The Origin and the Rise of Afrobeats, Globally


The sound of “Afrobeat”  originated from a combination of elements of West African style of music of chanting, vocals and the fusion of rhythms and complicity of grooving percussion  such as fuji music and highlife with funk and jazz influences, Afrobeat began in Ghana in the early 1920s. At the time, Ghanaian musicians fused other foreign influences like the foxtrot and calypso with Ghanaian rhythms like osibisaba . However, the word “Afrobeat” was coined by Fela Kuti  in the 1960s. Fela Kuti, known as one of the most influential musicians and political activist of all time, was responsible for pioneering and popularizing the term and the style of the music.

Today, the word Afrobeats (plural) is far something different, but yet with relevance to its singular origin. Afrobeats as referred by the westerners, is generally a blanket of modern sounds of popular music from African music, a combination of pop music, funk, house, western rap influences, and dance hall tunes.  It is important to note that the modern sounds of the “Afrobeats” music was first called Hiplife in Ghana, as a new music movement for the new generation.

“I tell you what, this is basically white people calling any music we make from Africa  “black” or “Negro” or  the word “Afrobeats” instead of pop music or fitting it into the general genres of music. I don’t think black people  call their things black, they are things, music is music. While I am not offended by it either way, we live in a world of labels.  I see this as just another label or putting things ‘in a box’ by the people who don’t  understand it.” Africans or African music cannot be labeled  or can it fit in one big box. Said Resk ‘Que, producer of Hiplife Festival, a platform promoting the new movement and  culture /music in New York.

Nonetheless, the western narrative relates Afrobeats to pop music resulting from major African music regions like Nigeria, Ghana Congo South Africa. It’s also a name given to the modern sound of African pop music which consists of modern upbeat from young African minds. Afrobeats is the newest wave in African music, drawing the attention of international audiences. This music has western African beats that bring the West Africans back home by reminding them of their culture. It’s amazing how Afrobeats musicians are making big hits in international shows like never before.

Here are some of the Afrobeats Artists

The emergence of Afrobeats has seen artists like Davido, Tiwa Savage and Wizkid rise up the music ladder. This genre has gained popularity far and wide. International stars are love this modern sound with a good example of the release of a collabo called One Dance featuring Drake and Nigerian pop star Wizkid. This hit topped Billboard’s Hot 100 for 10 weeks. Afrobeats has brought new energy in the music scenes where youngsters flock the entertainment joints and clubs. It’s evident in places like the UK that these tunes have received love even from the teens who keep the playlists on all the time. The artists falling in this category are the ones that produce hip-shaking hits. Here are the top-most artists whose music has Afrobeats taste.

Wizkid: This pop star from Nigeria received global recognition after his 2011 debut album Superstar, which has several single hits. In 2014 Wizkid also gained popularity when he hit a million followers on Twitter just so you know how well his hits are loved. The world recognizes this Afrobeats acclaimed artist as Star Boy.

Tiwa Savage: She rose through the challenging male-dominated music career to become a renowned Afrobeats star. Her popularity became clear when she won Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Davido: He’s a great Afrobeats artist, particularly after 2011 when he released his debut album Omo Baba Owolo and The Baddest. He was the first African to win the Best International Act at BET awards in 2018 and 2014.

D’banj: D’banj’s hits Oliver Twist, 2face Idibia, and African Queen fall in international charts of Afrobeats. Other Afrobeats acclaimed artists include Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, Tekno and 2baba.

Why call our music Afrobeats?

Top African artists have to synthesize their music from the influences of their home country. Therefore, these Africans have the opportunity to grow even more than their counterparts the pop stars. Afrobeats is indeed a voice of the Africans to the world where you express the culture, art, and lifestyle for purposes of unity and strength of our community. Afrobeats is popularly called a hybrid sound because it is a blend of West Africa high-life music, American jazz, and funk. It’s characterized by complex rhythms, repetition of vocals and Pidgin English. The energetic vocals, upbeat and the fun in this music are what get people into dancing all over the world.

The spread of Afrobeats

The rise of Afrobeats has been facilitated by the quick internet, easier access to social media platforms and music streaming websites like Spotify. As a result, music is shared across platforms in no time. Nigeria’s population in diaspora around the world has been a major contributor to the spread of Afrobeats. With the inception of offices in Lagos for both Sony Music and Universal Music Group, Afrobeats is deemed to rise even higher. Here, African artists can tackle piracy issues, ensuring legal ownership and rights to their songs. These music shops will also help with distribution and publishing the work of African music. This will see the Afobeats grow even more because it’s spreading like bush fire. It’s sad how this fascinating cultural trend does not give the artists as many returns. The global problem piracy has seen many artists give up on this career since they only get revenues from endorsements and live performances but not the sale of their music as you would expect.


Related Posts