In an era where genres have been stamped and solidified, it seems as if the doors were closed, and we have to come to terms to live amongst the rhythms we’ve come to know as Rock, Pop, R&B, Hip-Hop, and a few other contemporary sub-genres. Hip-Hop, or Rap music being the youngest of the bunch, being formed circa 1979. But as the world evolves, so does art, and subsequently, music.
“Vivendi (Universal Music Group’s parent country) has been pushing into emerging markets like Africa where global music consumers are poised to triple…” “…More than half of the world’s population growth will be in Africa by 2050 according to the United Nations.” via Forbes
World music has become more popular, and even more available to listeners even outside of their local market thanks to the digital era. Songs we would have never been exposed to prior to the dawn of the internet, have now found their way to our every day playlists. Emerging as one of the most successful, popular, but not so newest, we have what is called AfroBeat. Yes, from Africa. Loaded with bass percussion, the most melodic vocals, there is no way your body doesn’t dance as soon as an AfroBeat is played. Where has it been all our lives? I guess cultivating in Ghana & the southern parts of Nigeria, carefully being honed and nurtured before dominating the global music charts.
AfroBeat originated in Ghana in the 1920’s, where Ghanian musicians incorporated foxtrot and calypso to their rhythms. Around the late 1960’s a man by the name of Fela Kuti, also dubbed as the Father of AfroBeat would soon add his spice to it and later making it very popular amongst Nigerian youth from about 1970-1975. A true Pioneer.
At the helm of the current Afrobeat wave, we have such artists as Davido, WizKid, and Burna Boy leading the charge and absolutely smashing every time out, pushing the culture, and representing it in all of its deserving glory. Interesting enough, Fela is said to be the grandfather of Burna Boy. Cool, right? Their crossover success has led to a demand in the genre far beyond its continental limits, especially when you see them collaborate and get vouched for by guys like Chris Brown, Drake, and Jermih, respectively. Explore the latest incarnations of the sound below…
Music has no borders, and here is the living proof. You don’t have to be of African descent to enjoy the enchanting sounds of AfroBeat, not even a lover of music, just let the drums take you over, it’s that good!
Contributed by Buddy Mylez, a writer from The Clive Davis Institute x Billboard MUSIC INDUSTRY ESSENTIALS program.