‘Afrobeats is the party’: The rise of African beats in global music

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>‘Afrobeats is the party’: The rise of African beats in global music

Afrobeats has soared in popularity, from Lagos to New York, and even Seoul, South Korea.

The WorldSeptember 6, 2022 · 3:45 PM EDT

Burna Boy performs at State Farm Arena on July 31, 2022, in Atlanta. 

Paul R. Giunta/Invision/AP

As summer comes to an end, Afrobeats is making its mark. 

The music genre has made a global impact, becoming one of the hottest styles around the world. 

"It's all a bit of a fusion,” said Nigerian writer and music critic Dami Ajayi. 

“It's a fusion of a fusion of a fusion. So, it's all African sounds and African experiences rolled up into what could become popular,” Ajayi said. 

The genre has soared in popularity, from Lagos to New York, and even Seoul, South Korea. 

This is a big deal for Ajayi, who grew up in Nigeria. He said there was a time when Afrobeats was not the hottest music around.

"In the early phases of Afrobeats, if you were at a party in the early 2000s, if a DJ starts to play Afrobeats in his sets, it’s signaling to you that he's about to finish in the next one hour," Ajayi said. 

Now, Afrobeats is the party itself, Ajayi said. 

The sound reflects a wide range of influences and musical styles. 

"The music started from hip-hop, American hip-hop music, but it’s been able to sidestep that and develop itself,” Ajayi said. 

Afrobeats has since ascended from the clubs of West Africa to some of the biggest music venues around the world. Just this year, Nigerian artist Burna Boy sold out Madison Square Garden.

"There is a resurgence of Black pride, more or less,” Ajayi said. “You know, it's fashionable to listen to this thing now. It's what's in vogue.” 

On social media, with apps like Tiktok, Instagram and more, dances set to Afrobeats songs are also going viral.

“Love Nwantiti,” by Nigerian singer-songwriter Ckay, sparked a huge dance trend on TikTok.

Now, global artists are seeking out Afrobeats artists to work with as well.

"Early on, it was the Nigerian musicians that were begging and maybe paying and, you know, trying to get into getting collaborations. But at this point now, it looks like it’s the American musicians who are trying to collaborate with them because they also want to be woke,” Ajayi said. 

For example, this summer Selena Gomez, Chris Brown, Ed Sheeran all released singles with Nigerian artists Rema, Wizkid, and Burna Boy, respectively.

Burna Boy is also behind the hit summer song “Last Last,” which is currently at the top of the new Billboard US category chart for Afrobeats.

With the fall season around the corner, Afrobeats continue to reverberate around the world.

Related: China's hit summer song takes fans back through space and time

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