Afrobeat is the combination of musical instruments and elements of West African musical styles such as apala, fuji and highlife music with American jazz and later soul and funk influences, with a focus on chanted vocals, complex intersecting rhythms, and percussion.
Afrobeat as a musical genre has its origin traced to Nigeria. This music style was later transformed to what we have as todays Afrobeats, the music genre from Nigeria shaking up the global music industry. Afrobeat growing since the early 90s, the genre took off in the international music scene with Drake’s 2016 hit “One Dance,” featuring Nigerian artist Wizkid. Other US artists, including Ciara and Major Lazer, have incorporated Afrobeats sounds and featured African artists in their music.
Formal Afrobeat of Nigeria which became Afrobeats of today gets its distinct sound from a couple of different influences. The style is anchored in West African music styles, particularly highlife music. American jazz and raga also added to the mix, creating a hybrid sound from across Africa continents. Now that we all vibes into the amusing sounds of Afrobeats, it is essential to ask who is the king of Afrobeat in Africa and where does Afrobeat originated from?
The King of Afrobeat In Africa and Its Origin.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti is the king of Afrobeat in Africa and Afrobeat originated from Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. The musical genre afrobeat originated in the 1960s and 1970s as a blend of traditional Yoruba music with jazz, West African highlife and funk. Apala (or akpala) is a music genre originally developed by the Yoruba people of Nigeria, during the country’s history as a colony of the British Empire. It is a percussion-based style that originated in the late 1930s.
The pioneering style of afrobeat is identified with the Nigerian artist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who was renowned for his eccentric character, musical talent and involvement in post-colonial African politics.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti as the king of Afrobeat in Africa combine all elements of West African musical styles such as Apala, fuji music and highlife with American jazz with a focus on chanted vocals, complex intersecting rhythms, and percussion. The term was coined in the 1960s by Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Fela Kuti, who is responsible for pioneering and popularizing the style both within and outside Nigeria.
Distinct from Afrobeat is Afrobeats a sound originating in West Africa in the 21st century, one that takes in diverse influences and is an eclectic combination of genres such as highlife, hip hop, house, jùjú, ndombolo, R&B and soca. The two genres, though often conflated, are not the same.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti as the king of Afrobeat in Africa sang a song, ‘Kolo Mentality’ where he boldly and roundly denounced the African that had refused to stop looking for ways to please the Whiteman at the expense of himself. ‘They don release you but you never release yourself’ were the words that aptly depicted this behaviour.
Africans should be the ones to judge their music and give titles rather than the condescending west who always want to raise local clones. This imperialist stance must stop if the continent is to rapidly develop.