It is rather impossible to speak of Afrobeats in the USA or the UK without eliciting an emotion or reaction from people. The genre has been largely successful thus far, finding its way into the mainstream market both in the USA and Europe alike.
The proliferation of the genre isn’t a sudden or one-time thing. The growth has been steady and there is a handful of Nigerian musicians to show gratitude to. After working so hard to build a solid brand in the local music scene, these acts have taken up the duty of spreading their music to different regions on a global scale. Some of them include Wizkid, Davido, Tekno, Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Runtown, and many more.
I must admit that it is fascinating to see the Nigerian sound establish a stronghold in the international music landscape. International acts such as Drake, Popcaan, Skepta, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Tory Lanez, and others have shown their recognition for our distinct sound and have all adapted it to their respective sound.
It was earlier reported that Davido’s Fall is hugely garnering attention in the US, getting maximum airplay and swiftly climbing up Billboard charts. This informed the singer’s decision to go on a US radio tour as a means to promote his music and brand as an African artist. He is getting a lot of media coverage and his singles If and Fall are doing tremendously well in the states.
Nigerian musicians have been making major moves recently. Or a better way to put it is that major things have been happening for Nigerian artists in the global scene. One can now confidently say that Afrobeats has successfully penetrated the international market.
Tory Lanez put out a body of work a few days ago, named International Fargo. It was basically a ‘refix’ of songs that have stormed the markets from different ends of the world. Some of the songs he made remixes of include Starboy’s Soco, Davido’s Fall, Koffee’s Toast, and more.
Davido performed at J. Cole’s Dreamville festival, making him the first African act to perform at the rapper’s concert. His performance was extremely captivating and he successfully shut down his set, sharing the stage with the likes of Big Sean, 21 Savage, Rhapsody, and others.
Davido has become the first African-based Artist to perform at J Cole’s Dreamville festival in Raleigh, North Carolina. pic.twitter.com/YwQdwHysYu
Blessed to grace the stage at @realcoleworld’s Dreamville festival yesterday. People from all different walks of life came out showed crazy love to the Afrobeats culture. They said Africa to the World? Nah, it’s the World to Africa! 🌍 pic.twitter.com/dY0beFb8wH
Another major move was Burna Boy performing to a sold-out crowd on Friday night at the prestigious Apollo Theater in New York City. He became the first Nigerian artist to achieve such a feat. Okay Africa cited this as an important achievement “The occasion felt special—like a sort of cementing of the cultural influence of Nigerian pop”. His performance spanned for an hour and a half, bringing out UK rapper Dave and Izzy Odigie who danced Zanku impressively to Killin Dem.
Burna Boy joins Michael Jackson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix and Sarkodie on the list of Artists, who have sold out Apollo Theater in New York, USA on April 5th, 2019. He has also sold out O2 Academy, Brixton and Eventim Apollo in the UK. pic.twitter.com/NYtB5KEXuN
Yesterday, Drake surprised his fans in the UK when he brought Wizkid out to perform on stage. He performed Come Closer together with Drake – a song which they both collaborated on – as well as Soco. This was highly unexpected as Wizkid only just finished his Canadian tour. The Afrobeats singer will supposedly drop an album this year and there have been rumors of Drake being on one of the songs.
This is only the beginning of the success that Afrobeats is going to enjoy. We must acknowledge that we have a long way to go but it is also important to note that we are in the race and we are moving at a fast pace.