Afrobeats is a music genre that originated in West Africa and was first heard in the UK during the 2000s before gaining further popularity in the 2010s.
Despite this surge in popularity the genre has only recently appeared on many DJs’ radars, following increasing requests from clients to play a selection of tracks at their events. This is likely down to the recent chart success from artists including Burna Boy, WizKid and more recently Fireboy DML, who teamed up with global superstar Ed Sheeran for the worldwide hit ‘Peru’. And this isn’t the first time an established artist has embraced the Afrobeats vibe, with superstars like Justin Bieber, Drake, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé and Stormzy all recording Afrobeats tracks.
Afrobeats incorporates several sub-genres and is more of an umbrella term than a music style. Not to be confused with Afrobeat (without the ‘s’ and a distinctly different sound), the genre is a fusion of house music, hip-hop, dancehall, soca and r’n’b with the distinctive driving beats defining the overall sound and differentiating it from other similar music styles.
In 2012 D’Banj became the first Afrobeats artist to reach the UK top ten with his track ‘Oliver Twist’, a song that I’m sure you have played on numerous occasions. This breakthrough track paved the way for others to follow and, whilst chart success was often hard to come by, the genre began to receive the recognition it deserved.
This exposure was enhanced by the support of local and national radio, who began adding more tracks to their playlists. And in 2016 it was Drake who helped give Afrobeats a worldwide audience when he released ‘One Dance’ which became a global hit.
Whilst many Afrobeats artists and tracks may seem initially unfamiliar, a little research will show you that you know more about this music than you first thought. And thanks to mainstream artists pioneering the sound for their own recordings, its popularity shows no sign of wavering anytime soon.
As professional DJs it’s important to keep our music libraries up to date and this includes adding a few tracks from on-trend genres like Afrobeats. We may not always be experts in a particular style, or actually like the type of music we’re playing, but we are expected to be able to provide it when a client requests it at their event.
Afrobeats works incredibly well with genres like reggaeton, Afrobeat, dancehall, bashment and r’n’b to create a downtempo atmosphere for warm up, main party or cool down sets and is the perfect vibe for those hot summer nights.
1 \\ Brown Skin Girl – Beyoncé, Saint JHN & Wizkid feat. Blue Ivy Carter
2 \\ Real Life – Burna Boy feat. Stormzy
3 \\ B D’or – Burna Boy feat. Wizkid
4 \\ Love Nwantiti (Remix) – Ckay feat. DJ Yo! & Ax’el
5 \\ System – Dave & Wizkid
6 \\ Fall – Davido
7 \\ Juicy – Darko feat. Hardy Caprio
8 \\ Oliver Twist – D'Banj
9 \\ One Dance – Drake feat. Wizkid
10 \\ Peru – Fireboy DML feat. Ed Sheeran
11 \\ Made For Now – Janet Jackson & Daddy Yankee
12 \\ Jerusalema – Master KG feat. Nomcebo Zikode
13 \\ Trust Issues – NSG
14 \\ Distance – Omarian
15 \\ Own It – Stormzy feat. Ed Sheeran & Burna Boy
16 \\ Won't Be Late – Swae Lee feat. Drake
17 \\ Go – Tekno
18 \\ Bum Bum – Timaya
19 \\ Essence – Wizkid feat. Justin Bieber & Tems
20 \\ Ginger – Wizkid feat. Burna Boy
You can legally download all of these tracks from:
***tracks taken from Essential Hits: Afrobeats***
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 113, Pages 70-71.