounds cooked up by musicians in Europe and the US is influenced by no other but our sweet African vibes. Big names like Drake featuring “our” Wizkid in his hit, One Dance, which has topped the charts and is still driving people crazy. Justin Bieber, whose songs, “What do you mean?” and “Sorry” give the palpable taste of the African influence.


But who is responsible for the shift in the demand for a particular genre of music from the local stage to the world stage? While musicians and other entertainment bodies play their parts, I will give my laurel of recognition to the heroes of the night clubs: the ones who give out the music contracts. The master-minds behind the wheels. They, the ones that can move thousands in a matter of nano-seconds. They’re the ones who can play a song to the top of the charts or relinquish it with one scratch… The DJs are taking African music to the next level and are bringing recognition home from foreign lands, exposing our peculiar beats and methods of elevating the soul and vibrating the body, giving release from everyday troubles.

How do they do it? You know good music is a kind of good disease that takes over the mind… You know the reason why you tune to a certain radio station or regularly visit a certain night club. You know how you first became acquainted to the latest club banger… And you know how you spread the disease wherever you go, asking Uche and Deborah if they’ve heard your latest addiction. And it spreads across the borders and spills into other dimensions. You know the person you can hold responsible for giving you that dose, so that it sticks in your mind and becomes part of your lifestyle.

These DJs are beginning to have their rights of fame and recognition on a world scale because of their dedication to spread good music. There are some names that come to mind of the African DJs contributing to the rise of African music, DJ Xclusive of Nigeria, DJ Fresh of South Africa, DJ Aly and Fila of Egypt, DJ Dee Money, DJ Spinall, DJ Neptune, DJ Humility, DJ Cuppy all from Nigeria. DJ Black Coffee, DJ Maphorisa and DJ Oskido of South Africa… only to give a few names. They carry on the pride of Africa into their profession, lighting up other worlds with our spark of style and spreading the African influence wherever they go.

Their influence will never die because the whole entertainment system (concerning music) is dependent on them. Or why else would you trust the club, or a radio station to give a boost to your moods? Why else would it be a sure bet that a party with a good DJ would be the most exhilarating experience ever? And today, if African music wouldn’t do the magic, nothing else would… And so these guys will remain, spinning their magic of mixes into our minds… that we’ll never forget that African music is the sound of hope and joy that helps us live life by the moment.


Written by April Wani.


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