Afrobeats is gradually taking over the music scene on the global stage. The music has caught the ears of not only those on the continent, but the diaspora as well.
The music genre dates back to the 60’s, but was made hugely popular by music Icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
The name was partially borne out of an attempt to distinguish Fela Kuti’s music from the soul music of American artists such as James Brown.
Although the Afrobeats genre has been growing since the early 90s, it really took off in the international music scene in 2016.Especially with the collaboration of Nigerian Superstar Wizkid, and Canadian rapper Drake.
The collaboration gave birth to the hit song ‘One Dance’. The song reached number one on the US music charts and became the summer anthem in the US and in the UK.
Afrobeats boasts over 200 popular artists on iTunes alone, with many more who are sure to come out of the continent. In the past few years, Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music and Atlantic Records have all signed Nigerian artists and pushed them to markets outside Africa.
“Nigerian music has always been internationally viable,” says Temi Adeniji, senior vice-president, international strategy and operations at Warner Music Group, which signed a partnership deal with Chocolate City Group, to promote their artists in other music markets.
Barring his mind in an interview with a US based magazine ‘Red Bulletin’ on the impact of Afrobeats on the global music scene, Davido said;
“It’s our new oil,when I lived in America, being African wasn’t cool. The first thing you’d hear about Africa is scams and poverty. Now, people talk about the culture, the food. Now everybody wants to make African music.”
Numerous rap and R’n’B artists, from Snoop Dogg to Chris Brown, have experimented with the sound and collaborated with the likes of Davido, Burna Boy, Wizkid and Mr Eazi.
American Music Superstar,Beyoncé predominantly picked Afrobeats artists for her soundtrack album The Lion King: The Gift, saying, “I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful about the music in Africa.”
Today, the formula is more potent than ever. On the one hand, there is a Nigerian diaspora that is keen on maintaining cultural ties with home. Afrobeats is a way to stay connected.
They stream, share, support, and promote the genre. And a global reach is provided by the internet and innovations in music streaming.
Diaspora communities act as trendsetters, listening to Nigerian music in such high numbers that other demographic groups and music markets are catching on
Nigerian Superstar Tiwa Savage, on the popularity of Afrobeats around the world said “people not of African descent singing my song word for word,it was my dream to be internationally successful, but did I have a specific plan for it? Absolutely not,” She disclosed.
The fact that Afrobeats is accessible to potential fans has made overnight global recognition and success possible.
Nigerian music and the ability of its producers to experiment with sounds from elsewhere while retaining a Nigerian core, has made Afrobeats at once local and global