5 Popular American Artistes You Never Knew Are Of African Descent; Check Out Their Native Countries

BY Edwin Lamptey October 17, 2023 12:08 PM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@chamillionaire, @jidenna

The pop culture in the United States has seen powerful entertainers leaving a lasting impression on their following. Many people who have taken it upon themselves to be a source of joy, hope, courage, strength, and ‘enlightenment’, have surprisingly come from entertainment circles and specifically, the music industry.

Popular culture, as we know it, has been influenced by the likes of rappers of old including the legendary Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and a list of hardcore musicians who started the ‘game’.

Over the years, many American acts have popped up and graced the music scene with their talent and gifts. Despite the fact that they are known to be Americans, some of these top musicians are descendants from other continents.

Today, we take a look at some popular American musicians who have African ancestry and by extension, are more African than American.


Jidenna Theodore Mobisson (born on May 4, 1985) popularly known as Jidenna, is an American rapper and singer who is of Nigerian descent.

Jidenna is signed to Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Records label. The Bambi hitmaker grew in popularity with his 2015 single, Classic Man. The song went throughout the United States and debuted at No. 49 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. The now 38-year-old went on to release his debut album, Chief in 2017.


American singer Olurotimi Akinosho known by the stage name, Rotimi, is also a descendant of Africa, specifically, Nigeria. Born on November 30, 1988, to Nigerian parents, Rotimi is best known for his role as Andre Coleman on Power TV series. He also played a role in the Boss TV series. Rotimi was born in Maplewood, New Jersey.


Popular American rapper, and songwriter Jane Chika Oranika, widely known as Chika ( March 9, 1997) is also on this list. The entertainer noted for her freestyles is of Nigerian descent. She went viral in 2018 after dropping a “letter” criticizing American superstar, Kanye West.

Her matchless talent saw her inking a recording deal with Warner Records in 2019 and went on to release her debut single No Squares that same year. The 26-year-old Montgomery-born star was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2021.


Popular musician Olubowale Akintimehin, famed as Wale, was born on September 21, 1984, in Washington, D.C. He has gladly flaunted his ancestry and claimed on several platforms that he is a full Nigerian.

Wale first gained recognition over a decade ago, with his song Dig Dug (Shake It). Owing to his proud ancestry, the 39-year-old rapper has experimented has collaborated with several Nigerian artistes including trending Afrobeats/Afrofusion stars, Wizkid, Davido, and Olamide.


Chamillionaire (born November 28, 1979) known in real life as Hakeem Temidayo Seriki was also born in Washington D.C. He is of African descent and is directly known to be of Nigerian roots.

He began his career with local releases as far back as 2002. He signed to Universal Records in 2005 releasing The Sound of Revenge album as a result. Some of his songs include the Grammy-winning hit Ridin, and Turn It Up.