Altè Music is a new genre of music that is currently reshaping Nigerian mainstream entertainment and dominating the afrobeat scene in Africa.
Last December, I attended an Altè fest in Ikeja. It was the third fest I was attending that month. Sipping from my red cup with my nose mask glued to my chin I noticed a large Gen-Z crowd at the venue.
Having afrobeat as its solid foundation ‘Altè’ (Alternative) music is parallel to the traditional process that goes into modern music production. From sound engineering to lyrics and message when you listen and let every element of this unorthodox genre sink in, you know this is different.
Pioneered by DRB Lasgidi, Santi, & Odunsi the Engine. Due to the novel nature of its sound, Altè music garnered criticism from Nigerian millennials but the Gen-Zs (The soro-soke generation) have embraced it wholeheartedly. For us, ‘Altè’ is not just a fusion of several music genres It’s a culture.
But how did Altè music impact Gen-Zs so much? More importantly, is this impact a positive or negative one.
Unification through Style and fashion
Gen-Zs totalling 25% of Nigeria’s population have irregular choices when it comes to fashion But one thing that bridges that gap is our love for the Altè fashion kit.
The Altè fashion kit:
I) Bucket hat covering a dyed hair or dreaded locks,
II) Jean jackets,
III) Baggy trousers,
For the girls,
I) Mini leather skirts
II) Layered jewellery,
III) Nose rings, &
Dirty sneakers if one might add.
It doesn’t matter if you are Igbo, Yoruba, straight or gay. As long as your appearance has one of these features, it’s straight-up Altè way. You belong!
Promotion of Creativity and Self-expression:
Gen-Z represents a unique community of innovators and entrepreneurs. In this community diversity, self-expression, and individuality are valued. So when a group of artists emerged and publicised this through the biggest outlet, Music. A relationship between the artists and their passionate fanbase was sure to blossom.
Single projects like Tems’s ‘For broken Ears’ Or collaborations like Odunsi’s ‘Rare’ have shown just how creative Altè artists can be.
Furthermore, the fans adopt that same pattern and insert it into their respective crafts (freelancing, activism, social media influencing, etc).
Gen-Zs are unpredictable. There is no limit to how far our creativity can be explored with this energetic genre of music on our playlists and now was about to engulf the field as Altè acts stepped on the stage to perform.
Adjusting my nose mask from my chin to cover my nostrils, I approached the stage. I smuggled my way through the crowd perceiving several colognes and hearing different chanting voices singing;
“One time to my Altè girls and my Altè boys” (Alte cruise by Odunsi The Engine)
I was moved!
As we sang, a message echoed all over the arena that evening,
“We are Gen-Z. We are Alte. Let us be!”
This article was written by Israel Olorunnisola; connect with him on Instagram via here