EVOLUTION OF AFROBEATS: The 2000’s (Grand Millenennium)

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The 2000’s began with a bang. The turn of the century was characterized by mass hysteria, conspiracy theories, doomsday predictions and the in-coming of a throng of fresh, original music from musicians who would go on to make their mark on the music scene and history.

It was the heart of RnB. Arising in the 1940’S, Rhythm and Blues-RnB- combined elements of blues, folk, soul, funk, pop, hip hop and dance. The lyrics were popularly about relationships, freedom, money and sex. Its roots went deep down into race. From the very beginning RnB was music created by black people for black people.

The 2000’s saw the peak of some of the most successful musicians beloved till date. Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Mariah Carey. Toni Braxton. R Kelly all were producing brilliant music rapidly and innovatively to the delight of millions of fans of the genre making them cultural icons.

The 90’s passed away with classics like ‘I will Always Love You’ and “I Believe I Can Fly’, but ushered in thumping dance music like, “Where the Party At”, “Who Let the Dogs Out” and “Rock the Boat”. Music was moving from our lips to our clothes as the genre affected heavily what we were wearing. Cropped tops, Burberry, hip huggers, low rise jeans, hoodies, daisy dukes, cuffed jeans etc were all the rave back then all due to the influence of popular artists.

Back in Nigeria, following the reign of Rap in the 90’s, RnB had begun to gain tremendous momentum. The multi-talented singing group Style-Plus captured the hearts and attention of the country. Their songs were catchy, their melodies upbeat, they brought something to the Nigerian music arena that hadn’t been previously present. The trio made up of Shifi, Tunde and Zeal recorded extremely popular and successful songs, ‘Olufunmi’, ‘Imagine that’, ‘Run Away’, ‘Stay Alive’ among several others.

They weren’t alone. Smooth, suave and indescribably gifted Banky W was also making vibrant music. Bank W’s liquid gold vocals were unique, his personal charisma undeniable, leading to infinitely successful career. He created songs ‘Lagos Party’, ‘African Girl’, ‘So Brand New’, in this time. He made numerous collaborations with the best and brightest in the industry, contributing some of the best tracks of the era.

On the Afro Pop scene, Tuface- now known as Tubaba- probably the most highly regarded and respected Nigerian musician of present was just coming up. His song ‘African Queen’ was an unprecedented, mass success. Inspired by music legends like Fela, his musical style, innovation, ingenuity and later music such as ‘If Love is a Crime’ and ‘4 Instance’ set him up as one of the musicians of the future.

Unique, original and a joy to listen to, Lagbaja set the music scene afire with his particular brand of Afrobeats. Inspired by the pioneer of Afrobeats genre Fela and Juju Music Singer King Sunny Ade, Lagbaja set himself apart with groovy, unforgettable numbers; ‘Gra Gra’, ‘Konko Below’, and ‘Nothing for you’, many of them sang with his regular collaborator Singer Ego. Lagbaja was also distinguished by his mask. Never seen without it, he kept his face covered to represent ‘man’s facelessness’. A sentiment mirrored in his choice of stage name ‘Lagbaja’, meaning “Nobody in particular”.

And then there was Dbanj, the Koko Master, another student of Afrobeats to become a master. Dbanj was heavily inspired by Fela which accounted for his music style; a cross between Afrobeats and Afropop. His signature instrument, the Harmonica, was a tribute to his late brother who introduced him to the musical organ. His first album ‘No Long Thing’ was an incomparable success, beginning a string of successes produced with music giant Don Jazzy. His song ‘Oliver Twist’ made it onto the UK Top 10 charts, proving the universality of his music.

Tech giant, Apple, took the music we loved to a whole new level with the release of IPODS in 2001. Previous music players were big and clunky. The miniature size of IPODS along with its cutting edge software changed how music was listened to and became staples for music lovers everywhere.

The 2000’s ended as they began- with a bang-, ushering in even better things. It was Bye Bye Grand 2000’s and Hello funky 2010’s.


 

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