Before the 20th century, music had always been a great part of the social and cultural reality of the African experience and evidently, the genre Afropop had not matured or even been birthed into what it is today.
The genres impacting the life of youths then were; Afrobeat, with its social and political consciousness pioneered by great maverick, Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti to the Nightlife and ceremonious joy of Highlife brought with its many generational musical icons to the “ wokeness “and sense of exoticism, Hip-hop brought to the African youth with baggy jeans and oversized clothes.
Even though taking a lot of influences from these aforementioned genres including the Caribbean sound, Afropop has brought much more kinship amidst black youths all over Africa and in diaspora to youths around the world seeking novelty in sound. This phenomenon has exponentially contributed to the climbing of billboard charts, Sweden charts to Indian charts in Asia, and UK charts by the now influential Afropop artiste to the emergence of a sub-genre called Afroswing in the London music scene pioneered by J Hus.
This viral success possibly led to the UK and Billboard charts creating a specialized Afrobeat Chart to track the sales and streaming of Afropop and its derivative records as its artiste has started headlining shows, performing in festivals like Coachella, filling up arenas, getting multi million deals, going on million-raking tours around the world, a feat only done by long-standing artistes of well-established genres like Rock, Hip-hop, R&B and Pop.
But it has not always been like this. From the humble beginnings of young Africans making their music from different regions, the Plantashun boiz from West Africa, to the ingenuity and ambitiousness of individuals like the duo of Don jazzy and D’banj, P-square, Fuse ODG, and, several others pushing the genre beyond their borders. From there on the genre grew unprecedentedly in its influence on the black youth as the bliss of having young minds like them achieve great deeds made room for not looking for western validation on how cool they are and how cool their pidgin inflected lingua is. A hope that whatever they set their mind to, they can achieve as how contemporary West African pop music in its global reckoning is bringing the artsy spirit and Africa’s vibrancy evident in the sound to infect the world.
With the sort of charismatic music giants like Wizkid, Burna Boy, and Davido leading the charge, Music Moguls like Don jazzy, Olamide, Obi asika, and the rest pulling the strings, and the younger ones like Tems, Rema, Fireboy DML, Ckay, Joeboy and Black Sheriff not losing the baton; Afropop doesn’t seem to be relenting until it takes over the reality of being a youth in the world. The fast pace and trendy life-span of Afropop should never make it die because of its ever-evolving innovation of derivatives features from “Azonto’’ to “Pon-pon” sound to “Banku’’ to the recent “Amapiano’’ sound.
This article was written by Rotimi Isaiah Adaramola; connect with him on Instagram via here
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