It is safe to say that Afrobeats music is on the ascension. In other words, we are the new WAVE! Several international collaborations and BET Award wins later, the genre’s moment has finally arrived. But what does all of this really mean? Will afrobeats be a flash in the pan music genre that is discarded once the world is bored of it, or is it here to stay? Will BET finally allow our musicians to perform at the main ceremony instead of giving us the side chick treatment, only to perform at the preshow and accept awards backstage? Afrobeats has much to offer, and its recent moment in the forefront acknowledges that the world is ready to be familiarized. To know Afrobeats is deeper than being a fan of Drake-collaborator, Wizkid, and knowing a few Davido songs. Afrobeats is a rich genre and of course cannot be absorbed in a day. However, there are a few classics that all people new to the genre should know.
Wande Coal – Bumper to Bumper
B2B is a classic club banger! Wande’s ability to effortlessly evoke energy and glide over the beat paired with Don Jazzy’s production proved to be a winning formula. This song is significant because it showed the power of the Mo’Hits empire; not only could D’Banj create hits, but Wande could deliver as well.
Ice Prince Zamani – Oleku
Oleku is so groundbreaking because it served as the platform that catapulted two up and coming artists to superstardom. This collaboration proved that African artists do not need to travel abroad to create hit music because those in their surroundings are more than sufficient.
Tiwa Savage – Kele Kele Love
Kele Kele Love is not only an anthem for ladies everywhere, but also a rebellious ballad encouraging women to be independent and wise up to the love tactics of their male counterparts. The enchanting Afropop production and ability to relate to Kele Kele Love solidified it as a smash.
D’Banj – Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist was not only a huge Afrobeats tune, but transcended the genre thus climbing pop charts. D’Banj’s massive smash swept through the UK and even gained traction in the US. The video boasts appearances from Big Sean, Kanye West, and other members of Yeezy’s Good Music imprint. In addition, Oliver Twist served as confirmation that D’Banj was indeed signed to G.O.O.D Music.
Davido – Dami Duro
Dami Duro is the epitome of a success story. This hit took Davido from artist-on-the-rise to a formidable comparison point to Wizkid. The upbeat production by frequent collaborator, Shizzi, solidified this tune as undeniable. Davido stayed loyal to his Nigerian audience with the catchy lyrics “Losun finwo omo reki dokita kotode,” and attracted listeners abroad in his braggadocious outburst of “Racks on racks until we hit the ceiling.” Davido has continued to follow this effective formula, thus achieving even more accolades.
Tuface Idibia – African Queen
When any DJ plays African Queen, they know exactly what they are doing! They either are aiming to evoke tears of joy, cue a slow dance, or properly usher in a marriage! 2baba’s tribute to African women everywhere has stood the test of time because it will forever be relevant. If you have trouble expressing how much you appreciate and love your beautiful Black woman, give African Queen a play and let the sultry voice of Tuface and the relaxing sound of the guitar be your translator.
Naeto C – Kini Big Deal
Kini Big Deal is such a big deal to Afrobeats music because it shows the wide range of the genre. Although it can be categorized as Afrobeats, the style and cadence of the song is traditional American hip-hop. In fact, Nigerian-American rapper, Wale, found the beat so appealing that he decided to hop on the song. Kini Big Deal also gave identity to the new, youthful Nigerian Afrobeats era, thus coining the term “Lasgidi,” as a moniker for Lagos.
Wizkid – Pakurumo
Wizkid and Banky W struck gold with Pakurumo. This song is the epitome of a Nigerian party. Good vibes, great food, beautiful people of all ages, and of course incredible music!Pakurumo served as a coming of age song for Wizkid and is also representative of his core fanbase. His style has since become more global, exemplifying more pop appeal and reggae influence.
P-Square – Chop My Money
Chop My Money is so important to the genre because it gave Africa to the world! The song uses a relatable topic of carelessly giving money to a desirable woman, but does so in a Naija fashion using the indigenous slang, “chop.” Akon appearing on Chop My Money allowed for the song to cross borders via his international stardom. Well played P-Square!
Yemi Alade – Johnny
Johnny is one of those rare tunes that does not chase pop recognition but receives it anyway. Yemi Alade’s cleverly humorous lyrics and Selebobo’s production garnered global attention. Women everywhere identified their cheating spouse as “Johnny,” regardless of what his parents named him. The video brings Yemi Alade’s colorful lyrics to life, thus making the song even more effective.