Afrobeat is now one of the most popular and well-known forms of African music, and it is displacing Dancehall on charts in recent years.
Afrobeat is a Nigerian music genre that combines elements of West African musical styles such as fuji and highlife with American funk and jazz. Nigerian musician Fela Kuti created this sound in the 1970s by blending these various musical styles together.
Recently, music charts in North America and Europe have been playing more Afrobeat than Dancehall. Afrobeat headliners like Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido have taken the genre to a wider audience with sold out concerts all over the world. In addition, the popularity of streaming services like Spotify has made it easier for people to discover and listen to afrobeat music.
Afrobeat’s catchy rhythms and infectious melodies are key to its success. But so are its messages of political and social change that resonate with Africans and others. Whether you're dancing to it at a party or listening to it on your commute, afrobeat is sure to get you moving – and thinking.
What makes Afrobeat appealing?
One reason Afrobeat displaced Dancehall on music charts is that its sound is unique and many find it fresh and new. The African influence gives the genre a distinctive flavor that appeals to many listeners of all ages.
Another reason Afrobeat has moved Dancehall music from its previous prominence is the change in political climates on the continent and in Jamaica. Nigeria’s recent political turmoil has led many Nigerians to seek music that reflects their current situation. Burna Boy and others offer lyrics that resonate with Nigerian audiences and beyond.
In Jamaica, sadly, violence and criminality has plagued the dancehall scene. Many music lovers have been turned off by Dancehall’s raunchy and abusive lyrics. Now they are being drawn to the positive messages and vibes coming from Afrobeat artists.
Key Players in Afrobeat
Wizkid is one of the biggest names in Nigerian music. Wizkid, rose to prominence with his hit single "Ojuelegba", and is often credited as being one of the pioneers of the Afrobeat sound. His hit tune Essence is a global favorite. His influence can be heard in the work of other artiste like Davido, who has become one of the most popular musicians in Africa.
But perhaps the superstar of Afrobeat is Burna Boy, whose father was Fela Kuti’s road manager. He plays to sold out audiences in Europe, North America and the Caribbean. He certainly has helped to bring Afrobeat to a global audience and make it one of the most popular genres of music today.