What a good time to be alive to witness the advent of Afrobeats music on the global scale of things. ‘Afrobeats to the world‘, a tagline which is at the brink of becoming cliche gives an overview of the direction this music of Nigerian origin is headed.
Global music pundits and influencers have tipped Afrobeats to become the next big genre to drive the global sound of music in the next few years. With the use of internet and social media, Afrobeats has overcome the boundary barrier and folks from other climes are swooning over our indigenous sound.
At some point, Hip-Hop was the music of the future, then there was Reggae and Dancehall and now everything is pointing to Afrobeats. While these music genres were on the rise worldwide, there were popular faces associated with these genres of music. When you think of Reggae you would most likely think of Bob Marley and his dynasty. When you do think of Dancehall and it subsidiaries you would also think along the lines of Buju Banton and Sean Paul.
While Afrobeats is gaining momentum and popularity on the global perspective of things. The genre needs a face, a symbol which immediately communicates what Afrobeats music entails.
We have had the undisputed King of Pop in Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley arguably declared the King of Rock n Roll. There has always been a face and personality tied to these music genres that held music lovers spellbound during it bloom years.
Taking a closer look at Afrobeats, the genre lacks someone who could be declared as it de facto leader or king. Keep in mind Afrobeats today is different from Afrobeat. Fela Kuti remains the King of Afrobeat, and that genre is which is predominantly owned by his dynasty. But Afrobeats, a derivative of Afrobeat and a more liberal genre lacks symbolism, a poster boy for itself etc.
At the moment, lots of our Nigerian musicians are making concerted efforts to sell the genre to the world. At the forefront we have folks like Davido, Wizkid and Burna Boy doing amazing stuff in the name of Afrobeats.
For Wizkid, a big step up in his career was getting featured on Drake’s ‘One Dance‘. After making the Billboard chart topper, both artistes have worked on other released and unreleased music. Staying on the Billboard for about 11 weeks made Wizkid a much bigger deal than he already was. Right after that feat, Wizkid has featured on several albums released by American music stars some of whom we hold in high esteem. And one of such rewarding feature was getting to work with Beyoncé on her ‘The Lion King: The Gift‘ album. This further cemented his global acclaimed and visibility in the American music market.
The Starboy has performed and headlined several international music events and also had sold out solo tours and concerts. He was the first Nigerian and perhaps African musician to get booked for Coachella. A few international awards to his name and Grammy nomination, Wizkid qualifies to become Afrobeats poster boy and flag bearer.
Still in the spectrum we have Burna Boy, the past 24 months have been absolutely amazing for the Port Harcourt born singer. From being considered underrated at home turf he became the most sought-after African artiste around the world. Finally, people are giving Burna Boy the credit he deserves. He has an international record deal with Atlantic Records, dropped two solid albums back to back in the past 2 years to say the very least.
2019 proved to be a huge year for the ‘Ye’ crooner as he bagged a Grammy award nomination for his album ‘African Giant’. He became the one of the first Nigerian artistes that would ever perform at the Coachella. He has also been special guest on American television network shows selling Afrobeats to the world with his music performance and many more.
The name Burna Boy, is now on everyone’s lips and everywhere else. Some people say he is much more talented than his contemporaries and has the capacity to stay relevant for more years to come. With the exposure and records Burna Boy has achieved he sure makes a good candidate as the de facto Afrobeats king.
While Wizkid, Burna Boy have been profiled, Davido remains one of the front runners for Afrobeats at the moment. He is one of the most consistent artistes of his generation, churning out hits after hits and raising the bar at every given chance.
The singer has over the years pulled off several international collaborations with other global music stars. However, his biggest impact has been on his solo efforts. His worth in the Nigerian music industry and the world at large became worth more after Sony Music signed him in 2016. This probably set the singer up for global dominance as a year after getting signed by Sony he dropped songs with crazy international appeal.
Tekno produced ‘If’ and Kiddominant produced ‘Fall’ didn’t just wreck havoc on the local scene for Davido, these tunes became a global sensation. While Nigerians may have moved on from the tunes, the American music market seem to be waking up to them. Those songs became the first few Nigerian music videos to gross over a 100 million views on YouTube.
Davido has also performed at diverse global music events, sold out show and tours. He is one of the most influential names around the Afrobeats circle and he adds his own style and flair to the genre. He makes for one who could be a poster boy for Afrobeats especially with his charisma and carriage.
At different points, those getting familiar with Afrobeats have referred to the above mentioned artistes as the leader or king of the genre. While these mentions are apt from different angles, it feels like none of these named artiste embody Afrobeats in totality to be referred as it’s official symbolism.
There is still a lot of work to be done by Burna Boy, Davido or Wizkid before any of them can be officially adopted as Afrobeats poster boy and torch bearer.
Who Is Afrobeats De Facto Global Poster Boy?? You think different, share your thoughts in the comment section.