The Top 10 Music Videos of 2012

2012 is rapidly coming to a close, which means it’s time to assemble some of our favorite music videos from the past year. Indeed it’s no easy task to construct a video in which the moving picture finds a harmonious companion in the sonic beat. Just as daunting can be choosing, among the hundreds of videos we’ve been featuring over the past year in our weekly Music Break series, which ones succeeded most in carrying a spark of innovation, capturing the essence of a musical scene and astonishing us with visual splendor. However, we’re pleased with our final selections. So without any further delay, and in no particular order, here are 10 of our favorites:

If there was one video everyone seemed to approve of including on this list, it was the one above for Vetkuk vs Mahoota’s “iStokvela.” In the video, this expertly mixed South African kwaito track with a tinge of gospel transforms the streets into a dance floor showcase. Amidst the desaturated colors we encounter some sharp-sharp slow-motion mapantsula dancing (and a cameo from veteran kwaito producer Oskido).

Next up are the ‘Afro-punk collective’ Jagwa Music of Dar-es-Salaam. Here, they are performing the song “Heshima,” off their debut album Bongo Hotheads. These guys certainly know how to bring the party, we only wish we had been there to get down with them.

LV and Okmalumkoolkat (of the group Dirty Paraffin) came up with this video for their song “Sebenza” (meaning ‘work,’ in Zulu). We love the attention drifting subculture — which is huge in South Africa — gets here. The video was directed by photographer Chris Saunders, whose portfolio includes quality images of Johannesburg’s street style culture.

2012 was the year the Ghanaian Azonto conquered dance floors across the continent. It would be unthinkable if we didn’t include at least one Azonto video. In this case we chose a submission for a competition to select the best fan-produced video for Fuse ODG’s single “Antenna.” It features two dapper young men busting out their best Azonto moves in various locations around London.

2012 was also the year of “Gangnam Style.” Even though I’m sure we’re all a bit fatigued by PSY at this point and the song, we thought this Ivorian dance troupe’s version of the dance was at least moderately entertaining — their moves are certainly better than PSY’s:

Mozambican Dama Do Bling’s video for the song “Champion” is quirky and strangely captivating. There’s just something about watching friends competitively race tires in a pastel world while Dama Do Bling dances and bangs on barrels with her trademark sartorial panache.

Afrikaans rapper Jack Parow is a polarizing figure (though not quite as polarizing as the more well-known rap-rave group Die Antwoord). Personally, I find him to be pretty entertaining and his single “Afrikaans is Dood” (Afrikaans is Dead), was super catchy. Lucky for us, the video for the song is also a riot, with Mr. Parow fighting off a number tacky, sweatsuit-wearing thugs who are trying to steal his book of rhymes. The video was directed by Ari Kruger, who also came up with a great video for Driemanskap’s “Izulu Lelam” earlier this year.

Nigerian rapper D.i.s. Guise has blown up in recent months with his alluringly cosmic beats and solid rhymes. His videos are lo-fi done right and “Mr. Bambe” is no exception. Watch him get lyrical about all things Bambe in capriciously shifting disguise. (And don’t miss out on his free mixtape.)

London-based The Busy Twist’s “Friday Night” will have you dancing in your seat and the video, which was filmed in Ghana, provides you with a healthy reminder of the sheer pleasure derived from ordinary dance.

And lastly this video from the Nigerian-born, French singer Asa (who has a habit of putting out high quality videos — remember her “Be My Man”, or more recently, “Ba Mi Dele”). The haunting video for her song “The Way I Feel” gives Asa a platform to lay her jazzy vocals over immaculately constructed scenes reminiscent of melancholic documentary photographs in times of war.

8 thoughts on “The Top 10 Music Videos of 2012

  1. This is a blank and total mis-representation of African Facts. African music is not this horrible. Your list is a list of yet to be decolonised, misguided and uneducated youths who think copying the music of another country like America and China is the gateway to success. If you go to these countries you will find out that these people listed here are not known at all. Check good African videos from:
    1. Werrason Ngiyama Makanda (DRC)
    2. Fally Ipupa DRC
    3. Lira ( South Africa)
    4. Rose Muhando (Tanzania)
    5. Meyway ( Ivory Coast)
    6. Sulumani Chumbetu ( Zimbabwe)
    7. Timothy Myeni (Swaziland)
    8. Mosotho Chakela ( Lesotho)
    9. Osesuoa ( Namibia)
    10. Salif Keita ( Mali)
    11. Ishmael Lo ( Senegal)
    12. Ben Githae (Kenya)
    13. Sonia (Burkina Faso)
    14. Amayenge (Zambia)
    15. Dikakapa (Botswana)
    Don’t make people big before they have travelled even a metre in music. In Africa these people you listed a not known or maybe you do not know African music

  2. Really? Are you for real? This list is totally whack….with the exception of Asa.
    And then to add insult to injury…PSY Gangnam Style??? Who in the world put this list together?? That person needs a serious re-connection with the African Music industry!

  3. you guys above me ^ Jason and Dan not everything on the internet is meant as a personal insult. I know the South African and the Tanzanian artists on this list and as a South African the two artists featured are producing a reality of South Africa that is very rarely seen albeit both are exaggerated pictures and Jack Parow is especially comical but this is music from my country that is worth looking into not Lira who makes bland radio friendly lounge music. And anyway mass appeal is never a good indicator of quality.

    • @Siya—-Helabo ntate ngoaneso. U bua ka lipina tsa Africa Boroa efeng? When we talk of the music of a country, we talk in relation to people who are known and liked by people across the cultural, racial and tribal divide. True and patriotic South Africans would tell you about the following names as the masters of music in their country: DJ Tira, Freshly Grounds, Lira, DJ Cleo, DJ Fresh, Liquideep, Oscido, Malaika, Bujo Mujo, Winnie Mashaba, DJ Fresh, Shwi, Izingane Zoma, Lady Smith and Black Mambazo, Soweto Gospel Choir, Rinco Madlingozi, Vusi Mahlasela, Hugh Masikela, Thandiwe Mazwai, DJ Call Me, Penny Penny, Ntombi Marhumbini and Theo Of Malaika fame. Let’s not smuggle names and videos of upcoming artists into the list of stars. The list about is made up of people stars who always make legitimate international tours and who have flown the South African flag all- over the world. This Jack Purow is a nonentity bro Siya

      • ummm dude this is a list of the best music videos according to the africasacountry team. Those artists you list are big in a South African sense but half of them released no music videos this year…this is a music video list, Jack Parow and Okmalumkoolkat made two good music videos I prefer Okmalumkoolkat’s but anyway point is this is a music video list, not a list of the most radio friendly music in South Africa.

  4. I don’t even know why people are arguing, African Music trend as of now, is Nigerian, Zambian, South African, n Somehow Ghana… This list is YES rather stranger but hey, maybe it’s just a promotion site for those not known yet… Honest truth, it made me laugh n know 1 o4 2 videos that I feel should have gone viral,..

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