Afrobeats, a Nigerian music genre, is causing a stir in the global music industry. The genre has been growing since the early 1990s. However, there were speculations that Drake’s 2016 hit “One Dance,” featuring Nigerian artist Wizkid, catapulted it into the international spotlight. Other foreign artists, such as Ciara and Major Lazer, have used Afrobeats sounds and included African musicians in their songs.
Afrobeats’ popularity continues to rise, and it appears that the genre is here to stay. Afrobeats is not to be confused with Afrobeat, the Fela Kuti-created genre. Afrobeat is a non-commercial, highly political music style, which distinguishes it from Afrobeats. However, it was largely believed that Nigerian Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido popularized the Afrobeats genre, which was pioneered by Fela.
Afrobeats have a distinct sound that is influenced by a variety of sources. The style is influenced by West African music, especially highlife. American jazz and funk are also thrown into the mix, resulting in a cross-continental feel.
Complex rhythms, heavy drums, repeating vocals, and Pidgin English are all present in Afrobeats. It’s no surprise that this music is gaining popularity around the world; the cheerful, fun, and energetic melodies have people dancing in clubs all over the world.
Journey to fame
There are a lot of artists out there who are making hip-hop hits. As a result, listing every single artist would be difficult. There are a few well-known Afrobeats artists to start with, and then there are plenty more to discover.
For example, Wizkid is best known for the song “One Dance,” but his popularity as an artist extends well beyond that. His debut album Superstar, released in 2011, received immediate acclaim, with several singles from the album. His popularity skyrocketed in 2014 when he became the first Nigerian artist to cross a million Twitter followers. He is one of the most well-known Afrobeats artists today. The song “Brown Skin Child,” in which Beyonce and Wizkid collaborated, recently received the Grammy Award for Best Music Video at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. Also, Nigerian Burna Boy won Best Global Music Album for his “Twice As Tall”.
Burna Boy was confirmed to have debuted in 2013 with the release of his first album, ‘LIFE,’ followed by ‘Redemption’ in 2015, ‘Outside’ in 2018, and ‘African Giant’ in 2019. His song ‘Anybody,’ from his album ‘African Giant,’ was named one of former US President Barack Obama’s favorite songs of 2019, and he won the BET Award for Best International Act in 2020.
Also, Tiwa Savage is a leading female Afrobeats singer in Nigeria. She struggled to gain success as a female singer in the male-dominated music industry. Despite the difficulties she faces, she has emerged as one of today’s most influential Afrobeats artists. At the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, she was named Best African Act.
Davido shot to fame in 2011 with his debut album “Omo Baba Owolo“, and his second album, The Baddest, only added to his success. He was the first African artist to receive his award on the BET stage, and he won Best International Act at the BET Awards in both 2018 and 2014. Recently, Enisa Nikaj, a US pop singer, has released a remix for her collaboration with Davido, “Love Cycle.” The ‘Love Cycle’ remix comes ahead of Davido’s EP with Chris Brown, an R&B artist, as well as other projects.
Other African famous artists to keep an eye on include Nigerian Omah Lay, South African Elaine, Ghanaian KiDi, Ugandan Fik Fameica, Nigerian Tems, DR Congo’s Gaz Mawete, Zimbabwe’s Sha Sha, and a slew of other up-and-coming musicians who use music as an instrument.
Afrobeats artists have already made their mark on the world stage. The Grammy Awards victories of Wizkid and Burna Boy reveal a lot about African talent. This is yet a hint that Afrobeats is here to stay. Their Grammy win is a huge success for Africa.
The Grammys is the most prestigious award in the world, and most artists look up to it. Afrobeats has struck a chord with young people all over the world. Nigerian D’Banj’s hit “Oliver Twist,” which reached number nine in the UK charts in 2012, was one of the first to breakthrough.
The victories of Wizkid and Burna Boy would pave the way for a new wave of African musicians to produce their distinct music.
Following their wins, the Nigerian government congratulated them, revealing that the awards “represented a global endorsement for the Afrobeat genre of music that has propelled Nigeria’s increasing dominance of the music world,” according to a statement on Twitter from the country’s Ministry of Information and Culture.