The evolution of Afrobeats

History of afrobeat and artists that used it

Afro beats music has passed down from generation to generation.

Each generation bringing their own style and each style has different copy cats artists and people that follow the styles that come along with the generation.

Starting from Fela Kuti who started singing in the 1960s when he brought his own type of music “Afrobeats“. Afrobeat is a combination of funk, jazz, salsa, Calypso and traditional Nigerian Yoruba music. Afrobeats is jubilant party music that draws on West African sources — hybrid languages, propulsive rhythms — and mixes them with delivery, referencing hip-hop and Jamaican dancehall. This blend has a similarly named Nigerian predecessor, afrobeat, which emerged almost 50 years ago. With his Afrobeats jam, we started seeing things like Fela trouser which was naturally the dress code for them at that time but it became popular in Nigeria because of the Afrobeats god. He also developed his own dance style that is still being used now.

Music started developing more after the times of Fela we moved on to many different genres like; hip hop, Afropop, AfroJuju, Yo-Pop and so on. Each artist then also developed their style and dance style that people copied and followed.

After Fela another style that trended was the style from the American based friends, ‘Mo‘ Hits‘ brothers. They brought to life many songs that reigned and brought them out to the spotlight. Mo’Hits Records (popularly called Mo’Hits) was a Nigeria-based music record label owned by D’banj and Don Jazzy. Mo’Hits Records Limited was founded in 2006, signing D’banj as its first recording artist. Don Jazzy was the CEO/President of the label and D’banj was the Co-Owner. The label went on to sign other artists including Wande Coal, Dr SID, D’Prince and K-Switch. The label specialized in Afrobeat.

The first album released by the label was D’banj’s ‘No Long Thing‘ in 2005. Other albums are Rundown & The Entertainer (D’banj), Mushin2Mohits (Wande Coal) & Turning Point (Dr SID). The label has also released a compilation album called Mo’Hits All-Stars along with many other singles from its artists which have proved to be National Hits. Mo’hits record moved on to the now popular record label “Mavins” after the exit of the co-owner D’banj.

Mavins Record (April 18, 2016)

Then followed Olu Maintain with his “Yahoozee” and dance style that was the fan-favorite then. Olumide Edwards Adegbulu (born September 1976) popularly known by his stage name “Olu Maintain” (sometimes called Mr. Yahooze) is a Nigerian recording artist, songwriter, and performer. He was in his own record label “Maintain” which was co-founded by his cousin.

After them came the star boy, Wizkid who is still reigning to date with his back to back hit songs. Wizkid began recording his debut studio album ‘Superstar‘ in 2009. He released “Holla at Your Boy” as the album’s lead single on 2 January 2010. The song earned him his first Next Rated award at The Headies 2011. He is currently in his own music group “Starboy Entertainment”.

Then followed David Adedeji Adeleke (born November 21, 1992), popularly known as Davido. Davido became popular after “Dami Duro“, the second single from his debut studio album ‘Omo Baba Olowo‘ released in 2012. He is currently in his own record label Davido Music Worldwide (DMW).

Also, we have Olamide Adedeji (born 15 March 1989), popularly known as Olamide also called Olamide Baddo or BaddoSneh. He is a Nigerian rapper, singer and songwriter although he is mostly into rap and dance-hall music, Afrobeats has also favored him. He became popular after the release of “First of All“. He is currently under his own record label, ‘YBNL Nation‘.

After him, we met the Afro-queen, Tiwa Savage who started her music career at the age of 16 as a backup singer for George Michael. Her first record label was 323 imprint with entrepreneur Tunji “Tee Billz” her ex-husband. She is currently in the Universal Music Group.

Then followed slim daddy, Tekno Miles or Tekno, is a Nigerian singer-songwriter, producer, performer, and dancer. Tekno Miles was first signed under K-Money Entertainment. His first single titled “Holiday” was released under the imprint which featured vocals from Davido. He is currently in his own record label “Cartel Music”.

Also, we have Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe, better known as Kizz Daniel, who is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He became popular after the release of his hit song “Woju”. He used to be under G-Worldwide now his under his own imprint Flyboy Inc.

Many more artists followed the interesting music style due to the response gotten from their fans. Artists like;
– Raoul John Njeng-Njeng (born 1 April 1991), popularly known as Skales (an acronym for Seek Knowledge Acquire Large Entrepreneurial Skills), is a Nigerian rapper, singer, and songwriter. Skales started singing in 2000, he started by writing rap songs in Kaduna.

He later relocated to Lagos and signed a record deal with Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2009. After leaving E.M.E in May 2014, Skales set up the independent OHK Music record label. His debut studio album Man of the Year was released in 2015.

– Maleek Shoyebi, professionally known as Maleek Berry, is a British-Nigerian record producer and recording artist. He came into the spotlight in 2012 after that Maleek Berry was nominated in the “Music Producer of the Year” category at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

– Oluwatosin Ajibade (born 19 July 1991), popularly known as Mr Eazi, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He is the pioneer of Banku Music, a fusion sound he describes as a mixture of Ghanaian highlife and Nigerian Afrobeats. He is currently under Universal Africa, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.

The current reigning afrobeat singer is that of the current African Giant, Burnaboy. Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (born 2 July 1991), popularly known as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter.

He became popular in 2012 after releasing the lead single “Like to Party” from his first debut studio album, L.I.F.E (2013). In 2017, Burna Boy got signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally. Burna Boy’s fourth studio album African Giant was released on July 26, 2019, which brought him the name The African Giant.

But as usual, there will be new developments to the style as new promising artists like; Rema, Crayon, T-classic, Joeboy, Fireboy DML and so on are still rising from the great nation.


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