African Popular Music Beats

Afro BeatFrom early in the 21st century, a new type of sound, originating in West Africa, has become increasingly prominent in African popular music. This sound was initially referred to simply as ‘Naija music’ after the common slang term for Nigeria but has become known as Afrobeats.

This name echo’sAfrobeat, the 1970s fusion of jazz and traditional Ghanaian and Nigerian music which is an important influence, but Afrobeats is a largely different style combining influences from Congolese rumba, hip hop and dancehall. Early hits included “African Queen” by 2face Idibia (2004) and “No One Like You” by P-Square (2007).

More recently the Azonto style of dance from Ghana has become closely associated with Afrobeats and more up-tempo songs have become popular. More recent hits include “Bumper2Bumper” by Wande Coal (2008), “Oleku” by Ice Prince (2010) and “Kukere” by Iyanya (2011).

Since 2012, Afrobeats have gained mainstream recognition outside of Africa, especially within the UK. UK hits have included “Oliver Twist” by D’banjwhich reached 9 in the UK singles charts in 2012, and “Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad)” by the British artist Fuse ODG which reached 5 in the UK singles charts in 2014. Afrobeats nightclubs are now primary features of UK’s nightlife with clubs opening in most major cities.

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