For the past three years, the West has seen the rise of Afrobeats in the musical industry. Artists like Burna Boy, Tems, Wizkid, Davido, and Teni have graced our ears with singles, EPs, and albums, and now they are finally getting global recognition from it. Their success in Europe and America makes many think they’re just starting, but that’s not true. Each and every one of them has been celebrated in African countries for a while, and afrobeat as a genre has been around for decades, but it begs the question, why is it blowing up now?
For those that don’t know, the music genre Afrobeats was created in the 1960s, around the same time Soca, Dancehall, Reggae, and other African-inspired music genres were born, including Rap and RnB. Afrobeats as a genre is said to be created by Fela Kuti, a musician who blended funk from James Brown, traditional West African music, and jazz.
As time has passed on and music genres have evolved, Afrobeats has come to acquire many Caribbean sounds as well, particularly from Jamaica’s dancehall genre. This is heavily evident in artists like Burna Boy, who sings in several languages and dialects, from Yoruba, English, Nigeria’s pidgin English, and the patois found in the British West Indies, from Grenada to Guyana to Jamaica.
Afrobeats, like Dancehall, has gained much traction since its inception, not only in black spaces but in non-black ones as well. From America to France, to Greece, people are listening to Afrobeats and encouraging performing artists to visit these countries on their tours. In the African diaspora and the Americas, Afrobeats are played alongside other genres, from Soca and Dancehall to Reggaeton and Bachata.
I believe Afrobeats has become so popular due to the changes in interactions between ethnic groups, as well as the desire to hear and experience something new. Despite the world’s problems, we are in a more progressive era than the world has ever seen, and this affects our perception of other cultures. In my own childhood, I have seen my African friends be bullied for their heritage in the past, and now they are celebrated. Black pride, particularly pride in our African heritage, whether direct or distant, has had an effect on Afrobeats’ image.
I have personally been listening to Afrobeats since 2016, halfway through my time in high school. For me, there was nothing to dislike about Afrobeats. It has an upbeat vibe, similar to the Soca music I am accustomed to hearing, and the cadence is similar as well. The only difference is the languages, which I can generally understand. Other than Soca and Dancehall, I believe Afrobeats is the best genre in the world.
Afrobeats draws people in by speaking to their humanity in a way other genres don’t. It sounds old and new at the same time. It’s flexible, energetic, and nonrepetitive. If you haven’t listened to an Afrobeats song, check out “Ginger” by Wizkid, ft. Burna Boy, “Injure Me” by Teni, and/or “Damages” by Tems. You won’t be disappointed.
Afro beats is the new pop
Enjoy this Afro beats mix