Afrobeats, a Nigerian music genre, is causing a stir in the worldwide music business. The genre has been growing since the early 1990s, but Drake’s 2016 song “One Dance,” starring Nigerian musician Wizkid, catapulted it into the international spotlight. Like Ciara and Major Lazer, other American singers have used Afrobeats rhythms and utilized African musicians in their tracks.
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Afrobeats’ popularity continues to rise, and it appears that the genre is here to stay. As a result, we’ve put up a comprehensive reference on everything you need to know.
Afrobeats has a distinct sound that is influenced by a variety of sources. The style is influenced by West African music, notably highlife. American jazz and funk are also thrown into the mix, resulting in a cross-continental vibe.
Complex rhythms, strong percussion, repetitive voices, and Pidgin English are all signs that you’re listening to Afrobeats. So it’s no surprise that this music is gaining popularity throughout the world; the lively, lively, and energetic tunes have people dancing in clubs worldwide.
Teju Cole, a Nigerian-American novelist, states, “This is music that has gone a long and joyful way in a short time.” “Dance to it, take note of its constant joyous tone, then come back and listen to it.”
Afrobeats should not be confused with Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat style. Afrobeat is a non-commercial, extremely political music style, which distinguishes it from Afrobeats!
There are so many musicians making hip-shaking songs that listing them all would be impossible. However, there are a few well-known musicians to start with if you’re new to Afrobeats, and there’s plenty more to explore after that!
Wizkid is best known for the song “One Dance,” but his fame as an artist extends well beyond that. His debut album Superstar, released in 2011, received quick acclaim, with numerous songs from the record. His reputation skyrocketed in 2014 when he became the first Nigerian singer to reach a million Twitter followers. He is one of the most well-known Afrobeats performers today, giving him the moniker “Star Boy.”
Tiwa Savage is a renowned female Afrobeats artist in Nigeria. She struggled to establish recognition as a female vocalist in the male-dominated music industry. Despite the challenges she confronts, she has emerged as one of today’s most popular Afrobeats musicians. At the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, she was named Best African Act!
Davido shot to fame in 2011 with his first album Omo Baba Owolo, and his second album, The Baddest, only added to his stardom. He was the first African artist to accept his award on the BET stage, and he won Best International Act at the BET Awards in both 2018 and 2014.
Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, Tekno, and 2baba are among the other well-known musicians. All of these musicians and others may be found on Quartz’s Afrobeats Spotify playlist.
Despite their expanding fame, many musicians struggle to make a living from their music. Piracy, or the sale of illicit copies of an artist’s work, is one of the most severe problems African artists confront. Piracy makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for musicians to generate a profit from their work.
To gain money, many musicians rely on live concerts, endorsements, and internet streaming. Some musicians also benefit from ringback tones, which allow you to choose a tune for someone to listen to while they contact you instead of hearing a standard ring for a modest monthly charge. Due to the lack of streaming services, ringback tones have earned over $100 million in the Nigerian music business.
The Future of Afrobeats
Sony Music and Universal Music Group have launched offices in Lagos to sign local singers and promote their success. These labels are also working to combat piracy, ensuring stronger legal ownership and rights to the music.
Artists in the Afrobeats genre created their path to international fame. These performers have nowhere to go but up now that major music labels have taken notice.