On the Rise features 99Phaces, Winny, Simi Laidi, Koo Kusi & more

We pride ourselves on having the best ears on the continent. With our “On The Rise” program we highlight artists that are on their way to the top. We’ve expanded this program into a quarterly one including a playlist featuring new artists who are just getting started on their musical journey but you should absolutely pay attention to.

Listen to the playlist below and discover more about the artists we’re betting on:


99 Phaces

99 PHACES is a creative collective based in Ghana with disciplines in music artistry and production, digital and fine arts, and fashion. Current members include CozyPols, Anabel Rose, Freddie Gambini, Juggernaut, Moffy, Mēl, VYNYL Sky, Tikki Waja, KiKi Celine, Insvne Auggie, Vidé, and Maya Masashi.

The collective was formed in 2022 after a number of sessions. The bond they nurtured led to them also creating an inclusive and supportive community; a movement to drive change.

99 PHACES focuses on bringing back the heart and drive of achieving goals together and making music defined by the culture and soul of Motherland and her people with a next-generation focus. The goal of the community is to inspire other creatives to network, share resources and move as one to reach their goals and dreams. Recording sessions in 2022 culminated in their very first project “SO WE MADE A TAPE”(SWMAT).

SWMAT has been met with critical acclaim with audiences eagerly waiting for what they have up next.
Listen to BROTHERMAN featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.



Rapper and songwriter Kofi Kusi is a Texas-based Ghanaian artist who heavily relies on story-telling to discuss subjects of psychological and socio-cultural relevance. In his attempt to bring his seemingly diverse backgrounds as a rapper, pharmacist, neuroscience researcher, and photographer to a point of confluence, Kookusi is using his art as a mouthpiece for mental health. His music has been described by many as a cinematic expression of vulnerability, and truth to a very relatable extent. Blending his “Africanness” with his genre, Kookusi’s music fuses African instruments with classical hip-hop beats, and he puns between the languages English, and Twi.

On his debut EP, 5foot3, a phrase that has since then come to represent imperfection, he dissects social issues of long-standing debate: inferiority complex, narcissism, nomophobia, stereotypes, the pursuit of dreams, hypocrisy, and faith. It was widely compared to Ko-Jo Cue’s For My Brothers album and sparked a lot of social discourses geared towards introspection and change. Kookusi has since then been likened to @Pure Akan, Okyeame Kwame, Joyner Lucas, J. Cole, Chance the Rapper, and D Smoke. After winning Ghanaian rapper M.anifest’s “Clean and pure challenge”, and performing at the Manifestivities 2022 concert, Kookusi is steadily gaining exposure and is capitalizing on that to release his sophomore EP, “Greetings from Abroad”.

Listen to xxx featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.


Simi Liadi


For Simi Liadi, a lifelong passion for music was the spark that started it all. The Nigerian-American native uses her biggest inspirations, her heritage and the cultural background of her community to communicate her own experiences, perspectives, and emotions through her songs. At the core of Simi Liadi’s music is self-expression, and through this, she constantly immerses listeners in feelings of love, happiness, sadness, and so many more. She finds refuge as an R&B singer, and her artistry extends into the popular West African genres of Afrobeats and Alté.

The Columbia, MD resident has shared the stage with talented acts such as DMV Afrobeats artist and On the Rise alum Mannywellz, and she has performed at several local universities. August 2022 was a month full of milestones for her, as she appeared on YungManny’s OKANLAWON album and “Seasons”, a single with South African artist Prince Kaybee. As a singer/songwriter, Simi Liadi is poised to make a big impact in the music industry with her unique sound and emotional messages.

Listen to Water featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.


Valerie Omari

Valerie Omari is an R&B singer/songwriter, extending musical boundaries. Raised in South Africa and born in DRC, this singer/songwriter is rapidly becoming a loud whisper within the music scene.

Her breakthrough came on the back of her 2018 single, “Just Like the Rain” which made Audiomacks Top trending R&B song, whooping in over 60 000 streams in its first week. She has instantly become known as a name to watch for in Africa’s developing R&B scene. In 2020, Apple Music and OkayAfrica spotlighted her as a new artist to keep tabs on. Fast-forward three years, and while her profile has not risen meteorically, the growth in her artistry and her standing has been steady and sustained. Valerie’s artistry and art in her lyricism is only echoed immensely by her riveting vocals, making her truly an artist to fall in love with. 

Listen to Never Know featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.

The C!rcle 

If you’re looking for a  rap collective that brings a whole new meaning to friends without borders, The C!rcle is the one for you. Made of four Sudanese rappers who live scattered around the world, The C!rcle is as genre-less as they are borderless. Nadine El Roubi, G-Salih, Proof, Keyz and Eaz Da Bully live in New York, Virginia , United Kingdom (Oxford, Birmingham) and Sudan and create some of the most riveting music we have ever had the privilege of enjoying. On ‘How Stupid is This?’ they blend indie-rap and R&B  in a heartbreak song that will have you reminsicing and bopping at the same time.

Listen to How Stupid is this? featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.


Winny is a multi-genre artist hailing from Benue State, Nigeria. The talented Idoma singer’s sound embodies a stunning blend of Reggae, R&B/Soul and Afro music, coupled with her unique vocal texture and delivery that gives the impressive young artist a distinct edge to her music. Winny seeks to communicate love, compassion, self-awareness and belonging in her music and songwriting and draws influences from artists like Chronixx, Wizkid, Chris Brown and Kranium. In April 2023, her 7-track self-titled debut EP – was released and claimed Number 1 on the Apple Music R&B/Soul Chart in Nigeria. With her music career just starting, it is obvious Winny’s superpower is to envelop listeners in warm sonic hugs her music creates. Her music and art will continue to remain a medium to communicate her feelings as one of the most exciting and talented new global artists to watch who is ready to shatter all barriers to make it to the top.

Listen to Don’t Leave featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.



BiQo (born Stephen Sackitey Biko Okletey) is an afro soul artist from Accra, Ghana. His love for music began at a tender age and his passion saw him representing Ghana in Nigeria at the MTN Project Fame West Africa music competition in 2015.
BiQo has performed at the famous Montreux Jazz Club in Switzerland. His affiliation with SuperJazzClub combined with his guitar skills and exceptionally unique baritone makes him an artist who’s sound is a standout, and we are excited to see his fanbase grow.

Listen to Pretty Skin featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.



Nigerian-born Qing Madi is inadvertently breaking ground as an up next artist for Nigeria.  Blending her Kendrick Lamar-inspired lyrical arrangement with the effortless flow of afrobeats to create a scintillating r&b and Afropop blend is rising up to be her marker. Releasing Why after the highly popular See Finish is only proof of the dawn of Qing Madi’s reign.

Listen to Why featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.


SOLU is an AFRO-FUSION collective based in  Atlanta, Georgia with roots in Africa. Coined out of the words SOL means SUN and U standing for Universe the members of SOLU showcase their eclectic, non-confined, genre-fluid music, or as they like to call it, “Controlled Chaos”.

Made of Zel X, Nana Dinero, Klue, Valoe, RichZay and music producer F0reign 4JF, SOLU draws inspiration from a myriad of musicians including but not limited to PartyNextDoor, Ofori Amponsah, KanyeWest, Fela Kuti, Kojo Antwi, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and Obrafuor.

Listen to Sama Riddim featured on our On the Rise playlist this quarter.


Enjoy the On the Rise playlist on Spotify: