Nigeria should be nicknamed the cruise nation. Why start an article like that? Well, where is the lie? The citizens suffer a lot of injustice and bad governance but the only thing keeping the people happy is cruise; smiling and suffering. We really know how to joke, mock and savage people. You really don’t want to mess with TwitterNG.
As far as cruise goes, another thing that keeps us together is the music; our very own Afrobeats. Nigeria is populated with many creatives from different ethnicities, but the music creates unity in indigenous sounds. There is no other nation that hypes this genre like Nigerians. Afrobeats originated from 1960s Afrobeat. The two are not the same.
Afrobeat is a mix of West African styles; fuji and highlife with Americans’ Jazz and soul music. Afrobeats was coined by Fela Kuti in the 1960s. Now, Afrobeats is the unification of African sounds and any other genre of music. It describes the fusion of sounds flowing out of Africa. You could say that Afrobeats is the refined version of Afrobeat.
Afrobeats popularity began in Nigeria when MTV launched MTV Base Africa in 2005. Nigerians ceased the opportunity to showcase the genre to the world. The likes of MI Abaga, Naeto C, 2 Face, P-square, D’Banj, Flavour, Wande Coal, Chuddy K, Banky W, Djinee, Don Jazzy, and a few others started the journey. MI Abaga and Naeto C gave the world a taste of Afrorap, the rest ventured into Afropop and Afrosoul. These artistes utilized Nigerian rhythms and melodies with modern western influences.
Soon, D’Banj’s Oliver Twist found its way to number 9 on the UK singles chart in 2012. This made him him the first afrobeats artiste to make it to the top 10 in the UK. This win made more musicians embrace afrobeats. New dance moves and talents were discovered. From 2013, Afrobeats in Nigeria gained national and international recognition. Suddenly, international acts were interested in the genre.
Afrobeats is like a very red and spicy pot of Jollof rice. Instead of the old fashioned rice and stew, we brought pepper and rice together to make magic. The old fashioned rice and stew represent other genres of music that stood on their own. It’s the jazz, blues, RnB, the Fuji and even Apala. The tasty red spicy Jollof rice is the fusion of all these genres. Afrobeat is simply the musical version of Nigerian Jollof rice.
This is a perfect analogy because we can brag about the dish like no man’s business. This is just the way we hype our music.
So, this is Afrobeat in Nigeria. The genre is more than an escape for Nigerians, it is love, it is groove, it is our voice and it is even our career. Nigerian artistes know how to use music to tackle crazy situations; even as Fela, tackled corruption with music in his time. The fruit does not fall far from its tree after all. In 2020, during the #Endsars protest, Falz dropped a video for Johnny. He released the song in 2019 but it was still very relevant in 2020. The song gave people an insight of the protest and the reason why it was happening.
Afrobeat has created opportunities for the youths of the country.
Last year, slow motion challenge was in vogue and with many of the songs, a lot of youths have gained the popularity and opportunity they need to become influencers.
Is Nigeria the birthplace of Afrobeats? Let’s just say; Africa is the birthplace for Afrobeat as we would not want another argument about Nigerian Jollof and Ghana Jollof.
As we continue to remain safe and compliant to the guidelines of COVID-19, I hope you still find music beautiful. Stay jiggy people.