Afrobeat’s Era

The new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, features the songs “Alone” by Burna Boy and “Coming Back for You” by Fireboy DML. While most people have seen the movie, when asked, only a handful of people know that the soundtrack features Afrobeats. Although Afrobeats has only recently been introduced to the west, it is rapidly becoming more recognized. Many have heard it while scrolling through “tiktok,” or maybe heard a collaboration with American and Afrobeats Artists such as “Brown Skin Girl” by Beyonce, SAINt JHN and Wizkid or “Call me Every Day” by Chris Brown ft. Wizkid. For those who don’t know, Afrobeats is a fusion of west African music, primarily Nigerian and Ghanaian music with Pop, R&B, Hip Hop, Jazz and more. Afrobeats is different from Afrobeat, a genre blend of Nigerian music with Fuji, Highlife Jazz and Funk music, although it inspired the Afrobeats that people listen to today. When the Afrobeat era began, the word Afro was introduced to recognize the whole African Diaspora. By blending different genres of music with West African music, it not only brought awareness to west African culture, but it also was a way to connect black people around the world with this new sound.
As west African artists became more exposed to the outside world, they found ways to connect classic west African drum beats to further develop the genre into Afrobeat. This idea of using outside influence to revolutionise the west African music industry was the predecessor for modern Afrobeats music. Afrobeats has made a statement in music evolution by preserving West African culture while adhering to modern influences of Western music. Some older songs that have guided modern Afrobeats music are “Pana” by Tekeno and “Mad Over You” by Runtown.
So what exactly makes this new sound in Afrobeats so popular around the world? The fusion blend of different genres combined creates a recognizable yet distinguished sound that has a little bit of everything.The beating of drums is one of the most important attributes of Afrobeats. Guiding the music from beginning to end, making listeners feel like they are dancing wherever they are. The use of traditional instruments like drums gives off an upbeat rhythm that keeps listeners hyped.In addition to this, as Afrobeats music progresses, so do the native dances that these different cultures have to offer. Afrobeats have been used by famous rappers such as Offset in “Only you” by STANY and other American Artists such as Ed Sheeran featured in Burna Boy’s song “For My Hand.” The newfound prevalence of Afrobeats is introducing a positive and authentic representation of Africa opposite of what is typically portrayed in media. This is important because it’s also become a way to bring second generation west Africans closer to their heritage in a society where being African is often viewed negatively, and many Africans constantly having to navigate their identity. Much progress has been made in this genre of music throughout the years and with a bright future, it’s only just begun.