Afrobeats: Africa’s New Wave Taking Over the Rest of the World

BY Nii Ogbamey Tetteh October 2, 2023 7:42 PM EDT
Source: Instagram.com / @kidimusic, @Davido and @iamkingpromise

In the early 2000s, Africa, specifically, West Africa, birthed a new genre of music that was a fine blend of traditional African music genres such as highlife, fuji, and Afrobeats, with Western music genres such as hip hop, R&B, and pop.

In  West Africa, some of the key names that come up when the Afrobeats genre is mentioned are Davido, Femi Kuti, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, KiDi, and Sarkodie among others. Afrobeats is characterized by euphoric hooks, upbeat rhythms, and danceable tunes.

Afrobeats music is proudly winning on the global scene and has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many Afrobeats artistes achieving global success.

In 2021, Davido was featured in Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America 2 movie.  In a scene of the long-awaited sequel, Eddie Murphy reprises his legendary role as Prince Akeem, and Davido performs his song titled ‘Assurance’.

Other Afrobeats artistes including Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and Tems have also got their songs featured in many popular films and TV shows, such as Black Panther and Blackish among others.

This spectacular genre has had a significant impact on popular culture around the world. It has influenced fashion, dance, and other forms of art. Afrobeats has also helped to promote African culture and identity on a global scale. Several dance moves have been attributed to the high-flying music genre.

The vibrant and exciting music genre is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds and is constantly evolving, with related sounds and new artistes emerging on the scene frequently. Afrobeats is truly a global phenomenon, and it is here to stay.

Dance Moves

Ghana’s King Promise after he released Choplife featuring Nigerian Afrobeats artiste, Patoranking in 2022, formulated a dance to go with the song. The formation dance went viral and became an internet sensation in a short time.  In 2023, King Promise released another trending Afrobeats song, Terminator. Just like he did previously, the Ghanaian star developed a dance trend for the new song which became an instant hit going on to make waves from West Africa in Ghana to the rest of the world.  

Multiple award-winning Nigerian star Davido also marketed his Unavailable hit song with a dance that also went viral instantly and propelled the song internationally. Nigerian act, Asake known in real life as Ahmed Ololade, also did the same with his Lonely At The Top song which also went viral.  Nigerian music sensation, Burna Boy, recently dropped a hit song City Boys and like the recent trend, dropped a dance challenge.

New Wave

This new music sensation has made it onto the international stage with some of its players winning Grammy Awards, filling stadiums, arenas, and venues across Europe and the United States with sold-out tours.

This creates business opportunities for the artistes, event organizers, and corporate organizations who are associated with these events.

Cons of Afrobeats

Like every global trend, the Afrobeats wave which is blowing all over the world might fade away if not sustained strategically. It may also fade away if another genre springs up out of nowhere and becomes the ‘new kid on the block’.

Music is dynamic and some, patrons of the Afrobeats genre might have a taste for another genre – new or old – which might cause a decline in patronage or production of Afrobeats songs. The Afrobeats genre might also evolve into another genre which might kill off the initial genre entirely.

Like Pop, Rock, Reggae, Highlife, and soul music among others, the numbers who follow Afrobeats might be slowly going down but it will have its cult followers who will remain steadfast to this amazing genre if the players continue to be creative, learn, unlearn and relearn stuff pertaining the evolutions which may occur within the genre in future.

But as many have rightfully argued, the future for the genre is unknown and still remains bright so far as there is a global thirst for songs and viral dances pertaining to this African wave.