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Afrobeats, not to be confused with Afrobeat, is an umbrella term used to describe popular music from West Africa and the diaspora. It initially developed in Nigeria, Ghana, and the UK during the 2000s and 2010s. Let’s delve into the details:

Origins and Fusion:

    • Afrobeats is less of a specific style and more of a descriptor for the fusion of sounds primarily flowing out of Nigeria.
    • It amalgamates various genres such as hiplife, jùjú music, highlife, and naija beats under the “Afrobeats” umbrella.
    • The genre is primarily produced in Lagos, Accra, and London.
    • Historian Paul Gilroy notes that London’s music scene has shifted due to changing demographics, with African influence becoming more prominent.
    • Afrobeats exemplifies syncretism as a transnational genre that has gained international attention.
    • Artists from Africa, Europe, and North America have contributed to its global mainstream acclaim.


      Distinct from Afrobeat:

      • Afrobeats (with an “s”) is often confused with Afrobeat (without the “s”), but they are distinct.
      • Afrobeat is a genre that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, influenced by Fuji music, highlife, American jazz, and funk.
      • Afrobeat features big bands, long instrumental solos, and complex jazzy rhythms.
      • Nigerian afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and drummer Tony Allen laid the groundwork for Afrobeat.

        Global Impact:

        • Afrobeats gained widespread acclaim in the late 2010s, with artists achieving success across continents.
        • It has been referred to as one of Africa’s biggest cultural exports.
        • The genre continues to evolve, blending influences from the U.S., Jamaica, Trinidad, and beyond.

In summary, Afrobeats represents a vibrant musical movement that transcends borders and celebrates the rich diversity of West African sounds.

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