“Finesse”, “Rush” And 4 Other Afrobeats Songs That Went Viral Before Their Official Release Dates

BY Dora Dzaka October 8, 2023 1:07 PM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@bella_shmurda@iamlibianca, @pheelzgood

Good music has been the underlying factor that Afrobeats musicians have used to gain the spotlight, first in their home countries and then globally. Burna Boy, Davido, and Yemi Alade are some of the acts who have used this to push the boundaries of their careers.

When it comes to album release, a lot goes into an artiste’s work. In recent times, however, there has been a change in how music albums are released. Some musicians tease their followers by posting excerpts of yet-to-be-released songs on their social media handles before their official release dates.

Many artistes have now employed strategies to generate interest in their new songs in addition to releasing excerpts. Some musicians go as far as starting challenge trends and rewarding winners in an effort to increase a song’s popularity before it is officially released.

The demand for a song to drop is further increased by certain artistes who provide DJs, radio stations, and TV stations with exclusive access to their new records weeks before they are made available to the general public. Pre-released songs almost always perform well long after their releases. Here are six Afrobeats songs that blew up before their release dates.

Terminator: Asake

Nigerian star Asake, known in real life as Ahmed Ololade, is undoubtedly the king of snippets. Snippets have always played a significant role in how he releases his music, and this was evident when he intended to release Terminator. When he shared the snippet on his social media pages last year, fans immediately labeled it a banger. People played the snippet multiple times, and some went as far as extracting the audio to play in nightclubs and at parties.

Last Last: Burna Boy

Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu MFR, known professionally as Burna Boy, presented a portion of the then-unreleased song, Last Last during an Instagram live session last year. For the record, the internet went bananas with people reciting the words like it was a ‘holy grail’. As fans eagerly awaited the song’s intended release, Burna Boy’s ‘unofficial release’ was already trending.

People: Libianca

Two weeks before the release of her breakthrough single, People, Cameroonian artist Libianca “dropped” the song’s audio to TikTok. Users were immediately drawn to the video with the caption “POV: You’re going through seasonal depression”. The TikTok post has now received around 5 million views. She released a Colors Studio-style video shortly after, setting the stage for the song’s eventual official release.

Champion Sound: Davido

Davido’s Champion Sound created a stir in nightclubs months before it was officially released on digital streaming services. DJs had exclusive access to the unreleased song, and as it was played in clubs. This action caused a growing need for digital distribution. Finally, a release date for the song was set for November 19, 2021, and the rest is history.

Finesse: Pheelz

When Pheelz had fewer than 100 TikTok followers, he shared an excerpt of his song, Finesse, on the app. The response to the clip was astoundingly positive, and the anticipation for the release of the record increased. After weeks of anticipation, Finesse was finally released, and it quickly rose to prominence as one of the biggest Nigerian songs of 2022.

Rush: Bella Shmurda

Rush’s sample that Bella Shmurda made available on Audiomack received almost a million plays. When the song finally got released, it immediately peaked at No.1 on Apple Music and remained there for a while.