By Guest blogger Rashida Peterson
The blending and borrowing of different musical genres has been occurring since the beginning of time and certainly since the beginning of the music industry. Considering so much of the music industry is based in the U.S., many recording artists see a breakthrough into the U.S. market as part of successful expansion and an opportunity to increase sales. Such is the case with Afrobeat, music created in the West African countries of Nigeria and Ghana. Afrobeat is a combination of traditional instruments used in tribal celebrations with elements of jazz percussions, horns, western guitar, and of course vocals. The legendary Fela Kuti made Afrobeat popular in the 1970s. There are still pure Afrobeat bands including Kuti’s two sons Femi and Seun Kuti, who each lead Afrobeat bands.
New and mostly younger artists have emerged and have borrowed again. This time, combining Afrobeat with American styled lyrics to make up-tempo songs that lend themselves to the carefree feeling of dancing all night long. These songs on their own are changing the music industry in Nigeria, London, and throughout Africa. Young artists sell out shows with popular songs like Jaiye Jaiye by Wizkid, Ayo by Davido, Your Number by Ayo Jay, Personally by P-Square and the list goes on and on. Afrobeat is popping and is beginning to garner the interest of American artists particularly in R&B and Hip-Hop. One of the first collaborations was in 2012 with P-Square and Rick Ross in Beautiful Onyinye. It was well received, making it on Hip-Hop stations. While this track did not make it to the top of the billboard charts, it was clearing the beginning of a new trend when you have P Square, one of the largest artist groups in Africa, leading the way.
In the last six months, American Hip-Hop and R&B artists have been releasing new collaborations, many of which are in heavy rotation in markets like New York, Houston, and the DC Metropolitan Area. Check out some of the latest releases not to be missed:
- I Swear by Ice Prince ft. French Montana
- Fans Mi by Davido ft. Meek Mill
- Ojuelegba (remix) by Wizkid ft. Drake and Skepta (UK artist)
For something extra special, check out Ghanaian artist, Sarkodie and Acehood’s new release New Guy below. It features Sarkodie rapping in Twi, a Ghanaian language widely used in major cities. He is also know as the Twista of Ghana and was featured in the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher.
Pick up one of these tracks or many others set to be released on iTunes or stream on spotify or google play. You can thank me later.
Rashida definitely has a passion and appreciation for Africa and its many cultures, which is reflected in her organization 1847 Philanthropic. Learn more about her and organization's mission here. You can also follow her via Twitter @1847Philanthrop