By Our Correspondent
Since the death of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who is regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat, an African music genre combining traditional Yoruba and Afro-Cuban music with funk and jazz, his legacy hasn’t been forgotten. ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM writes on why Afrobeats should be a category in the Grammys and youths sustainability
At the just concluded 14th Headies award ceremony held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos on Sunday Feb. 21, 2021, the future of one of the greatest music genres in the world Afrobeat was finally stamped.
YBNL artiste, Fireboy DML who went home with four awards from the event showed the world that the youths are not relenting in keeping the pace and giving the veterans a run for their money.
Young lads like Oxlade, Bella Shmurda and Omah Lay present themselves as unifying factors who are there to make music and entertain the public and their fans.
At the Headies award, the duo (Bella Shmurda and Oxlade) broke the jinx of record label owners fighting that their artiste(s) would have won a certain category of the award (just like Olamide fought with Don Jazzy after he claimed his artiste, Lil Kesh, was hotter than Reekado Banks who won the award at that event).
The three artistes were nominated in same category with Omah Lay but came out to receive the Next Rated award with him, far from what happened in previous editions. This shows that there is hope for the future, and the superiority war going on between Wizkid, Davido and Burnaboy hasn’t been helping the genre.
Speaking with some music pundits about the future of Afrobeat in Nigeria and why the genre must be sustained and identified like other top genres like RnB, Pop, Hip-hop, Rock etc, they are of the opinion that to make it a world recognisable category at world events like the Grammys, they have to fight their way in on the list.
Peter Simon explains that Afrobeats also known as Afro-pop, Afro-fusion is an umbrella term to describe popular music from West Africa and the diaspora that initially developed in Nigeria, Ghana, and the UK in the 2000s and 2010s.
He explained that though the genre has become the symbol of music in Nigeria, it’s the heritage from Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
He stated, ” When we look at the definition of Afrobeat, we are told the genre involves the combination of elements of West African musical styles such as fuji music and highlife with American jazz and later soul and funk influences, with a focus on chanted vocals, complex intersecting rhythms, and percussion which was coined in the 1960s by Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Fela Kuti, who is responsible for pioneering and popularising the style both within and outside Nigeria.”
He added that though artistes like Davido, Burnaboy and Wizkid have modernised and made the genre more popular this era, the future of Afrobeats is bright and sustainable.
“We have young artistes like Omah Lay and Fireboy DML who truly is on fire doing great, many Nigerian youths are embracing the genre and making it the in-thing.”
For Mathew Sulieman, he believes that top artistes and entertainment writers should continue speaking about the world recognising Afrobeats as a category in the Grammys just like other genre of music to give it the news recognition it deserves.
He said,” Afrobeats has gone far and wide. Many Africans and even europeans are fusing it in their music today. So if people around the world are keying into the beat and singing with it in the language , why shouldn’t it be recognised? If a Freshman can do a song on Afrobeats, the Russians, Germans and others could drop songs, why shouldn’t it be recognised and make a category in the Grammys?” He asked.
He added that the youths are other upcoming musicians are sustaining the genre because it’s contents are evergreen.
International musicians like Beyoncé’, Kelly Rowland, Jay Z, Kanye West, Diddy have , Drake, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Card B have supported the genre of music, making it one of the fastest growing since the death of Fela.
As the new generation awakes the legacy of the great nationalist and multi-instrumentalist who created Afrobeat, it is believed that soon, the world of music and entertainment would identify the role Afrobeats have played in laying the foundation of music many youths are benefiting from today.