Tems & ‘Essence’ Top First-Ever Afrobeats Year-End Rankings: The Year in Charts

Tems tops the first-ever year-end Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs Artists ranking, representing the best-performing acts on the genre’s song charts for 2022. The singer-songwriter’s victory parade extends to the year’s Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs recap, where she shares top honors with Wizkid for “Essence” and claims three more songs in the year-end top 10.

The Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs chart launched for the chart dated April 2, 2022, and ranks the 50 most popular Afrobeats songs in the U.S., ranked by a weighted formula incorporating official streams on both subscription and ad-supported tiers of leading audio and video music services, plus download sales from top music retailers, as compiled by Luminate.

Explore All of Billboard’s 2022 Year-End Charts

Behind Tems, Burna Boy finishes second on the year-end artist recap, spurred by 27 charting songs during the chart year, the most of any act. Among the haul is the genre giant’s “Last Last,” which became his first No. 1 on the U.S. Afrobeats chart in July. The song’s appeal, though, crossed barriers: It also topped the U.S.-based Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and was likely familiar to listeners thanks to its sample of “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” a 2001 hit for Toni Braxton. “Last,” meanwhile, is far from that on the year-end songs recap, where it places at No. 5.

Rounding out the top five artists, CKay comes in third, with Wizkid next in line and Asake taking fifth place.

Billboard’s year-end music recaps represent aggregated metrics for each artist, title, label and music contributor on the weekly charts dated Nov. 20, 2021 through Nov. 12, 2022. The rankings for Luminate-based recaps reflect equivalent album units, airplay, sales or streaming during the weeks that the titles appeared on a respective chart during the tracking year. Any activity registered before or after a title’s chart run isn’t considered in these rankings. That methodology details, and the November-November time period, account for some of the difference between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Luminate.

Crossover Hits Capture Songs Crown: As mentioned, Wizkid’s “Essence,” featuring Tems, is the first year-end Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs champ. In a testament to its endurance, the smash ruled for two weeks in July this year, despite a 2021 release and peak on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in October 2021. The global hit bowed at No. 3 on the first edition of the U.S. Afrobeats Songs chart and spent its first 34 weeks inside the top five.

Fireboy DML and Ed Sheeran’s “Peru” ranks second on the year-end songs recap. Like “Essence,” the popular remix too became a crossover smash stateside, with a No. 7 peak on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and No. 53 high on the Hot 100.

Crossover hits fill out the remaining top spots on the inaugural songs recap, with CKay’s “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)” – the first No. 1 hit on the weekly chart upon its April launch – at No. 3. The tune rolled to a No. 26 best on the Hot 100 and captured the No. 1 perch on both the weekly Rhythmic Airplay and Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay lists in the year.

Tems’ “Free Mind” wraps 2022 in fourth place on year-end U.S. Afrobeats Songs. The track, which originally appeared on the singer’s For Broken Ears EP in 2020, found a renewed audience and buzz in 2022 in the wake of “Essence” and she and Drake’s featured spot on Future’s “Wait for U,” a No. 1 Hot 100 hit this year. Thanks to that revival, “Mind” climbed to No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart this year and No. 46 on the Hot 100.

In addition to “Essence” and “Free Mind,” Tems lands two more tracks in the year-end top 10: “Higher” at No. 7 and “Found,” featuring Brent Faiyaz, at No. 10. She, Burna Boy and Ed Sheeran are the only acts with multiple entries in the top tier. In addition to his “Last Last” smash, Burna Boy closes at No. 10 with “For My Hand,” featuring Ed Sheeran.

Keith Caulfield