Afrobeat has been a driving force behind so many different genres of popular music, and it continues to evolve further into the 2010s. With artists thrusting Afrobeat into urban territory, fusing Afrobeats with other styles such as R&B, dancehall and hip-hop; it is no doubt that the music genre is not slowing down any time soon. Here are 9 Afrobeat artist who are moving the culture:
Known for his smooth patois influenced delivery in deep-baritone voice, Burna Boy has consistently wowed fans with his original and unpredictable style and energetic performances. Although Burna Boy is seen as a controversial figure in the Afrobeat scene with his unpopular opinions and his cocky attitude, one thing that people can’t deny is that this man is talented. Burna boy’s latest album Outside is the perfect combination of African, Hip Hop, R&B, and Reggae music; his courage in bending the traditional Afrobeat formula, is the reason why he is seen as an African Giant.
Favorite Tracks: “Ye”, “On The Low”, “Heaven’s Gate”, “Gbona”
A current student studying Marine Biology at the University of Lagos, Ycee shows that you don’t need to choose one or the other to be successful. In 2015, YCee released “Condo” and received nominations in the Best Collaboration of the Year and Best Music Video of the Year categories at the 2015 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. Months later, he released ‘Omo Alhaji’ and ‘Jagaban’ and ‘Jagaban remix’, all of which brought more attention, establishing the rapper as one of a number of acts with potential.
Favorite Tracks: “Juice”
Although Maleek Berry was born and raised in South London, it is no doubt that his Nigerian background has influenced his music. Originally starting off as a producer for established artist like Wizkid and Davido, Berry decided to move out from the background and expose his lyrical talents. His latest EP “Last Daze Of Summer” shows that Maleek Berry seems to have saved his best tunes for himself. The producer/rappers has us waiting to see what more he has in store for us.
Favorite Track: “Kontrol”
It is obvious that Afrobeat is a male-dominated game, but Yemi Alade has been able to break records that even the men have not been able to reach. Yemi rose to fame when her hit “Johnny” broke the internet with 16 million views on Youtube. As of 2017, the video has reached 75 million views, the highest of any female African entertainer. Yemi has left her mark and is considered one of the best musical stars from Africa.
Favorite Track: “Johnny”
One of the few African artist that have reach successful International status, It is fair to say that Wizkid can be considered the most recognized Afrobeat artist in the world, specifically due to his collaboration with rapper Drake in “One Dance”. Wizkids pop-infused take on Afrobeat has made his music marketable to a diverse audience and has made him one of the leading entertainers in Africas music scene.
Favorite Tracks: “Azonto”, “Come Closer”, “Soco”
Fun Fact: Davido’s father use to get him arrested at his shows to stop him from performing, but that obviously did not work. Along with Wizkid, Davido has become a bridge between the Hip Hop/R&B community in America and the African Music community. His collaborations with artist like A-Boogie, Meek Mill, Tinashe and Casanova may have sparked an interest to some American music listeners, but his single “If” and “Fall” becoming summer hits around the world, has solidified Davido’s status as one of the most successful international acts around the world.
Favorite tracks: “Skelewu”, “Dami Duro”, “Fall”
Originally Known as The “African Prince”. Korede Bello made waves in the African music scene at only 18 years old. His stand out verses on the songs “Dorobucci” and “Adobe” with the Mavin Records Crew, one of the most popular African record labels, as well as his tracks like “Godwin” and “Do Like That” has not only show-cased his smooth, child-like vocals, but his knack for making sure to keep the audience’s attention despite who is around him.
Favorite Tracks: “Romantic”, “Do Like That”
Tiwa Savage has regularly been called “The Beyonce of Africa”, and it is not good reason. Although, the singer did not hit the African music scene till 2010, At the age of 16, she sang back up for artist like Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blidge, George Michael, Chaka Khan, and Whitney Houston. When you have been around legends like that, it is only natural to become one of the best. Tiwa’s way of bringing her unique voice, beauty, and style into her music, has caused many of her singles to turn into hits. It is no wonder, she is called the musical queen of the African continent.
Favorite Track: “Eminado”, “All Over”
Nonso Amadi would definitely be considered more low-key than any of the artist in this list, but he also the most unique artist on this list. The Afrobeat sound has alway been fast-pace and dance-driven, but Nonso introduces a smoother, slower, and intimate alternative to the sound. His mystical impression to his persona allows people to focus on the music and his uniqueness is quietly setting himself up to be at the forefront of a musical uprising in not only the African Continent, but around the world.
Favorite Tracks: “Radio”, “Emergency”, “No Crime”