Author: Donna

Afrobeats: A Modern Fusion of African and World Music

Afrobeats: A Modern Fusion of African and World Music

The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category to the Grammys Showcase. Although Afrobeats is recognized by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, it is not yet recognized by the Recording Academy. There is speculation that the Grammys will be recognizing the genre in the future.

The genre originated in Nigeria, where it was introduced as a blend of the African hip hop and the Afro-beat music. Today, it is also known as “Afro-fusion” or “Afro-funk”.


Lyrics Many of the early lyrics of the genre do not appear to have any African roots, and are more closely related to world music, especially Latin music:

The lyrics of most of the early songs can be considered a mixture of Latin, African, and European styles. Later, the music of the genre would be based on the rhythmic and harmonic structures of world music.

Fusion of African and world music In his article for AllMusic, Glenn A. Baker states that “the origins of Afro-fusion go back at least a decade (and perhaps more) to the earliest days of Nigerian hip-hop, a blend of West African (and, according to an early popular source, Arabic) rhythms and hip hop styles…[t]he most common lyrical themes in Afrobeat music have a European feel…and many of the major lyrical themes are drawn from current popular world music…[T]he music of Nigeria’s first generation of hip-hop artists—which included such artists as the Fela Kuti-influenced U-Roy, Mos Def, Kofi, and Amaal M.E.—was influenced by various world music styles…”.

At the time of its inception, the name Afrobeats was coined by the musician M.C. Adesanmi as a general term for a modern fusion of African and world music. It was not until the late 1990s, however, that the term “afrobeats” was applied specifically to the genre, replacing the earlier name, “Afrobeat”.

Later development of the term As the African hip-hop and African American music scenes merged, the term “afrobeat” came to be applied particularly to that style’s lyrical style. However, the term was also applied to other styles of music, such as Afro-funk,

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