Afrobeat is the in-thing in Nigeria right now – a genre of national and even continental appeal, with adherents from the streets of Accra in Ghana to Yamoussoukro in the Ivory Coast.
The origin of the genre has been a subject of debate for a long time. At some point in Nigeria’s music history, Orlando Julius had claimed to be the originator of the genre. But music critic Benson Idonije had laughed him off, ascribing the origin of the genre to Fela Anikulapo Kuti – known simply as Fela.
Many share Benson Idonije’s verdict. But that’s by the way. The originator of the genre is not as discussed now as the trove of good music released in the genre. The crowd is content to vibe with any good afrobeat number out there.
Afrobeat has got many fine artistes worth listening to. Some of them are Africans; some of them are not. With some many artistes to pick from, arriving at a short list might not be the easiest of tasks. Anyway, the following artistes – given in no particular order – will interest you. You should do well to check out their songs after reading this post.
Facetiously called the playboy of Nigerian afrobeat, Wizkid is a musician of global appeal and one of the most popular in Nigeria. It may not have been a particularly fecund year for the “Joro” singer, but then whatever he drops is sure to be a hit with his fans back home – and beyond.
Wizkid stands out as much for his songs as for his controversies with his baby mamas, especially with Shola Ogudugu, the mother of his son Boluwatife, who turned 9 a couple of months ago.
It’s good to know what despite the controversies, Wizkid has not lost his voice. He remains a fine figure in global pop. His songs are noted for their love explorations. Occasionally, he takes a dive into the world of the ghetto, where he grew up. You gotta listen to him.
Called Queen Tiwa by adoring fans, the songstress is a stand-out afrobeat figure you ought to have on your playlist. Her career has been plagued with many controversies, especially about her relationship with Wizkid.
The rumour the pair was dating was especially potent when she featured on Wizkid’s controversial video “Fever,” which hit a milestone of a million views in under 24 hours. The songstress would insist she never dated the “Ghetto” singer.
Tiwa Savaga recently released an album titled “Celia” – her mother’s name. It’s a dedicatory work to all women trying to make it and live a worthwhile life in a society that might not value them.
Damini Ogulu is one of afrobeat’s major voices – although now and then he would describe his genre as afro-fusion. The songster charmed the world with his “African Giant” album in 2019, amplifying a robust belief in himself as an important voice in African music.
His musical sinews was further accentuated with a feature on Beyoncé’s “Lion King: The Gift” album. In that body of work, he has a song just to himself – a record.
Burna Boy released “Twice As Tall” in 2020, album to mixed reviews. Many are of the view the previous album was way better. Whatever the verdict, it was clear, once again, that the afrobeats star still has his eyes on his sinews. You gotta listen to him.
David Adeleke, who goes by the stage name of Davido, is another fine afrobeat artiste you should have on your playlist – and actually listen to. This musician, who readily blows your mind with his song, is probably the most charted Nigerian artiste in the United States.
Born in Atlanta – a state to which he is attached to this day – Davido began his music career quite early. It was said his parents didn’t buy into his music dreams at the outset. Not anymore. Now, they support him in all he does musically. One must say he is doing pretty well right now.
You may want to clear your playlist and make room for songs from the champ.
Afro B is another sterling voice in the afrobeat universe and one you can retain on your playlist without regrets. The songster, whose birth name is Ross-Emmanuel Bayeto, is the only Brit on the list. And yes, he merits a place on here.
The “Drogba (Joanna)” hitmaker holds the offices of a DJ, singer, and songwriter and is doing pretty well in them all. If you are thinking of updating your playlist with afrobeat jams, you may do well to include numbers from Afro B.
What do you think of the artistes we included on our list? Would you have included them on your own list? You’re welcome to join the conversation by dropping your thoughts in the comment section below.