In recent years, the Afrobeats culture has reached its peak in global visibility. With its biggest stars filling out stadiums and making massive airplays in radio stations across Europe, North America and Asia, the surge of Afrobeats has witnessed cultural globalization with Nigerian artists promoting and propelling it through music.
It goes beyond recognition and awards as Afrobeats culture has entered the conversation of having sounds among the top genres. It has transcended boundaries with its infectious beats and melodious grooves capturing audiences worldwide.
This is safe to say that African music has definitely taken the world by storm. The indelible mark made by this rising genre does not just stop on its domination in airplays, but is extended to stages or music festivals. The tremendous moments made by Afrobeats is a celebration of culture, pride, creativity and resilience.
Paving the way for the new African sound at the 62nd Grammy Awards in 2020 was Burna Boy’s African Giant (2019) which was nominated for Best World Album. The comeback was seen a year later at the 2021 Grammy Awards which saw his album “Twice as Tall” (2020) win Best Global Music Album.
Seen in the same category was Wizkid’s Made in Lagos (2021) as well as a nomination for “Essence” featuring Tems for Best Global Music Performance which is undoubtedly one of the biggest Afrobeats songs globally.
With this world wide acceptance, the unprecedented rise in Afrobeats made its way to social media platforms contributing to the popularity of the genre. CKay’s Love Nwantiti (2019) became the most shazamed song in 2021 due to the love shown on Tiktok and Instagram.
More recently, Rema is another artist whose song “Calm Down” went viral on many social media platforms. The artist made history on the US Billboard Hot 100 with the remix alongside Selena Gomez peaking at number three. This further boosted the singer’s career to the international scene while demonstrating Afrobeat’s influence on a global scale.
Afrobeats has also seen the partnering of its musicians with Western artists further contributing to the growth of the genre and the creation of chart-topping hits.
In the earlier years of Afro-hiphop, collaborations like 2Face and RKelly on Flex, D’banj and Kanye on Oliver Twist, P-Square and Rick Ross felt like magic. Today, foreign collaborations have become a regular.
Drake is no stranger to this sound as he has been on many songs including “One Dance” (2017) featuring Wizkid and “Wait For You” (2022) alongside Future and Tems. Chris Brown is another notable artist who has supported the evolving sound of Afrobeats with many songs in his belt such as “Blow my Mind” (2019), “Monalisa remix” (2022), “Call Me Everyday” (2022), “Time N Affection” (2022) and the list goes on. Pop singer, Ed Sheeran has also showcased his presence in tracks, including Burna Boy’s “For My Hand” (2022) and Fireboy DML”s Peru (2022). Most recently, Selena Gomez was featured on the remix of Rema’s “Calm Down” (2022).
The collaboration of foreign artists has helped expand the sound to a wider audience and extend its reach. Additionally, it has shown the experimental fusion of sounds with many elements, genres and styles, creating a dynamic sound to its growing diverse audience.
Afrobeats artists are redefining the sound and setting new standards of success. They are also sending a reminder to the world through the power of music by breaking barriers, promoting a sense of unity and pride while also connecting cultures to a diverse audience.