Afrobeats – Long Live Fela Kuti
Afrobeats, Let’s take it back to the 70’s in Nigeria, where African dance fusion stormed the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. The genre fused the rhythmic grooves of funk, smoothness of jazz and the vibrant melodies of highlife music. The ‘King of the Afrobeat’ was Fela Kuti. Fela was the pan-African revolutionary who combined his musical prowess with lyrical messages that were unequivocally political and anti-establishment.
The Rise of Afrobeats
Present day, the genre has evolved into Afrobeats and payS homage to the sound from which it was born. Infusing the contemporary styles of hip-hop, dancehall and funky-house for an electric mix of style, culture, expression and national pride. What previously began in small bedrooms in Lagos and Akkra, now plays on dancefloors in London and New York
African music, like much of the culture, has taken the world by storm. There are an array of stars flying the flag for the genre. Wizkid, Davido, D’Banj, Tiwa Savage are to name but a few. Afrobeats is in a constant state of evolution. The genre showcases an array of tempos, conventions and rhythmic patterns which keeps it at the forefront of music culture.
The Takeover – UK, France & Beyond
In London, Afrobeats is now the sound of the UK Underground. The bashment riddim hits of Burna Boy, J Hus, Kojo Funds and Lotto Boyz are now flavoured with the rhythmic melodies synonymous with Afrobeats. Where trends rise and fall Afrobeats is always at the forefront of a new dance craze, from the Azonto to Shoki.
Music fans worldwide have become captivated by the syncopated rhythms of the genre. Not too far away in France, Afrobeats and Afro Trap dominate the airwaves. MHD’s Afro Trap Part 1 (La Moula) born in a housing estate in Paris’s 19th arrondissement, resonates with the genre’s roots. Stepping away from American style rap, many French rappers now favour incorporating their West African heritage their music. The heavy drums and layered synths provide the perfect backdrop for the choreographed dances filtering down into the streets.
The connection young afro-descendants in London and Paris have with the genre is the main driver of its success. No matter where Afrobeats travels to, it’s style and taste is dictated by the epicentres of Lagos and Accra. The genre’s present message may not always be political, however, it’s clear that Fela’s national pride resonates through in the spirit of Fela Kuti.
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