Yemi Alade: The Transition Into Mama Africa

The Nigerian music industry is moving to a direction we never thought would be possible so soon. So many artistes have contributed to the Afrobeats movement. Giving credit to only one or two artistes would not be justice for everybody who has contributed greatky to this movement from the Plantation Boys to modern day music.

The Nigerian music industry has proven to be a space where every talent, with the proper management can thrive. The past two years has seen an influx of new artistes in the industry. The likes of Joenboy, Fireboy, Omah Lay, Rema, Oxlade and other promising young chaps have broken out from under our noses and proven to us that if you just feed people what they want, you will thrive.

Not to mention, the women who have also made the music industry a bigger hit than it was. In the era of social media where everybody can trend and become unpopular within a matter of weeks, Simi, Tiwa Savage, DJ Cuppy, Niniola, Teni and Yemi Alade have been at the top of their game.

Proving that the entertainment industry gives everybody an equal opportunity to shine. However, our main focus in this respect will be our beloved Yemi Alade – not quite popular on twitter, very much loved in reality.

Yemi Alade first broke out in 2013 with her hit single, “Johnny” which has gathered a total of 121M views on Youtube.

Born on March 13th, 1989, Yemi Alade has gone on to become bihggest female musicians in Africa. She first gathered some attention when she won the Peak talent show in 2009. She released her first single, “Johnny” in her professional career in 2013.

After Johnny, Yemi Alade went on to release two other hit singles within the same period and was nominated as YEM awards most promising female in 2013.


yemi alade johnny
Yemi Alade dancing in johnny video.

Johnny was the breakout song that introduced the world to Yemi Alade. However, the song had already been leaked before it was released. The song was taken from her debut album “King of Queens” which then saw the hit song become international in only a mater of weeks.

Johnny became a hit single in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Liberia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, The United Kingdom and others.

Clarence Peters directed the well-choreographed video which saw Alex Ekubo play the role of a man who cheats and lies about hiss relationship with several women. The video showed Yemi Alade energetic side and also portrayed to be one hell of an actress.

With an estimate of 121 million YouTube views as of September 2nd, it is one of the most viewed YouTube videos in Nigeria and the most viewed by any Nigerian female artiste. Since the release of her debut new song Yemi Alade has proven again and again that any woman can achieve everything she wants if she puts in the work.

King of Queens

yei alade king of queens
Yemi Alade “King of Queens” album cover.

King of Queens album was released on October 2nd 2014. the album contains 17 tracks which displayed Yemi Alade’s uniqueness. Embedding her culture into every track, stage performances and photo shoots, it’s safe to say we all saw Yemi Alade slowly transitioning into Mama Africa. Many just didn’t pay attention. 

The album featured some notable celebrities like Bovi, Chidinma, Phyno, DIL, Diamond Platinum, R2bees. Yemi Alade massively promoted the album in several countries including Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya.  In November, another (beta) version of the album was released which contained the French version of her songs.

According to A Nation of Billions, Yemi Alade sold over 100,000 copies of the album.

Mama Africa

Yemi Alade “mama Africa” album cover

Two years after the release of her debut album, Yemi Alade released the album that soon went on to credit her as the Mama Africa. This was a very bold step for a sophomore album and eventually, the album also became a success.

This was the album that cemented Yemi Alade’s transitioning into Mama Africa. GospelOnDeBeatz, Selebobo, Coublon, Philkeys, BeatsByEmzo, Mr Chidoo, Mastercraft and Rotimi Keys all played important roles in making this album suit Yemi Alade’s style.

At this point, Yemi Alade had been identified as one of the biggest African artistes. A deluxe version of Mama Africa was released on April 6, 2016. The album featured hit songs like “Kofi Anan” and “Nagode”.

However, there were many people who criticized Yemi Alade as “lacking lyrical depth and meaningful content”. What most people failed to understand that she had carved a niche and owned that niche.

She went on to touring the world, performing in French, and many other African languages. She was truly adored across Africa. Yemi Alade wasn’t done yet as this was just the beginning of an amazing career she has  ahead.

Black Magic

Black Magic certainly didn’t receive as much credibility as the previous albums, but it was still a hit in other parts of Africa. This album featured some already popular songs like  ‘Knack Am‘, ‘Single and Searching‘ and ‘Heart Rubber‘.

In 2020, Yemi Alade released a song, Shekere featuring one of the most iconic artistes in Africa and Grammy award winner, Angelique Kidjo. Shekere is one of the biggest hit songs of 2020 and the song which finally depicted Yemi Alade as Mama Africa.

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