Over the years, especially in recent times, Afropop artists have been shutting down musical shows in America and Europe. But this is not all; elements of various African musical rhythms, melodies, and styles continue to find themselves in many American and European musical styles. We are also experiencing an unprecedented rise in musical collaborations between artists from Africa and the West. In fact, in 2020, Beyonce released an album, The Lion King: The Gift, that featured a number of African musicians.
But, how did Afro pop come to be accepted globally, and what are the major Afro pop moments that continue to influence the future of global music? To begin with, what is Afro Pop?
What is Afropop?
Since the introduction of Western pop musical instruments, such as the guitar, piano, trumpet, etc., into African traditional music, every song from Africa, regardless of its genre, that uses any of these instruments is regarded as “Afro-pop.” Accordingly, it is safe to describe Afro-pop as a genre of music that combines elements of African traditional music with Western pop music. It is characterised by its use of African rhythms and melodies, as well as western instrumentation and production techniques. Afropop, however, encompasses a variety of music genres, including Ghana’s Highlife, Nigeria’s Afrobeats, the Congo’s Soukous, and South Africa’s Amapiano and Gqom. We also have numerous other sub-genres, like Fuji, Juju, Makossa, and Kizomba. Explore Afrofuturism: Beginner’s Roadmap To Liberation.
Key Afropop Moments
There are key Afro-pop moments, as well as specific songs or albums, that have expanded African music and its impact on global music.
- Fela Kuti’s Zombie in 1977: This album, in which Fela combines African rhythms with funk and jazz, was the major break for afro-beats on a global level. Fela would later inspire and influence generations of young artists borrowing from his sounds to make their own music.
- Paul Simon’s 1986 “Graceland” Album: This album features some South African musicians and introduced traditional South African sounds to the American audience and world at large. To do the same, Beyonce also released an album that featured many African artists in 2020. Subscribe to Our Premium Pecks Get notified of the best deals on Fashions and Styles.
- The Rise of Afrobeats in the 2010s: After the likes of Psquare, Tuface, etc., the emergence of Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy on the global stage continues to redefine global music to the extent that we now have people like Chris Brown, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, etc. jumping on Afrobeats and other genres of Afropop.
- Grammy Awards for Best Dance/Electronic Album: The likes of Angelique Kidjo, Burna Boy, and the Soweto Gospel Choir have won Grammys a number of times, but often under the World Music Category. So when Nkosinathi Maphumulo, aka DJ Black Coffee, won the Grammy award for Best Dance/Electronic Album, it sure was an advancement of Afro Pop.
Given the vastness of Africa as a continent, it is challenging to capture all of the significant moments in Afro-pop history. So it’s not odd if you know more and would like to share it with us. Best know that we will read your Instagram DM.