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Afrobeats: The King of Genres

February 19, 2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
Written by Koboju Etariemi

The rise and popularity garnered by Afrobeats is one worthy of commendation. The West African genre has been a huge success in recent years, thanks to the influences of Davido, Wizkid, Burna Boy and the fierce competition that drives and edges them on.

To say that Afrobeats is a sound is an understatement. The influence of Afrobeats cannot be overly stated especially in this age and time. Artistes around the globe are sampling the Afrobeats sound, creating and fine-tuning it to be better. A recent example is the 2019 Lion King: A Gift album by Beyonce. The album had quite a depth of the Afrobeats sound. Afrobeats is the in-thing.

Did you know?

The term “Afrobeats” was coined by the legendary Fela Kuti. Afrobeats is a combination of different types of West African sounds, mainly Ghanaian and Nigerian sounds such as highlife, Juju and Fuji music. And in the ’90s, the influence of American styles such as Jazz and Funk we’re also incorporated into the sound. It’s diversity and ability to adapt is what makes the Afrobeats style a unique one. Its versatility to blend.

The 2010s’ also saw the infusion of hip-hop to the genre that’s Afrobeats. In the UK for instance, a subgenre known as Afro-Trap has emerged. In other words, we cannot downplay the importance of Afrobeats in music today. Afrobeats is a broad term that houses many other genres of music.

The recent rise and success of African artistes under this genre has been a thing of joy and pride for the continent. The likes of Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa, Burna from Nigeria, Shatta Wale from Ghana and many more are sources of joy and pride to the genre and the continent at large. Nigeria leads at the forefront.

Recent Successes

In 2019, eight Africans were featured on Beyonce’s “Lion King: A gift album”, five out of those eight were Nigerians. While the genre can be said to be that of the continent at large, the influence of Nigeria is widely seen. When the term “Afro beats” comes up, the first country that comes to mind is Nigeria.

Self-proclaimed African Giant, Burna Boy is quite the sensation. One of the leading and most vocal voices of the genre. The rise and success of Burna Boy in recent times has been off the charts. In two years, Burna Boy has been nominated back-to-back at the Grammys Award, the first Nigerian to achieve such a feat. Wizkid is the most awarded African artiste at the BET awards and the most certified African artiste in the world.

The most recent achievement is that of David Adedeji Adeleke, popularly known as Davido. In 2019, Davido became the second solo artiste to sell out the O2Arena after Wizkid in 2018. The competition between both artistes is fierce. Davido broke into the music scene in 2011 with his hit single, Dami Duro. He has gone on to become a leading voice and one of the most influential icons of the Afrobeats genre.

On February 12, 2021, Davido became the first and only artiste to have two of his hit singles certified Gold in the United States. His song, “If” becomes the second Afrobeats solo single to achieve that feat. The music genius on February 17 was also be named one of the next 100 most influential people in the world by the Time Magazine.

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