Johannesburg, Friday, 21 May 2021 Fans of music and artists from the 80s, 90s and 00s will now have a dedicated destination to head to with the launch of Certified Africa on Apple Music.

The African-rooted, globally connected curator playlist series makes its debut this May in honour of Africa month which celebrates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on May 25th 1963 through highlighting the achievements of Africa’s people – including its creative community.

Certified Africa is the custodian dedicated to celebrating music that shaped a culture over 30 years – three decades that were marked by momentous change and musical innovation through the creation of genres that expressed the hopes, dreams, struggles and desires of communities in Africa and globally, and that are now music mainstays.

Through 10 dynamic playlists, Certified Africa will reignite and celebrate the stories and moments that defined us. The undisputed classics of Hip Hop, R&B/Soul and Kwaito – as well as hidden Pan-African treasures, rare releases and plenty more – will once again be in the spotlight on African Fire, Certified Activist, Certified Soul Classics, Kwaito Forever, ‘90s Rap/Hip Hop, Certified Women of R&B, 2000s R&B, Sensualist, Fight Club and My Mzansi Wedding.

A great place to start in Africa Month is African Fire, a playlist featuring songs and artists that defined an era – and which continue to keep the spirit of Africa ablaze long after they topped the charts. With smouldering classics drawn from the heart of the 2000s. African Fire traverses Hip Hop, Kwaito, Afrobeats and Dance and includes tracks from game-changers who shaped popular culture, among them Black Motion, Zakwe, Arthur, AKA, Kwesta, TKZee and Davido.

Also great to explore in the historically significant Africa Month is Certified Activist featuring Hip Hop and R&B/Soul across the 80s, 90s and 00s that served as a catalyst for social change globally. Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, J.Cole, Solange, Nas, Lauryn Hill, Fugees, Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, Mos Def, Travis Scott, Childish Gambino and DJ Khaled are among the artists featured on this playlist, curated to keep inspiring and soundtracking change-makers everywhere.

Those looking for a reminder of the sound of the post-apartheid generation should head for Kwaito Forever. The playlist is curated through classic 90s songs that altered the course of South African music forever – and that represents the foundation of a genre that continues to be imprinted in sounds (like amapiano) currently making an impact domestically and internationally. Music lovers can find the likes of genre innovators TKZee and era-defining hits from the 999 Music catalogue on this unmissable playlist.

The 80s, 90s and 00s were marked by an explosion of incredible music from women artists and Certified Women of R&B is a powerful reminder of this, featuring music from Zonke, Whitney Houston, Sade, Alicia Keys, Lira, Zamajobe and many other gifted artists.

There was no shortage of sublime Soul over the 80s, 90s and 00s and Certified Soul Classics will deliver the sounds of Teddy Pendergrass, Aretha Franklin, The Isley Brothers, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Patti LaBelle, Al Green, Gladys Night & The Pips, The O’Jays, Bill Withers, Sly & The Family Stone, MFSB, Michael Jackson and Lou Rawls. Fight Club is another essential playlist, providing a soundtrack to facing and pushing boundaries – whether physical or personal. This Hip Hop centred playlist will feature Kwesta, K.O., AKA, J Cole, Mobb Deep, Nas, and Wu-Tang Clan, among plenty of other powerful artists from the genre.

Hip Hop also takes centre stage on ‘90s Hip Hop which features undisputed classics from Mobb Deep, Raekwon, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Ghostface Killah, RZA, among others, while classic R&B from Bryson Tiller SZA, John Legend, Solange, and H.E.R help anchor the 2000s R&B playlist. Sensualist, meanwhile, draws on artists from across the 80s, 90s and 00s who ensured that music lovers could effortlessly tap into the sensual art of listening through R&B slow jams and new elements of Hip Hop. Music lovers will find evergreen tracks from Usher, Toni Braxton, Chris Brown, Lauryn Hill, Maxwell and Marvin Gaye on this playlist.

The final playlist in the current Certified Africa curator series is My Mzansi Wedding. This joyous, uplifting, romantic and celebratory playlist represents the perfect soundtrack to your Mzansi wedding through the music of Thee Legacy, Mlindo The Vocalist, The Soil, Kwesta, Lira, Black Motion, Manu Worldstar, Malaika, Jonas Gwangwa, Hugh Masekela,  Zonke and so many more exceptional Pan-African artists.

More than simply nostalgia, Certified Africa represents both a re-discovering of great music and a way to find meaning in the present through an emotional reconnection with heritage and an ongoing appreciation for the sounds that continue to shape us.


Listen to playlists by Certified Africa here:

African Fire –

Certified ACTIVIST –

Fight Club –

Hip Hop 411

View all posts